The Candidate Experience Is Still a Top Priority for Recruiters

Candidate Experience

One aspect of recruitment that’s showing no signs of decreasing in significance is the importance of candidate experience. As competition for top-talent remains high, recruiters are placing greater emphasis on the applicant journey as their unique selling point. Clients, too, are keen for agencies to ensure candidates applying for a position at their firm have a positive experience from the get-go.

Candidates themselves are also demanding a better, more consumer-like journey. The line between consumer and candidate is now blurred beyond recognition. As a result, recruiters now need to work harder than ever before to sell a role to the individual.

Focus On Candidate Experience

In fact, at a recent UK Recruiter conference, the candidate experience featured in the majority of discussions and presentations. In his opening speech, Neil Carberry, CEO of the REC (Recruitment and Employment Confederation) outlined the top characteristics of a future-ready recruiter. Of every characteristic, each embodied an element that impacts the candidate experience; from being adept at managing time and acting as a consultant for applicants, to having a genuine passion for the industry and meeting the needs of candidates.  

There was even a separate workshop solely dedicated to improving the candidate experience. The majority of attendees stressed that developing these relationships and demonstrating their added value to the applicant were top priorities for their agencies going forward.

When it came to how to achieve this, there was a common suggestion: speed. It was generally agreed that today’s talent wants immediacy in their recruitment interactions. Candidates want to know where they are in the hiring process, when they can expect an answer, and they don’t want to be kept waiting around. In fact, to demonstrate this, one presenter at the UK Recruiter conference referenced the growth of ‘near me now’ searches, which have increased 900 per cent in the last two years – a clear indication that as a society we all want access to immediate, time-sensitive information.

However, there’s no doubt that recruiters have noted a huge increase in their day-to-day workload. Given how easy it is to find and connect online, professionals are having to sift through a significant amount of information. And, of course, administrative tasks such as calendar checking, appointment reminders, and CV formatting are taking up a considerable amount of resources. So how can recruiters make the time to put the human touch back into hiring processes to improve focus on the candidate experience?

Automate, Automate, Automate

Much of a recruiter’s job can, in essence, be automated. There are chatbots that can be integrated into your ATS and calendar to schedule or change appointments and instantly respond to queries This gives candidates the feeling of immediacy that they seek. Automating responses like this can also help agencies to work around the candidates’ lives; as one attendee at the event explained, an analysis of response times and interactions with their database revealed that the majority of their contacts are active at 11 pm – well beyond the time a recruiter would – and should – be working. But by automating much of these interactions and responses, candidates can get instant access to information, making them feel more valued and improving their experience overall.

Crucially, utilising advancing automation technology will free up recruiters’ time to enable them to bring the human element back to the staffing industry and build those long-standing and high-quality relationships that will help future-proof their business.

For more inspiration on how to effectively recruit even under the new GDPR regulations, check out our toolkit! 

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