In a tight job market, where candidates are ghosting companies, the importance of preserving and strengthening your employer brand becomes even more apparent.

The experience of each candidate can have an exponential impact on the employer brand, according to a new paper in this the September/October issue of Business Horizons. Using the example of one job with 100 applicants, the paper’s authors analyze previously published data to conclude that among the 99 rejected candidates, an estimated 59 would have a negative experience and 42 of them would post negative comments about it online.

In the face of such numbers, companies must shift their approach to recruiting from simply hiring the best talent to also include delivering the best candidate experience, write the paper’s authors, management professors Sandra Jeanquart Miles of Murray State University and Randy McCamey of Tarleton State University.

“Ensuring a positive candidate experience requires a comprehensive, well-thought-out plan to ensure the candidates’ experience promotes the employer brand in the way the organization desires,” the report authors write. “In doing so, the quality of talent increases as more people seek employment with organizations that have a strong employer brand reflected in the public space.”

The authors also lay out the components of a good candidate experience plan, which should compliment a recruiting plan, with an emphasis on communication with the candidate. In addition to sharing a timeline with the candidate, recruiters should remain in contact—via messaging that reflects the employer brand– throughout the process with updates on their progress and responding to any candidate questions or concerns.

One of the most important steps a candidate experience plan must include is notifying talent when the company has filled the position, and providing feedback as to why the company may have chosen another candidate. This step is crucial, particularly for candidates who have devoted substantial time and energy throughout the interviewing process.

“At this point, the candidates are expecting closure and for an organization to provide further instructions,” the authors write. “Channeling good talent to other applicant pools (if appropriate) will contribute to either a positive or negative candidate experience for those individuals.”

Companies can measure the success of their candidate experience plan by looking at metrics such as the application drop off rate, their job offer to acceptance ratio, and online reviews, according to the report.

The team here at Finalist spends much of our time speaking with and analyzing the data from our network of companies trying to improve their own Candidate Experience Plan. If you’re already in the network or simply interested in a conversation to learn more about our findings, let us know! Email me at mike@finalist.io so we can set up time for a call.

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