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HR Guide: Creating an Amazing Candidate Experience

If you want to hire the best team for your business, it’s vital to make a good first impression. Especially if you’re competing for top talent in an in-demand marketplace, the hiring process is as much an interview for the company as it is for the candidate. That’s why it’s too important to deliver a great candidate experience.

Hiring is usually a potential employee’s first interaction with your company, and you should make it a positive and rewarding one. Candidates who experience a slow, disorganized, or unclear hiring process may judge that your company may not be the best place to work, after all. With that in mind, below are some ideas for hiring managers on how to create an amazing candidate experience from the first interaction to the final job offer.

Make the job description crystal clear.

No one likes the feeling of a bait and switch, so don’t glorify a low-level position with a bunch of loaded words. For example, if a secretary will be expected to answer telephones, you probably don’t want to include a phrase like “will communicate with the public on behalf of the company” in the job description. You’re not selling a job to candidates so leave the advertising jargon for your marketing department. Simply and clearly state the actual job responsibilities and requirements. Then, you’ll hopefully get candidates who are both qualified and interested in the role to apply.

Brand your company.

Ideally, your jobs page should act as an enticement to candidates. Show off your company culture, your values, and a few of the perks of working with you. This will get candidates excited to possibly join the team and will help with recruiting efforts. However, don’t over-promise and under-deliver. Just because many startups offer beer kegs and ping pong doesn’t mean you have to as well. Be honest about your company culture, create a brand identity, and share what it’s really like to work there with candidates.

Be up front with expectations.

People want you to tell them exactly what you want from them — especially job candidates. They want to know how much time the application will take, the qualifications you’re looking for, what working for the company entails, etc. Save the fluff, and just tell it like it is. If you want someone with 5 years of experience, tell the candidate. If you have a hard limit on the salary, share that as well. The more clarity there is from the start, the less time you will waste sorting through candidates that aren’t right for the job.

Don’t leave candidates wondering.

For candidates, there’s nothing worse than applying to a job and then hearing nothing back. Send them an email that you have received their application. Then, send a follow-up correspondence to let them know if they are or are not still in the running, or if they’re moving onto the next step in the hiring process. The guessing game as to whether they should just keep seeking other positions is already frustrating enough. When in doubt, over communicate and make sure everyone is on the same page.

Stay organized.

Similar to communication, candidates will judge your company based on how you handle the day-to-day details of the hiring process. If you’ve lost their resume twice, showed up late to a phone screen and double booked yourself for an interview, you’re not giving the candidate a positive impression. Always remember that the candidate is judging you as a hiring manager, a boss, or an HR leader just as much as you’re judging them. Especially for top quality candidates, you have to keep the process organized, timely, and on track. This shows that your company will be a good place to work in the future.

Give feedback if you don’t make an offer.

If you decide not to make an offer and the candidate wants to know why they didn’t get the job, figure out how to explain it to them. You don’t have to be rude, but you also shouldn’t be too vague. “We simply decided to go in a different direction,” is wishy-washy at best. Instead, you could be honest and say “we felt another candidate had more qualifications of XY and Z, and therefore, was better suited for the position.” Most candidates will appreciate the honesty and it will help them in their continuing job search.

Thank them for taking the time to apply.

It takes a lot for someone to put themselves out there and go after a job. Thanking a candidate for even applying regardless of the outcome can be the difference between a candidate who feels your company cares, and one that doesn’t. How they feel about your company could influence whether they want to apply for a future position in the event they aren’t the right fit for this one.

Ask the candidate for feedback.

Letting candidates voice how they felt the application experience lets the candidate know you care about their opinion and their feelings in the role. It also can help you refine your application process for the future. You may learn that some of your questions or tests were outdated or unclear. Or, you could get confirmation that you have the best applications candidates have ever seen. Either way, taking and giving feedback can assist both parties for future experiences.

As a hiring manager, don’t just assume that every candidate wants to work for your company. You have to offer a great candidate experience that will prove to them that it’s a fantastic place to work.

ABOUT THE COMPANY: Rensol Recruitment and Consulting, Inc. is the fastest growing recruitment agency in The Philippines. A career consultant that aims to go above and beyond the level of expectations of both the aspirations of the candidates and the dream team standards of employers through providing exceptional opportunities and unparalleled quality-driven recruitment services.

Co- Founder and CEO of Vervoe | Making hiring about merit, not background.

HR Guide: Attracting the Right Candidate Through Effective Job Description

Here’s how to write a job description that will attract the right candidates.

“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.”

– Greg Anderson

Why Focus on Activities?

People are hired to perform value-adding activities. While companies have different approaches to how they hire, their goals are usually the same. Every company wants to hire high-performing people, not people who just look good on paper.

Despite this simple and obvious assumption, too many companies ignore activities and focus on things that don’t indicate performance. This happens at every stage of the hiring process. For example:

  • Many job descriptions focus on what candidates have done in the past.
  • Screening is based on candidates’ backgrounds.
  • Assessment methods often don’t simulate the tasks are performed in the role.

 

Instead, use on-the-job activities as the guide for the entire hiring process. If you follow this principle, you will hire people who perform the value-adding activities you require.

Here’s how it works.

The Job Description

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”

– Lewis Carroll

Defining the role is the foundation of hiring. If you do that incorrectly, the entire hiring process will be steered in the wrong direction. The clearer you are, the higher your chances of attracting the person you want.

The problem with so many job descriptions is that they are aren’t linked closely enough to the daily activities of the job. Let’s change that.

A good job description should have three sections:

1. Start with why

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

– Simon Sinek

This approach is entirely applicable to job descriptions. Sell candidates on your company’s vision and story. Sell them on the role and the culture. This will achieve two things. First, it is likely to increase the quality of applicants. Second, candidates will be more likely to invest in the application process and make an effort if they buy into your “why”.

Conversely, candidates who don’t relate to your vision or culture will opt out. Mission accomplished.

2. Describe the role in activities

Outline, point by point, what the successful candidate will do every day. Keep it simple and be very specific. No clichés, no jargon. Candidates need to understand how they will spend each day, what they need to achieve, who they’ll be working with and under what conditions.

This is a great way of managing expectations. By communicating to candidates what they’ll be doing in the role, you are forcing them to ask themselves whether they can do those activities well and how much they enjoy doing them. This presents another opportunity for less suitable candidates to opt out.

3. State your requirements

The previous two sections should make this part easy because you’ve set the scene. Candidates already know what your company stands for and what they’ll be doing in the role. Now you can add some more detail about the type of person you are looking for and how you expect them to approach the role.

Don’t worry about years of experience, grades in college or anything else that’s not activity-based. Bring it back to activities and use plain English.

Describe the kind of person you’re looking for by listing how you want them to approach the role. Put thing in context. Instead of “strong communicator”, write “clearly communicate customer feedback to the product team”. Instead of “flexible”, write “prepared to join calls with developers late at night when necessary”.

You should also use this section to articulate the attitude and behaviors you’d like to see. Candidates already know from the previous section what they’ll be doing on a daily basis. Now explain how.

Here are some examples of good job descriptions and a useful guide on how to write one.

Candidate Screening

“The doors of wisdom are never shut.”

– Benjamin Franklin

With a good job description and scenario-based assessment, candidate screening is simply not required. To learn more about why you don’t need to screen candidates read this.

But in short, screening is not about activities, it’s about a candidate’s background. Ruling people out based on their background is counterproductive. Instead, set candidates up for success with a savvy job description, and then assess the ones that want the job based on that description.

Don’t worry about receiving too many applications from people who aren’t qualified or ignore the job description. That is solved automatically in the assessment stage and you won’t need to lift a finger.

Scenario-based Assessment

“An ounce of performance is worth pounds of promises.”

– Mae West

Your job description will attract people who want to be part of your journey, and want to do the job you advertised. That’s the theory at least.

Now it’s time to find out how it stacks up.

The assessment stage, which is the most important part of your hiring process, should be entirely based on activities. Go back to the job description and choose the most important on-the-job activities.

Create simulations of those activities so you can see how candidates perform in real-world scenarios. To learn how to write a great interview script read this.

Use automated interviews to deliver the simulations to candidates online.

Some candidates will not make the effort. Others will find the activities too challenging. Others yet will see that the activities are not aligned with their interests or passions. The most motivated and qualified candidates will prevail.

It’s easy to read a job description and apply for a job. However, when candidates are asked to perform challenging tasks, they need to be motivated and confident in their abilities. You’ll only need to view and score completed interviews and you’ll know who measures up within minutes.

Using automated interviews based on activities, you can audition candidates for the role. They will, in turn, get a chance to do the role, albeit in a small way.

The candidates who perform well in the automated interviews will have proven they can do the activities you want them to do in the role. Seeing first hand how well they perform each of those activities will help you confidently make your hiring decision.

By focusing on activities, you can create a hiring process that reflects your role and how you want it to be performed. It’s a simple and effective method to hire people who can, and want to, perform the activities you consider to be value-adding.

ABOUT THE COMPANY: Rensol Recruitment and Consulting, Inc. is the fastest growing recruitment agency in The Philippines. A career consultant that aims to go above and beyond the level of expectations of both the aspirations of the candidates and the dream team standards of employers through providing exceptional opportunities and unparalleled quality-driven recruitment services.

Co- Founder and CEO of Vervoe | Making hiring about merit, not background.