Ghosting is a thing. And not just on the dating scene… The Washington Post reports that between 10 and 20% of new starters ghost their jobs. The Financial Times have spotted this trend too: “Companies hunting for workers are finding candidates sail through interviews and background checks, then abruptly, cut off contact when an offer is made, or vanish after accepting a job.” Candidates are not the only ones who do it, though… Companies are renowned for simply dropping applications into a black hole and not getting back to applicants – causing many applicants great anxiety and leaving them with a poor impression of the overall brand (as this research shows).
As a Recruitment Agency, that’s the last thing you want: a candidate going through the motions and then disappearing during the contracting process or on D-day. Obviously, there are many reasons why candidates would do such a thing. The ‘war on talent’ and low unemployment rates come to mind (with Manpower Group reporting that 45% of companies struggle to find the talent they need). But so does Candidate Experience.
What’s the buzz?
Candidate Experience has become a recruitment buzzword. Almost 400,000,000 search results pop up in Google alone. And while there’s debate about exactly how far-reaching Candidate Experience is, there appears to be consensus about the fact that Candidate Experience impacts your employer brand and either attracts or repels talented and passionate people.
The experience a candidate has of the entire recruitment process (from the role advertisement and job spec through to the interview, background checking and contracting process) can have a significant influence on how they perceive your client (and your recruitment agency). Impacting whether or not they decide to ghost on you.
There are a couple of simple yet effective ways recruitment agencies can boost Candidate Experience, reducing the chances of candidates disappearing on you and also just generally adding more value to your customers, your candidates and your team.
1 – Job Descriptions – What’s in it for me?
Often recruitment agencies use their own job description templates, cutting a lot of the fluff and standardising the content. The thing is, this also reduces the amount of detail and “personality” a candidate can gauge from the JD.
Yes, we all know recruitment is a competitive industry and that you may not be able to state who the employer is that you’re sourcing for, but wherever possible allude to the industry and incorporate any additional details that can help a discerning candidate get a better impression of whether it’s an environment they’re interested in.
Key takeaway: Make it easy for people to determine whether the opportunity is truly of interest to them by helping them establish “what’s in it for me”. This also increases your hit-rate and minimises the amount of uninterested candidates you have to sift through.
We loved this Basecamp Head of Marketing job spec that went viral (for all the right reasons). It offers context regarding the situation, the reason why they’re hiring, what kind of professional they’re looking for and what’s in it for the person who joins their team.
2 – Process – Clarity is kindness
As a recruiter, you’re likely managing a bunch of different projects, with each customer’s hiring processes looking slightly different. This can be tricky to stay on top of. But managing expectations and clarifying the process with your candidate helps them to be fully prepared and to coordinate any other commitments or opportunities that they might have.
3 – Enable simple online applications – Talented people need easy access
We’ve all been there… You’re keen to apply for a role, you’re asked for your LinkedIn profile or CV only to have to capture it all manually again in the next step of the application process. According to AppCast, only 5 to 10% of all applicants who see a job advertisement complete their application. A slow, long and painful application process that’s not optimised to improve Candidate Experience contributes to this problem.
People tend to look for jobs during their commute or in the evenings and this is often on their mobile devices, so it’s vital that you think about how your application process is enabling this.
4 – Feedback – the Good, the Bad, the Ugly…
“All feedback if a gift, just sometimes it’s a sh*tty gift,” we were once told… And it’s true that giving and receiving feedback is not always easy. But just because it’s not easy (on occasion), doesn’t mean it is not important. You need to give candidates feedback throughout the process; the good, the bad and the ugly. What can you share with your candidates that will honestly help set them up better for their next interview? Or help them with the next step of the process etc. People want to know where they stand and how they can improve. And over time it builds trust too.
(Uncomfortable with the thought of offering your insights? This feedback checklist by Brene Brown might help put you at ease.)
5 – Communication is key – The right people at the right time
The days of bulk emails are over. And this is not just true for the marketing department and your colleague who keeps clicking “responding all”. No one wants a one-size-fits-all email trying to suggest they’d be perfect for the ‘Marketing Director’ role you’ve just had put on your desk when they really know that email was sent to 150 people.
People also don’t want jobs that aren’t relevant to them, but that you sent to them because a keyword search suggested.
It’s the era of personalisation – you need to be intentional and specific with what you send out and value quality over quantity. Send people the right things at the right times.
Marketing automation tools can help with this, but the key is always going to be really good data – something which only you can control. You simply have to add value with every email/communication you are sending out – the old ‘so what and who cares’ rule.
6 – Automation, Delegate, Eliminate
We are all time poor and while the above a dream list from which we would love to be ticking boxes, we already don’t have enough hours in the day, right?
So what can you automate to give yourself the time you need to do the rest (the stuff that needs the human touch)?
Think marketing automation tools that’ll help you reach the right people at the right time. Or social media scheduling tools that eliminate the chances of it becoming a daily distraction. Eliminate the manual and time-intensive labour as much as possible, automate background checks, look into video technology to help with your first level screening etc.
Life at modern recruitment agencies is changing drastically. You want to be riding that wave, rather than stuck under a mountain of admin waving goodbye to happy hires and grappling with ghosting. To improve your Candidate Experience, try our six tricks. And if you have a handy habit that makes the world of difference, please share it with us below?