Test the Application Process and Improve Your Candidate Experience

Many employers invest big budgets into building their careers site and integrating complex ATS. But they are missing a beat when it comes to the reality of applying for the jobs that they are posting. Most employers have no idea about how it really feels to apply for their jobs and the reality of the candidate experience. Adopting this perspective can prove invaluable.
Acquiring high calibre talent is crucial for both customer satisfaction and ongoing business success. Building a happy, high-performing team will generate outsized long-term returns. On the other hand, if you make enough hiring mistakes then the costs will soon impact on your company’s bottom line.
For most businesses and especially service companies, talent attraction takes up a large percentage of the annual budget. Current economic growth in Europe and the U.S. is giving employees more choice about where they work, yet job adverts and talent engagement content still receive less investment, time, and resources than marketing programs.
[bctt tweet=”Most businesses talent attraction takes up a large percentage of the annual budget. ” username=”ATCevent”]
Companies that do not invest in consistently measuring and improving their candidate experience will lose talent to companies who consider this to be one of the main metrics for successful recruitment. Organisations such as Talent Board and their Candidate Experience Awards are useful sources for benchmark data. They also showcase the best-in-class steps taken by companies to create a better candidate experience.

shutterstock_110537564Mystery Job Applications

There are numerous ways to find and apply for jobs: recruiters, the company’s own website, social media, referrals and press releases to name just a few. Most of these sources lead back to a company’s careers page. At this point, the employer is wholly responsible for offering a smooth candidate experience.
The mystery application process is a hands-on way of evaluating job application process. This typically includes applications going through a range of channels, including jobs boards, recruiters, jobs pages, email, online and mobile forms. Forms can appear differently depending on the device or browser, which is why the mystery process examines every possible avenue.
Gaining an external perspective is more objective than using your own team to assess the job application process. Companies should seek to maximise the value of digital channels, marketing and application forms. Anything that makes applying for jobs more difficult will push talent to look elsewhere.

Questions to consider when evaluating your job application processshutterstock_185681066

Take a moment to consider your company from a candidate’s perspective. If you applied for your current job through online channels, think back to that experience.
We have compiled a series of questions to evaluate your job application process from different angles and eliminate major friction points that candidate might face:

  • Was it easy for you to find the company’s careers site from the marketing page or search engines? How long did it take?
  • Were you able to use the job search function efficiently? What about advanced filtering options?
  • How did you feel about the job description? Did you find it to be detailed enough? Was there any key information missing, e.g. about the job function, requirements, working hours, team, start date, contact person, salary range, benefits, workplace environment? Did the advert really “sell you the job”?
  • How many steps did it take to complete your application?
  • How long did it take?
  • Did you have to repeat already included information at some point (e.g. manually fill in information which was present on your CV or LinkedIn profile)?
  • Were you able to apply using social media profiles?
  • Were you asked additional questions related to your qualifications?
  • How did you find the visual appearance of the job application interface?
  • Were there any questions that you were required to answer that made you feel uncomfortable (e.g. about your race or religion)?
  • Were you informed in advance about how long the application process would take? Were you able to track your progress throughout?
  • Were you able to go back and make changes during the process?
  • Did you receive an email confirming your application was successfully submitted?
  • What were the most frustrating parts during the application that might cause you to drop out?

All of the above questions can also be answered with regards to applying for a jobs using your mobile device.
Please bear in mind that these questions represent just a small fraction of the full evaluation of the job application process. Most of the points should be specific to your benchmark data (historical or competitors) as well as your industry and the type / behavioural patterns of talent you wish to attract.
Examining your employer through the perspective of your own experience – and the experiences of other staff – is the first step towards understanding where improvements can or need to be made. The candidate experience should always be seamless, regardless of device or platform.
Give your own process a try. If you don’t enjoy the experience, neither will your candidates.
Images: Shutterstock

This article first appeared on Candarine on August 22nd, 2016.

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