At Good Egg, we talk a lot about candidate experience, and for good reason. Surveys show that 60% of job candidates have had poor experiences during the hiring process. Not only that, but bad experiences can result in tough consequences for the hiring organization.
Now, you might be thinking, "OK. If there's a problem with my organization's candidate experience, I'll just 'fix' it and we'll be good."
Here's the thing, though: Candidate experience isn't something you simply "set up" and walk away from. There's no candidate experience "switch" or magic potion. It's something you need to tend to, like a garden.
Sometimes this tending requires making changes or adjustments to your approach. But you can only make those changes or adjustments if you're monitoring results. Wondering HOW to measure candidate experience?
Here are three straightforward ways.
1. Survey applicants you didn't hire.
The applicants you ultimately pass on won't be shy about what they thought of your candidate experience. You will get your fair share of sour grapes in terms of their responses. But you'll also get thoughtful, honest assessments. Pay attention to those.
Rejected applicants who offer candid feedback have nothing to gain or lose (all surveys should be anonymous), so you'll be getting the unvarnished truth, at least, according to that particular individual's perspective.
Look for trends:
- Do people consistently complain about (or compliment) the software you use?
- How do people perceive the level of communication during the process—too little, too much, just right? (Remember, perception is reality. You might think you're communicating enough, but nervous candidates might very well think differently.)
- Do people share feedback regarding supplemental information they had to supply or tasks they had to complete, like skills tests?
2. Survey new hires after they've been with your company for a month or so.
You'll also want to conduct surveys among new employees. Offer the surveys while the experience is still fresh in their minds, but after they've had a chance to settle into their work environment.
The purpose of these surveys is two-fold:
- To learn what the new employees thought of the overall candidate experience. What did they like? What didn't they like—and how much did their dislikes affect them? What suggestions do they have for improvement?
- To see if their expectations about the job align with reality. Employees formed expectations about the position and your company during the hiring process based on job postings, career pages, interviews, and other recruitment literature. Did those things accurately reflect the actual workplace and the position being applied for? If not, what was different?
This is crucial information that can inform your recruitment materials. You want all materials to reflect the true reality of what it's like to work in your company.
So, for example, if you consistently hear from new employees that they were expecting a flexible work schedule where they could work from home one day a week, yet, in reality, most employees don't take advantage of this perk, you might want to adjust how and how much you talk about this benefit in the recruitment literature.
Remember, the goal isn't to entice people with empty promises or false hope. You want new employees' experiences to align with their expectations—expectations you nurtured during the hiring process. Otherwise, your recruitment numbers might be fine (for a while), but your retention numbers are going to take a beating. (And we don't have to tell you how pricy it is to replace an employee.)
3. Monitor online reviews.
This suggestion seems simple enough (we've mentioned it in other articles, including this one and this one), but we're always surprised by how many HR managers tell us that they don't pay attention to online reviews on places like Glassdoor, Indeed, and Trustpilot.
Again, when you peruse the reviews, you will encounter some sour grapes. But you'll also discover plenty of constructive criticism. Remember, not all criticism is necessarily negative. You and your colleagues should discuss its merits. Some criticisms might be fair, while other criticisms might be purely subjective—or might not be relevant to the position or industry or whatever.
NEVER get in an online debate with someone who leaves a negative review. Instead, the goal is to take what makes sense (and do something meaningful with it—more on this below) and leave behind what doesn't. Savvy job searchers will be able to understand/read between the lines. Not to mention, we all know there's no such thing as "perfection." Some bad reviews are to be expected.
What should you do with the feedback that you gather from surveys and reviews?
This is an important point: Don't bother doing any of the above if you're simply going through the motions. Asking for feedback and doing nothing with it might be worse than never asking for feedback in the first place.
We know making changes can be daunting. Break it down into actionable tasks:
- What are the easy fixes? If candidates point out errors like lots of typos or out-of-date info, you can likely fix these things sooner rather than later.
- What are some suggestions that you agree with, but that need further discussion and planning? Discuss and create a plan! For example, maybe you know that you need a more robust applicant tracking software (ATS) package. What steps should you take to make that a reality? (Hint: We provide some strategies for evaluating different applicant tracking software.)
- What feedback needs to be fast-tracked? Always pay attention to any feedback that even remotely suggests a potential legal issue. For example, if you're reading complaints about biases or perceived discriminatory practices, bring this to your lawyer's attention ASAP.
BONUS: Don't underestimate the importance of creating great employee experiences as well.
You shouldn't stop at creating exceptional candidate experiences. You also need to create exceptional experiences for employees. A big part of these efforts will involve how you screen and monitor employees on a go-forward basis when it comes to things like social media monitoring, drug and alcohol testing, criminal monitoring, and more.
At Good Egg, we're passionate about creating exceptional experiences for you AND your candidates/employees.