Answered: 5 Questions About Career Site Candidate Experience

Answered: 5 Questions About Career Site Candidate Experience

Mike Roberts

candidate experience best practicesThere’s a reason many in the recruiting field describe their function as “talent acquisition.” That’s because it requires lots of resources to acquire skilled professionals—a major challenge for organizations in today’s competitive job market. And as just about any recruiter will tell you, having an exceptional candidate experience on your careers site can make all of the difference.

As candidate experience becomes front and center in leading brands’ recruiting strategies, many talent acquisition professionals are starting to take a closer look at their own sites. That’s why we focused on this topic in our recent webinar. The webinar moved through a 9-point checklist of must-haves for any modern careers site—one that entices job seekers to move through your apply flow.

Toward the end of the online event, we got an influx of questions—many of which could not be answered in the allotted time. So we’re following up in this article with what we think were the top ones.

Announcement: Since we had such a high demand for this webinar, we’re hosting a live encore this Friday, June 5 at 2p.m. EST. Sign up here.

1. If so many Fortune 500 companies have poor candidate experiences on their careers sites, why don’t they just hire a design firm to make it look better?

This is one of the most common questions recruiters tend to ask. What’s most important to understand is that candidate experience is really more of a software issue than an aesthetic one. Aesthetics and nice design are nice, of course, but if the functionality’s not there users are likely to abandon the process. Think about how seamlessly engineered Google’s search is or how awesome’s shopping experience is—it’s the software that makes them uniquely good.

2. How does the ATS play into candidate experience?

We typically refer to the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) as the culprit for a bad candidate experience. While recruiting organizations need an ATS for back-office activities, they’ve come to use them for front-office or user-facing activities over the years. When a job seeker fills out a requisition, they’re often interacting directly with the ATS. And as anyone who uses back-office software knows, it doesn’t deliver the look and feel of consumer-quality experiences—hence so many poor candidate experiences.

3. Could you elaborate on how you can change your candidate experience without replacing your existing ATS?

With the use of systems integration, recruiting organizations can deploy consumer-quality software on top of the ATS. As a result, much more modern, better software capabilities can pick up where the ATS leaves off in terms of candidate experience. Companies can deploy capabilities that integrate with the ATS—without replacing it—like mobile apply, advanced search, job alerts, talent networks, and so on.

4. What did you mean about the careers site being the last place on earth where it’s okay to change branding?

Building on the previous answer, when a job seeker is on an un-optimized career site, when they hit “Apply” they’re typically migrated to the ATS’ apply flow. Most ATS’ apply flows are deployed “out-of-the-box,” meaning that little to nothing is changed. So, it’s not uncommon for job seekers to see a nice logo and design on the requisition page, and then an ATS’ logo and its design when they actually start the apply flow.

5. What is the best way to measure candidate experience? And how can you use that information to make it better over time?

There are a number of ways to measure candidate experience, but it’s a pretty subjective term so those ways vary depending on to whom you’re speaking. Many companies are measuring it using assessments, like questionnaires after a candidate goes through the apply flow or the interview process. There’s really no better source of information than an unbiased person who’s not on your payroll giving you honest feedback.

But this information can also be coupled with back-end recruiting analytics, so recruiters can actually take a more scientific approach to improving candidate experience. For instance, a recruiter might look at the various stages of an apply flow to determine which questions or the number of questions are causing candidates to drop. Using assessments and recruiting analytics in conjunction is a recipe for improvement.

Interested in learning more about what it takes to build a modern candidate experience? Check out our new eBook,“9-Point Checklist for Building a Next-Generation Candidate Experience.”

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