There’s a reason that today’s savviest human capital management professionals are focused constantly on driving employee engagement. Quite simply, engagement is the key to a successful business. If people are passionate about their jobs and willing to work hard, everything else will follow naturally from there.
The way to maximize engagement is to provide people with a pleasant experience in your office daily. Ideally, this would begin long before people’s first day of work. After all, the employee’s journey doesn’t begin on that first day – rather, it can be traced back to the very beginning of the recruiting process.
A real challenge, then, is to improve recruiting. Don’t just focus on the employee experience – look first at the candidate experience instead. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, we could all use a lot of work in this area, as “the candidate experience” is a buzzword that gets used a lot but is often overlooked in practice. Courtney Hendricks, an HR professional at Wisconsin-based staffing firm Extension, believes it’s time for us to get back to enhancing that experience.
“As these candidates consider the offers in front of them, deciding which one is best, weighing the pros and cons of each, we as the employer can feel powerless,” Hendricks noted. “We sit and we wait, hoping they choose us. So, how can we turn the tables? How can we as the employer take this control back again? It’s called the candidate experience.”
It’s a candidate’s market out there, as the economy is steadily improving and there are many jobs out there for the taking. If you don’t cater to the candidates soon, you risk losing the war for talent to competitors who are outworking you in this area. So how do you improve the candidate experience? The following four tips should put you on the right track.
Communication is key
The recruiting process can often feel bland and impersonal, as there are many candidates all being herded into one pool of people. It’s easy for some to feel forgotten. Constant communication is important for reminding people that they’re still in your thoughts.
Be prepared and professional
Every candidate deserves your full attention and focus. Each time you meet with someone or fully interview them, invest yourself in the process. Learn their names, familiarize yourself with their resumes and show that you’re paying attention to detail. Every little bit of personalized attention is likely to be noticed and appreciated.
Show a consistent presence
Even if you have a long week of recruiting, going through 20 interviews in a row or what have you, you need to keep showing up and giving your best effort. Put the same effort into that 20th interview as you do the first. This will help you build a reputation for being consistent and doing your job right.
See the process through to completion
The interview is just one part of the candidate experience. The full process may go on for days or weeks after that – so make sure to remain accommodating to each candidate. From the moment you make first contact to the moment the position in question is filled, you’ve got to stay engaged and give your best effort.