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Poor employer branding: the real reason you're losing out on quality candidates

  • Xaana ARIMA

4 steps to build the best candidate experience

In January, there were over 12,000 jobs were created and the unemployment rate was at 4.2%, a 13-year low. With the Great Resignation upon us, workers are in a strong position in the labour market, leading many employers to wonder how they can hire talented candidates to fill open positions.

The last two years have been tough on recruiters. COVID-19 destroyed talent acquisition teams, piled new demands on others, and brought massive change as recruitment shifted online across several industries. Most elements of the labour market may be out of your control, however, you can – and should – control the candidate experience.

sad face for candidates who have a negative experience during the interview process

According to CareerPlug, the No. 1 reason candidates decline an offer is because of a negative experience during the interview process.

Firms are more frequently resorting to gimmicks to hire candidates rather than fixing their hiring practices. They hire social media influences to promote openings or pretend that “flexible opportunities” make them stand out from the competition. Strategies such as these are not sustainable. You may attract a candidate with an attractive signing bonus who has other offers, but what happens next year when they feel underpaid?

Here are some of the things you can do right now to help improve your candidate experience – without having to revamp your entire hiring process:

Don’t ghost

A career advisor wrote in Forbes,

“At a minimum, companies should always acknowledge receipt of an application. Further, if they use an algorithm to filter applications, they should avoid sending immediate rejection emails. It’s a bit of a slap in the face to spend a decent amount of time applying for a job, just to receive an immediate rejection.”

Don’t overlook employees

You can send across a welcoming video or message from your company’s CEO to candidates you feel are a good fit for your company to let them know about your company culture. Make sure it doesn’t feel staged and looks genuine.

Don’t over-structure interviews

Find a way to break free from standard question-and-answer formats. Try to suggest topics of discussion and give the candidate the flexibility of choosing how to answer. For example, for a tech interview, you could ask the candidate how they would design an app for a particular task. The idea is to ask open-ended questions which can spark creativity.

Don’t forget the runners-up

At the end of the hiring process, you’ll have candidates which were strong but just weren’t good enough to get the job offer. These are candidates who made it to the last round and can’t just be forgotten about.

runners up trophy
The top-tier of candidates who get rejected are where the greatest hiring efficiencies arise.

Send through a custom, thoughtful email to these candidates to help give them some closure as it can help their fairness perceptions and intention to reapply.


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