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Why a Great Onboarding Process Is Crucial for a Positive Candidate Experience

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Candidate experience starts and ends with the recruiter-candidate relationship. If your recruiters don’t have the tools to nurture that relationship, your candidates will notice.

And a bad candidate experience is bad for business. In a survey conducted by CareerArc, it was discovered that almost 60% of candidates have had a poor candidate experience before, and 72% of those candidates spoke about that experience either directly to someone in person or online. This could have huge implications on a firm’s reputation among candidates and could be extremely detrimental to the core business.

How can you ensure candidates have a positive experience, from start to finish? Incorporate an easy-to-use and efficient onboarding process. Here’s why:

Your Gross Margins May See a Boost

Is there anything more discouraging than candidate fall offs? Fall-offs—candidates that “fall off” between the time an offer is extended and their first day—represent lost recruiter time, and they eat away at your margins. One solution to help avoid it? Reduce the time your recruiters and candidates spend filling out paperwork.

With onboarding comes paperwork. Candidates often spend hours filling out paperwork by hand, and then the recruiter is tasked with manually entering that information into the database. This time-consuming and tedious process can cause delays if paperwork is filled out incorrectly or gets lost in the shuffle.

An automated and streamlined onboarding process with a candidate portal allows firms to deliver forms directly to the candidate. The candidate can fill them out electronically or online. The candidate portal also makes it easy for candidates to complete the necessary onboarding paperwork from anywhere, anytime.

A quicker onboarding process enables candidates to begin their positions faster—reducing the likelihood that candidates “fall off” between the time the offer is extended and their first day, and as a result, the amount of revenue a firm loses from late starts or fall offs.

This can also leave a lasting impression on candidates that they will share with colleagues and friends along the way.

It Enables Recruiters to Spend Their Time Recruiting

Utilizing an efficient process can free up recruiters so they can spend more time improving overall candidate engagement and overall experience. Recruiters are tasked with juggling many projects at once. From sourcing candidates to scheduling interviews to negotiating offers, multi-tasking is a necessary part of the job.

As a result, certain tasks fall by the wayside and communication suffers. The CareerArc survey found that 60% of candidates feel that better communication throughout and after the application process would make the most positive impact.

This includes the onboarding process. If communication begins to decline during this crucial stage, candidates—who are likely entertaining other offers—may move onto another opportunity. This would cause lost revenue and a negative experience for the candidate, who is also likely to tell others about their poor experience.

However, if the Onboarding process—something that can take days if not weeks—is automated and efficient, recruiters’ can spend time on candidate experience and engagement strategies, rather than manual onboarding work.

Your Candidate Relationships Will Last

If recruiters provide a positive experience with your firm, from the beginning of the relationship through the onboarding process and beyond, they can ultimately improve and extend their relationship with those candidates, increasing the revenue brought on by those candidates.

The impact that a recruiter can have on the candidate experience is a lasting one. Since most industries are facing a talent shortage—64% of staffing firms cited it as the top challenge for 2017—it’s imperative that firms creating meaningful relationships with their candidates. This can lead to repeat business—whether through redeployment or repeat business down the road.

While some may see the onboarding process and just another step in the recruiting lifecycle—or even as a tedious last step in the placement process— it can actually have a huge impact on your business.  Adopting an easy-to-use and streamlined workflow can directly impact not only your reputation but also your bottom line.


Want more great candidate engagement advice? Learn from the best of the best. Staffing Speaks Out is a new hub devoted to conversations with the best and brightest in the staffing and recruitment industry.

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