How to Enhance Your Candidate Experience

Jule GamacheBy Jule Gamache
March 1st, 2022 • 4 Minutes

When you think about the candidate experience, some teams play a critical role: recruiters, coordinators, sourcers, recruitment marketers, and, yes, hiring managers. While the folks on your talent acquisition teams may focus on filling jobs all day, every day, hiring managers are also worried about their day-to-day operations. This often leaves gaps in your candidate experience strategy.

Hiring managers can make or break job seekers’ experience, so recruiters and recruitment marketers must make it as easy as possible for them to put their best feet forward. 

Ensure you keep the interest of top talent by creating a hiring manager toolkit for a positive candidate experience. Here’s how:

Tapping into their Networks

The candidate experience starts before a job seeker even applies to your company. It starts with your employer branding. While recruitment marketers will handle the heavy lifting when it comes to branding, recruiters and hiring leaders are just as essential. They are the faces of your organization. When a job seeker researches what it’s like to work at your company, they may turn to LinkedIn or other social media, and that’s where hiring managers matter.

Hiring managers should use their social profiles to post about what it’s like to work on their teams. Whether they write about a fun team meeting or share screenshots from the Zoom Holiday Party, any time, they post about the employee experience matters. 

It’s a good idea for the managers to share relevant content year-round so that when they have a job opening, job seekers who go on social media to learn more can find genuine content that reflects your real company culture. 

Often, hiring managers aren’t sure what they are and aren’t allowed to share on social media. To set them up for success, give them examples or templates to use in their social posts. You can also arm them with links to where to find company news worth sharing, as well as employer branding videos your team has created. 

Evaluating Candidates

If hiring managers play a role in reviewing resumes or candidate screenings at your company, this is another key area to consider. While many talent acquisition teams are aware of the places unconscious bias can creep up during the recruitment process, hiring managers may not be as familiar. 

When reviewing candidates for a role, hiring managers may easily gravitate toward applicants who have similar backgrounds to themselves. This could mean graduating from the same college, previous experience at a comparable company, or some other similarities. While this instinct may feel like a good idea, screening candidates based on similarities is the quickest way to miss out on building a diverse team. 

Knowing this may be a pattern among hiring teams, it is critical for talent acquisition pros to educate hiring managers on their unconscious biases. Add a section to your toolkit with tips and questions for hiring managers to ask themselves to avoid biased decision-making: 

  • Do I really need someone with a college degree if they have work experience?
  • If this candidate has the right soft skills, can I train them on some of the hard skills?

Conducting Interviews

In addition to the initial evaluation, how hiring managers conduct their interviews is also critical to the candidate experience. In this case, this is the first time they’ll interact with the candidate face-to-face, which impacts most directly.

While interviews are a critical time to learn if the candidate is the right fit for the job, it is equally crucial for the candidate to discover if they can see themselves working at your company. For this reason, hiring managers need to find a balance between asking the questions they need to learn and sharing insights into the employee experience.

Provide hiring managers with tips for showcasing their employee experience during interviews. Include resources from your recruitment marketing library that they can refer to, as needed. Here are some examples:

  • Conduct a “virtual tour” with candidates, where they quickly meet some of the folks they’d be working with. Pretend you’re walking them around the office, but it’s all over video. This could be pre-recorded or all on your video call.
  • Talk about how your team collaborates vs. how much of the work is independent.
  • Share a story about an impactful project your team accomplished or a volunteer opportunity they did together.

Candidate Communication

Last but not least, the hiring manager must participate in the candidate communication process. The information candidates receive between each step in the process impacts their opinion of your company. The more the recruitment process becomes automated, the more candidates become dissatisfied when they do not hear back after applying or interviewing at a company.

While talent acquisition may handle much of your candidate communication, your hiring managers can contribute to a positive experience in this area. 

If you have the opportunity to include hiring managers in the candidate communication process, here are some ways they can enhance the experience:

  • Personally reply to candidates’ thank-you notes after the interview.
  • If candidates made it to the interview but aren’t ultimately hired, having the hiring manager make that phone call to let them down is a better experience than having it come from the recruiter. 
  • Bonus points if the hiring manager can give the candidate a piece of feedback to help them improve in the future.

Ultimately, the candidate experience is critical for earning repeat applicants. Suppose you want your silver-medal candidates to apply again in the future once they’ve gained more experience. In that case, you need to ensure the recruitment process with enjoyable to them, despite the rejection. Similarly, if you want your top candidate to say, “Yes!” when you offer them the job, they need to feel like they will fit in your company. 

Since the talent will work directly with hiring managers if you offer them the job, hiring managers are a crucial piece of the process. What are some other ways to make the recruitment process easier for hiring managers? Let us know in the comments!

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