From a review of the comments on LinkedIn reveals a less than satisfactory experience from job applicants with today’s hiring process. If you are a job seeker, I am sure you agree. Engaging top candidates today isn’t easy. The fact is, the candidate market is entirely different from it was ten years ago. All of us (yes, you’re included) have incredibly high standards for our employees, and some of us need to improve the user experience for all our applicants.

Whether your candidates are ‘digital natives’ or ‘digital immigrants,’ everyone in today’s workforce expects and appreciates a simple, personalized hiring experience. If you want to be a competitive employer, you need to give them that. (I know that’s quite a mindset change from, “They should be happy to be considered for a position with us.”)

If you want to be a competitive employer, your first step is to find a way to get the data you need for sharp, unbiased decision-making without sacrificing the experience. Do that, and you create a win-win for everyone. Here’s how:

Tell a good story about the team and the company

You can’t expect candidates – who enjoy rich, vibrant experiences online and nearly everywhere they go – to raise their hand for a less-than-exciting job opportunity. Generalities, like saying, “This is a great place to work!” won’t cut it anymore. (Did it ever?) To get candidates to APPLY, you must first give them a taste of your company, the job, and the team they may be working. Do this by telling stories.

First, craft a narrative about your company’s history, vision, or culture, and weave it into every experience through the hiring process. Then, look for ways to spotlight company wins and employee success stories. A video about an employee’s growth within the company, a great relationship with a client, or a community outreach event are just a few ideas. Whatever it is that makes your company exciting or unique, that’s the story you should tell.

Make it feel easy for them

Is your process easy? A chief complaint from applicants is how long and drudgery-like the application process has become. Especially in a world with machine learning and AI. Because everything is on-demand, the days of taking hours to apply and then wait are nearing their end. Candidates need to be nurtured, gratified, and kindly escorted from one step in the process to the next. Your job is to make the job of applying for a job more accessible than ever.

That means all the great storytelling videos you create should be accessible and easy to find up-front. After ten, think about how to architect a seamless workflow that will keep candidates engaged and moving forward – such as, auto-launching an assessment at the end of the application, or providing the option to schedule a video interview immediately after the assessment.

Many hiring consultants overlook in today’s world; everything needs to be mobile-optimized. And, the more flexibility you give candidates to complete steps when it’s convenient for them, the better.

Improve your interviews

“So, tell me about yourself?” Really? Interviews are your chance to get to know candidates on a deeper, more personal level. They’re also a chance for candidates to get to know YOU. So make sure your interviews give back to the candidate as much as they take – which can be easy to forget when using technology.

For example, if you use pre-recorded video interviews, you can help make the experience feel two-way by having real employees on screen, introducing themselves before asking an interview question. This way, candidates will have ‘met’ a handful of team members in your company and will be able to put faces to names.

Ask the right questions

Candidates can tell the difference when hiring managers are prepared with questions, and when they’re winging it. By providing on-demand interview guides with questions tailored to the candidate and job, you ensure the interview is a good experience for busy managers and potential hires.

Ideally, you want interview guides to be structured and align with your company’s core values, being relevant and personalized for the candidate. Asking the right questions leads to great job-related conversations and makes the most of everyone’s time.

Add a personal touch

If you’ve implemented a good hiring workflow, then you’re nurturing candidates throughout the process. It’s important to have built-in touchpoints to let candidates know they’ve successfully completed a step and what’s coming next. Much of this can be automated. But, you don’t want your process to be completely robotic. Why? Because you will potentially lose the better candidate in an automated process (another BIG complaint from applicants).

Make sure at least some of your candidate outreach or follow up comes from a hiring consultant or hiring manager. Savvy candidates know the difference and will appreciate a little undivided attention. Your goal should be to automate the mundane, repetitive tasks so that hiring teams have more time to make a personal connection with candidates.

For more information on using hiring assessments, contact me on 484.320.8948 or will@harley-consulting.com.