How To Create A Standout Candidate Experience For Your New Hires

In a skills-short environment, candidate experience is becoming increasingly crucial.

Your employees are the heart of your team, responsible for ensuring your business can grow. Your role as an employer is to cultivate their engagement, loyalty and passion, by empowering and supporting them throughout their journey with your organisation.

That’s where candidate experience comes in. It defines how talented professionals feel about your business, following the hiring process. Candidate experience has a direct impact on your ability to build and retain your talent pipeline too.

According to one study, 42% of candidates won’t take a position at your company if they experience a poor hiring process.

Additionally, 1 in 5 will actively advise their peers to avoid your business too.

This could be potentially disastrous for your recruitment strategy, at a time when it is predicted that around 85 million roles will go unfilled by 2030, due to a lack of skilled candidates.

Candidate experience doesn’t just influence whether candidates choose to join your team, or how they review your company on employment sites either. It also influences the relationship you build with new hires as they develop their roles within your business.

Even if candidates choose to accept your job offer, they may not stay with your business for long if they feel you don’t have their best interests at heart.

In our latest blog, we’re looking at the core steps involved in developing a powerful candidate experience, capable of enhancing your employer brand, increasing your access to crucial talent, and improving your ability to retain crucial hires.

Improving Your Candidate Experience: Refining Recruitment

Outstanding candidate care involves every part of the recruitment, engagement and development journey.

It doesn’t just influence how you connect with candidates when writing job descriptions and conducting interviews, but also how you set your teams up for success in the way you enable them to become better versions of themselves.

To enhance the candidate experience, you do need to start by thinking about how you attract talent to your team.

Recruiting is a skill set within its own right and that is why most companies use the experience and expertise of a specialist recruitment or search consultancy to start and consult through the entire recruitment and onboarding process and they will be able to help and advise throughout the entire process.

So where do you start, with a plan?

Planning Your Recruitment Strategy

Before you start writing job descriptions to attract candidates with your recruiter it is critical to review:

  • Your short, medium, and long-term role requirements versus growth goals.
  • Your ideal employee avatar for each role that will fit with your culture.
  • Your employer and employee value proposition as an attraction magnet in
    a changed market.

You might be in a growth phase and desperate for a few more ‘hands’ to plug an immediate need. However, this could result in recruiting someone who within a matter of months is no longer an ideal fit for the role they originally applied for.

The candidate market has changed and the shortage of skilled employees will be with us for many years to come.

As business owners, we are in what is described as a candidate-driven market that is cyclical depending on the economy; compounded by the events of the past few years.

We now have a situation where candidates have experienced different ways of working, more flexibility, and in many cases, previously unheard-of salary offers.

They want to work with a company that embraces D.E.I., has an excellent company culture, team wellness, or ongoing learning opportunities.

It is not uncommon for some candidates to have three or four job offers on the table and a promised salary hike from their current employer to navigate as they consider their options.

Before you press go on the action phase of hiring to recruit and develop candidates with care and attention; ask yourself are we attractive?

Why would people want to join us?

If you are unsure ask your recruiting partner for some help and advice before you press go.

Let’s now look at the practical parts of candidate care.

Attractive Role Descriptions

Start by looking at your job descriptions. These are the primary tools your candidates will use to determine whether your role is applicable to their skills and interests. The best job descriptions use simple, inclusive language. This means you’ll need to avoid any jargon terms or buzzwords like “superstar/ninja”, and avoid using any biased terms such as “young gun”.

Your job descriptions should highlight the skills your candidates must have to succeed in your role. Avoid listing too many “nice to haves” as this can deter qualified people from applying for your jobs. They should also include plenty of valuable information not just about your candidate’s potential responsibilities in the role, but what benefits they can expect from joining your team.

If you didn’t access our report on writing job descriptions, you can access it here.

The Application Process

Your recruiting partner will handle this for you. Make sure whomever you choose that they have a robust process, they use a tracking system, and that you agree together the communication process.

More communication rather than less is critical.

Your candidates must be promptly kept informed throughout the application process, so they know what’s happening next. An email sent immediately after someone applies, so they know their application has been received. Regular follow ups with candidates to let them know their application is being evaluated, and promptly told if they haven’t made it to the next stage of the hiring process.

In the current market, many companies have a slow hiring process and consequently lose out on the best talent in the market; don’t let that be you.

The Interview

Once you have reviewed your applicants, and chosen the people most appropriate for your role, it’s time to start arranging interviews.

[Important: Ask your recruiter’s advice and opinion. A CV rarely communicates the entire story, and your recruiter knows and understands what you are looking for and how specific candidates will be able to add value to your organisation that might not immediately come across on paper.

Even for the most talented candidates, interviews can be a daunting prospect, so it’s worth looking for ways to make them as organised, comprehensive, and inclusive as possible.

Start by making sure you schedule the interview at the right time for both your team and your candidates. You can use scheduling tools to help you with this process. Be mindful of the needs your candidates might have. For instance, not every person who applies for a role in today’s landscape will be able to attend an in-person interview.

Offering options for a video interview could help you to connect with a wider range of talent, and even speed up the hiring process. Once you’ve scheduled your interview, implement a strategy to make it as transparent, and convenient as possible.

Provide candidates with useful information:

Let your candidates know what the interview will involve in advance, so they can prepare. Tell them how long the interview is likely to take, the format you’ll be using (such as a competency-based interview), who they’ll be meeting with, and any resources they’ll need to bring with them.

Train your interviewers:

Ensure the hiring managers or professionals giving your interviews know how to interact with candidates. Provide them with guidance on how to put candidates at ease by using the right body language and tone of voice. Give them structured questions to ask, and guidelines to use when scoring candidate responses.

Communicate frequently:

Following the interview, make sure you get in touch with your candidates as quickly as possible; either through your recruitment partner or your own department. If you haven’t decided on who to hire yet, let them know when they should hear something from you.

If you have decided, and chosen not to hire someone, give them feedback they can use in their next interview.

Feedback is a gift:

One of the key frustrations we hear from candidates is the lack of feedback they receive from clients after an interview. Whether a candidate was outstanding, and you are going to hire them, or someone didn’t communicate their value during the interview it is critical to communicate this either yourself or through the recruiter who is working with you.

For a candidate, receiving feedback shows that the employer values their time and effort in the interview process and wants to help them grow and succeed. This candidate then walks away, even if unsuccessful, with a positive impression of your brand which they then communicate to family and friends.

Free positive publicity as a preferred employer.

On the flip side, nothing gets around the candidate pool faster than companies that don’t appear to care about the people they interview.

Free negative publicity as an employer to avoid.

Interviews carried out well can be an enjoyable process for everyone concerned; yes, that really is possible.

Mastering the Onboarding Process

Mastering the initial recruitment process is just the first step in developing a positive candidate experience. Once you choose a new recruit for your team, you also need to think about how you’re going to empower them to thrive in their new position.

A strong onboarding strategy is one of the best ways for companies to enhance the productivity of new hires, increase engagement, and improve their employer reputation. In fact, multiple studies show that good onboarding can improve employee retention by up to 82%, making it more likely new recruits will stay with your company.

The best onboarding processes are personalised to the needs of the employee. With that in mind, it’s worth thinking about how your new hire is going to work with you (remote, hybrid, or on-site), what resources they’ll need, and how you can guide them toward success.

Most of the time, the onboarding process will include at least the following steps:

Preparing for a New Hire’s Arrival

From the moment your new hire accepts your job offer, you should be preparing to welcome them into the team. Take a moment to think about exactly what your staff member is going to need to thrive in their new role. You may need them to complete various documents before they can begin working, for HR purposes.

It’s also worth thinking about what kind of information you can give your new employees about your business, to help them understand the impact of their role. Sharing information about your company’s mission and values will get new team members started on the right path.

Think about the tools and resources your employee is going to need too, for instance.

  • What hardware will they need to be able to use either in the office or at home?
  • What kind of software will they need access to?
  • How can you set up the workspace to help your employee stay as comfortable and productive as possible, regardless of where they’re going to be working?

Orientation and Introductions

Onboarding is more than just a great way to provide your hires with the information and tools they need to thrive in your organisation. It’s also an opportunity to integrate your staff members into your company culture, by building connections with your team and helping your employees to navigate your workspace.

Whether an employee is remote or works in an office, orientation and intros are vital.

During the orientation session, communicate your company culture and values, sharing aspects of your business that are valuable to your new employee. Explain how your teams work together, the atmosphere you create, and the expectations you have.

Make a list of the key people your new team member will work with and introduce them.

If your new employee is working remotely, this might mean arranging a video conferencing session where everyone can get to know each other for the first time. Ensuring employees can build relationships with their colleagues means they’re more likely to feel included and engaged in the workplace.

Providing Consistent Guidance and Training

As your new employees integrate into your business, they’ll become less reliant on you and your colleagues for help. However, during the initial stages of joining your company, they will need extra support.

If you don’t have time to answer any questions your employees might have yourself, then make sure they have access to someone who does. You could consider setting up a buddy system, to provide your new employees with access to a friendly source of support, dedicated to showing them around, introducing them to the company culture, and helping them fit in.

Another option could be to implement a mentorship strategy, where experienced team members take on the role of guiding and supporting new hires. According to various studies, 87% of mentees, and mentors feel empowered by their relationships. Mentoring doesn’t just benefit the new hire in your team, it also gives existing staff a way to develop their leadership capability.

Tools For The Tasks

An important part of developing a great candidate experience, is ensuring your new employees have all the tools they need to succeed in their roles. That might be a CRM that works or a marketing department that helps deliver brand awareness and leads.

The last few years have seen the digital landscape explode in access to sophisticated software, machine learning and AI capability to improve the speed tasks can be completed.

The candidates you want to hire will be fully aware of this and will expect support in this area; are you equipped?

Setting Expectations and Providing Clarity

Setting your new hires up for success also includes setting expectations and objectives that are then measured and managed.

Human beings are success-seeking creatures as identified by Professor Maxwell Maltz in his ground-breaking book Psycho-Cybernetics.

They want to achieve goals and they want clarity about what is expected of them.

It also means setting clear expectations, so your new hires know what they should be prioritising in their work.

If you wrote an effective job description and provided your candidate with plenty of useful information about their role during the interview process, they should already have a relatively good idea of what their responsibilities are going to be.

Next let’s talk about clarifying the exact accountabilities and responsibilities they will be measured against.

Explaining How You’ll Measure Performance

Clarifying exactly how you’re going to be measuring the performance of your team members, means they are more likely to understand your expectations, and what they need to accomplish. Let your team members know how you’ll be evaluating their work, based on factors like overall productivity, engagement, and intuitive behaviour.

Set up performance reviews for the first few months your employee spends in their new role, highlighting key areas you want them to concentrate on. Give your team members clear goals to work towards, over the first week, month, quarter, 180 days and the first year.

Critically provide constant feedback on the progress they’re making and set up your coaching and review relationship which I will talk about later.

Contrary to what you might think, new employees value feedback, coaching and guidance when it is delivered well.

Outlining Company Policies and Procedures

Every business has its own way of doing things. The way your team collaborates, works on projects, manages deadlines and delivers results may vary. It’s important to ensure your new hire understands what kind of procedures and policies they need to follow when they’re working.

If you have specific processes to follow, create standard operating procedures you can share with your staff members.

It’s also worth providing an insight into your company’s wellbeing policies and how you support your staff members with preserving their mental and physical health. Let team members know who to contact when they need assistance, feel overwhelmed, or are starting to suffer from burnout.

Development and Growth Opportunities

While emphasising the objectives of your company is important when empowering your new hires, it’s important to think about their goals and motivations too. Speak to your new hires about what they’d like to accomplish in your organisation as early as possible. Help them to set goals for developing their skills, or pursuing promotions.

Exploring opportunities for growth and development with your new hires will help them to see a future with your business, improving levels of retention and engagement. In fact, around 93% of employees say they’re more likely to stay with a business if they believe the company is investing in their growth.

Work with your employees to determine their strengths, weaknesses, and goals for the future, then follow up regularly to keep them on the path to progress.

Once you’ve set expectations for your new employees, and ensured they have all the resources they need to be productive in their new role, the next step is finding ways to help them grow and develop in your business.

Around 92% of employees say well-developed training and development strategies improve their engagement levels at work, and pave the way for success. Based on the discussions you’ve already had with your hires about their goals and targets in your workplace, you can start building a strategy for development and growth, with the following tools.

Training Programs and Resources

Training programs come in a multitude of different forms in today’s digitized environment. The right strategy for your new hire will depend on their learning style and the goals they want to achieve. For instance, an employee who thrives better in one-on-one training sessions may benefit from access to a mentor, who can help guide them through the development process.

Employees who prefer to learn “on the job”, may appreciate access to in-house training sessions, where professionals come to your business to provide structured classes and guidance. On the other hand, some team members may find it easier to access training in their own time, using online learning platforms and digital resources.

Remember, training opportunities aren’t limited to structured classes and courses. You can also help your employees to expand their horizons, learn more about your industry, and improve their networking sessions by sending them to external workshops, conferences, and events.

Cross-functional and Collaborative Training

Alongside the training resources and tools mentioned above, you can also provide your employees with opportunities to learn and grow, by allowing them to interact with other members of staff in your team. Provide opportunities for employees interested in a specific sector of your business to shadow or learn from experienced staff members.

Collaborative learning opportunities not only provide your teams with plenty of useful guidance to help strengthen their skills, but they can also improve bonds between employees, and minimize feelings of exclusion.

It’s also worth thinking about how you can support your employees in developing skills that might not be directly connected to their roles. For instance, providing employees with leadership training, empathy courses, and classes on new technologies and resources could help them to expand their skill set, and seek out promotions within your business.

Encouraging Continuous Learning and improvement

Empowering your team members to adopt a “growth mindset” is one of the best ways to set them up for success in your business. Staff members should be encouraged to remain curious in their role and seek out new learning opportunities whenever they can.

During your regular meetings with your new employee, ask them about the areas they want to develop in their professional lives. Which challenges do they face on a regular basis, and what kind of training or learning opportunities would help them to become more productive?

Provide your team members with access to resources to help them expand their education, whether this means paying for access to courses, or providing playlists of useful videos, podcasts, and other resources they can use to learn about your industry.

Coaching, Managing and Peaking Performance

Finally, it’s time to think about how you’re going to manage your employees and develop high levels of performance as they continue their relationship with your company.

In today’s world, the management strategy you use can make or break your employer brand.

Around 2 in 5 employees say they leave their roles because of poor management processes.

If you’ve already invested in onboarding your staff members correctly, providing them with clear expectations and helping them to set goals in their professional life, you’re already on the right track. However, you can enhance your management strategy by:

Conducting Regular Performance Reviews

Countless companies still make the mistake of thinking they only need to offer reviews and feedback on an annual basis. However, the reality is you’re far more likely to keep your team members engaged and productive if you conduct reviews at a minimum once a month.

Don’t wait until the end of the year to let your staff members know how they’re doing. Regularly check in with them on their progress toward their goals. Provide constructive, useful coaching and feedback every time your employee completes an important project or takes another step in your business.

Crucially, don’t just focus on negative feedback either. Celebrate your employee’s accomplishments, and reward them for the things they do well.

Remember recognition for a job well done can make a huge difference to an employee’s overall satisfaction and engagement levels.

Identifying Areas for Improvement and Provide Support

As anyone with a true growth mindset will know, there’s always room for improvement in any employee’s work. Working with your team members to pinpoint the issues they’re facing and developing strategies for growth will significantly improve their perception of you as their employer.

If your team members aren’t living up to the expectations, you have set, get clear on why.

Don’t just berate them, offer useful advice on how they can improve their work, and ask them to work with you on finding a solution. For instance, if your staff member isn’t hitting deadlines as regularly as they should be, they may need a little more help managing their time.

Don’t just tell your team members how you think they can change, ask them to get involved in developing their own strategies for success. Question how they feel they can improve their work performance, and what you can do to help them reach their goals.

Once you’ve identified areas where your employees might be able to improve their performance, provide them with the support and resources they need to achieve their goals.

Work collaboratively on finding solutions to the problems your employees face, and you’ll show them how invested you are in helping them to succeed. Investing in your employee’s success and satisfaction levels pays dividends in terms of higher productivity, efficiency and loyalty.

Finally: Don’t Underestimate the Candidate Experience

Ultimately, a good candidate experience is more than just a way to improve your employer brand and attract more talent to your team. Investing in a strong experience for your candidates and existing employees ensures you can boost your chances of standing out in a competitive recruitment environment, retain more of your top talent, and minimise hiring costs.

By investing in a successful recruitment process, compelling onboarding strategy, and a long-term strategy for development, growth, and performance management, you can ensure your team members have everything they need to thrive in their role.

Although developing a powerful candidate experience might seem complicated, it can be more straightforward than you’d think. Working with a specialist recruitment partner can also help you establish your onboarding process and clarifying expectations with staff.

If you need help taking your candidate experience to the next level, reaching out to the right recruitment team could be the perfect first step.

About Us

At The Recruiting Office we recognise how hard it can be for non HR staff to fit recruitment around their regular day to day duties and to ensure that job specifications, advertisements, selection and interview processes are without bias and are effective in identifying the best possible candidates.

We know how vital pro-active candidate sourcing can be in an increasingly candidate short markets and we understand that many non-recruitment professionals struggle to pro-actively identify and engage with passive candidates.

And we know that modern businesses sometimes need to engage skilled personnel on a non-permanent basis to support specific projects or changing business needs.

If you are experiencing issues or concerns with any aspect of the recruitment process – from writing job and person specifications to effective on boarding, from engaging with passive candidates to required document checks and when to undertake them – we can help!

At The Recruiting Office we have over 30 years’ experience of supporting Norfolk employers through every aspect of the recruitment process & our comprehensive, knowledgeable, compliant & ethical recruitment services really work!

For a no obligation discussion of the recruitment issues you are experiencing and the solutions we can offer – call us now on 01603 964816 or email neil@therecruitingoffice.co.uk

The Recruiting Office – Brining Talent & Opportunity Together!

Your next actions

You can connect with me on multiple social media channels including LinkedIn and Facebook
https://www.linkedin.com/in/neil-scarborough-recruiter-for-all-your-norwich-and-norfolk-recruitment-needs/
https://www.linkedin.com/company/5517696/admin/

Or call 01603 964816 or email neil@therecruitingoffice.co.uk to book a private recruitment strategy call.

Best wishes
Neil

P.S. Our recruitment services are without charge until/unless our successful candidate accepts your job offer and in the unlikely event they don’t work out we offer up to a 100 day 100% refund guarantee on our permanent placement fees (terms and conditions apply).

Further reading:

6 Great Ways to Improve Talent Acquisition

How To Build a Resilient Team