In response to the ongoing talent shortage, companies are eager to introduce new candidates to their teams. But before candidates can join your team, they will have to successfully navigate through the hiring process, which includes all the interactions that a potential team member has with your company throughout the recruitment process.
Each of those interactions impacts the candidate experience, which in turn influences whether candidates choose to accept your employment offer and how they perceive your entire brand. A positive candidate experience is absolutely critical for any successful recruitment effort. To accelerate the hiring process while maintaining a positive candidate experience, many companies are turning to automation.
Why the Candidate Experience Matters
The recruiting process can be stressful, time-consuming, and expensive for any organization. These challenges are only exacerbated by the worldwide labor shortage, adding more frustration to the process. For recruiters , cultivating a positive candidate experience is crucial. Consider these numbers:
- 78% of candidates say their overall candidate experience is an indicator of how a company values its employees.
- More than 80% of people say that their candidate experience can change their minds about a job opportunity.
- Almost 60% of job seekers have had a poor candidate experience. 72% of them said they shared their negative experience online on employer review sites.
- 80% of job seekers say they wouldn't reapply to a company that didn't notify them of their application status--yet 65% say they rarely or never receive that information.
A significant way that employers can positively influence the candidate experience is through efficiency and responsiveness. Most candidates are applying and interviewing for several jobs and are eager to move along in the hiring process quickly.
To accomplish this, recruiters must quickly review applications, schedule interviews, conduct interviews, and follow up with a second interview or their regrets. Fortunately, automating the recruiting process can help employers overcome these challenges and significantly improve the candidate experience.
Steps to Start Automating Your Recruitment Process
The steps below can help you build the right foundation for recruitment automation and tracking.
Step #1: Create a Buyer Persona for Your Ideal Candidate
It is essential to define your ideal candidate before the recruitment process starts, just as you would define buyer personas for your ideal customers. To do this, ask yourself a series of questions, imagining what the ideal team member would look like. Some helpful questions may include:
- What knowledge and experience do they possess?
- What are their goals in this position?
- What is their attitude?
- How do they handle conflict or complications?
- What do you not want in an applicant?
Answering these questions will help you create a sketch of what to look for in a good-fitting candidate, which can help you to pre-screen candidates before an interview. By pre-screening, you can save time for both the candidates and yourself. This can either be done by having candidates answer a few questions before an interview, hold a quick phone interview, or even screen candidates based on their resumes.
This information can help you compare and contrast candidates and minimize the number of unsuccessful face-to-face interviews held. As a result of defining a persona and pre-screening candidates, it is more likely that you will interview candidates best-suited to the role. The better-suited candidates are, the more likely they will hear back quickly and enjoy the recruitment process. Whether or not a candidate moves on to the hiring stage, they will likely have had a positive candidate experience.
Another benefit of creating a buyer persona for your perfect candidate, is that it helps you make your recruitment marketing more effective. With that in mind, you may also want to ask additional questions to further refine this buyer persona:
- What professional organizations does this person participate in?
- Which online news sources does the person prefer?
- How (and where) does the person engage online?
These questions can be especially important for connecting with passive candidates. The answers will help you reach these people where they already are online, since you won't necessarily connect with them via employment sites or job listings.
Step #2: Set up a Landing Page for Applicants
Another excellent way to accelerate the recruiting process and improve the candidate experience is by using a landing page for applicants. A landing page on your company's website designed for recruitment purposes can be highly beneficial, providing potential candidates with a clear route towards an application. Suppose candidates find a job posting on your website or a third-party job listing site. In that case, they can be automatically redirected to your landing page, which will instantly notify recruiters once the form is filled out.
You can design this landing page to limit candidates to apply for only one position, ensuring that they choose the position that best suits their skills and experience rather than any position. Essentially, landing pages are an exceptional tool to learn more about your candidates and customize the application process as you see fit. Plus, landing pages are much more convenient and efficient for recruiters to manage and obtain applications from than traditional application methods. Consequently, candidates will receive a response from recruiters much faster, allowing them to begin the interview process promptly.
Perhaps the main benefit of using a landing page on your website for employment applications is that you can keep all the data in your own CRM--and you can usually collect more data than you'd get from an external job posting website. For example, thanks to cookies, you'd likely be able to collect information on which of your web pages that candidates have visited, along with other ways they have interacted with your company online (such as email subscriptions, opens, and clicks; or social media interactions).
Step #3: Offer Self-Service Interview Scheduling
Following the application process and any pre-screening, recruiters must schedule interviews with eligible applicants. With numerous candidates coming in for interviews, scheduling can get a bit complicated for recruiters. For this reason, finding an automated meeting scheduling tool is essential for recruiters.
Most CRMs offer some form of automated scheduling, where you can set the parameters for your calendar and the length of meetings. Candidates can then select a time that works for both of you, without any back-and-forth. They'll receive an automated confirmation, and the meeting will be added to your calendar.
This ensures that interviews are scheduled quickly and efficiently, rather than emailing back and forth about contradicting availability. As a result, interviews are scheduled promptly, allowing both recruiters and candidates to prioritize interviews and maximize the value of their time.
Step #4: Automate Follow-up Where Appropriate
You may recall the statistic above, that most applicants never receive updates on their hiring status, and that this can impact their perception of a company. Maintaining communication with candidates is crucial, even if you decide to hire another candidate. While one candidate may not be a good fit for this specific role, or at this time, they may be a better fit later on. For this reason, you must maintain a positive relationship with candidates throughout the entirety of their candidate experience.
An excellent way to do this is by keeping candidates in the loop during the recruitment process. If you have chosen to go with another candidate, you can automate emails to notify candidates of this decision. While it can be daunting to share such news, candidates will be grateful to be notified so that they can move on to other opportunities. Even though the candidate may not be joining your team now, they had a positive experience and felt that you respected their time. As a result, that candidate may apply again in the future when they are a better fit.
Recruiters may also want to consider creating an automated post-interview questionnaire for candidates who have participated in the recruitment process. Such a survey can provide recruiters with insights to improve their recruiting process in the future and gauge how well they are cultivating a positive candidate experience. Many CRM platforms allow recruiters to automate this process, providing them with insights in an efficient manner.
Another often-ignored opportunity for recruitment automation is outreach when you have a new job opportunity. Over time, you'll have quite a database of past applicants, along with information about the type of positions they're looking for. You can segment this contact list based on job interests and email the appropriate people when a relevant opportunity is available. Note: This technique works best if you've already delivered a great candidate experience the first time around!
Use the Right Tools for Recruitment Automation
While specialized recruitment automation software certainly exists, these solutions can be expensive--especially for SMBs or startups. If you're savvy, you can use the tools you already have in your CRM and CMS to help automate parts of this process. After all, you're essentially setting up landing pages, sending automated emails, and using meeting links. All of these functions should be available in your marketing and sales system.
Our favorite, of course, is HubSpot. What's not to love? This robust platform brings together all the marketing and sales tools you need to get started with recruitment automation. And the Service Hub also allows you to use a ticketing system for candidate tracking. Gartner just named HubSpot a Magic Quadrant leader in B2B Marketing Automation, and the platform also offers substantial discounts for qualified startups.
Ready to learn more about using HubSpot for recruitment automation and candidate tracking? Let's chat!