“Our employees are our most valuable resource” – a sentence that can be read on thousands of websites. This is laudable, but companies should also focus on potential employees in the selection and recruitment process. This “Candidate first” or “Candidate Centricity” approach involves the creation of a positive Candidate Journey or Candidate Experience from initial contact to successful onboarding.
The “Candidate Centricity” approach is an integrative corporate and recruiting strategy that is focused on the needs of candidates. Especially in times of shortage of skilled workers, many candidates are aware of their own market value and can choose between many alternatives. This makes it all the more important to develop a smooth applicant management system that focuses on the applicants and their needs.
So much for theory. We will show you how to implement this strategy in practice:
Career website or career portal
Make sure that potential applicants can easily find your vacancies or career website online. It’s best if they can be accessed with just one click without tedious linking. Furthermore, applicants should be able to filter job offers on your website or find suitable offers by means of a free text search. Nobody wants to scroll through an endless display of job offers.
Also make sure that your website is optimised for mobile devices. According to Statista, about 83% of Austrians use a smartphone. It is therefore only natural that candidates also use their mobile phones to search for interesting career offers while on the move.
Once the candidates have reached your career portal, you must now manage to inspire and interest them with an appealing text. Standard phrases and a long list of tasks and requirements, which take up more than half of the advertisement, will only arouse the interest of a few people. Show clearly the benefits of the position and what your company can offer the applicants. Distinguish between must and should criteria and formulate the requirements clearly and realistically, otherwise you will scare off many candidates in advance. Also list a contact person for the position and the application so that candidates can contact you directly and easily in case of queries.
Last but not least: Don’t forget to check the call-to-action. “Apply today” or even “Contact our contact person Ms. XXX, she will be happy to give you more details about the position”. This call to action is used in marketing and sales to trigger an immediate response – in our case an application.
You have done it and the applicant wants to submit an application. Very good – but still, you have not automatically reached the end of your goal. A lengthy and complicated application process can lead to candidates still dropping out. Make sure that applicants do not have to fill out pages of application forms. One-click application with social media profiles such as Xing or LinkedIn is advantageous here. Like the career website, the application form must also be optimised for mobile devices. Furthermore, you should pay attention to which fields you specify in the application form. Career stages and various training courses should not be indicated by hand, these can be traced back to the CV. Also offer applicants the opportunity to apply via e-mail and do not rely exclusively on online application tools.
Once the application of the interested party has been received in your system, the first step is to confirm the receipt of the application to the candidates and to determine the timing of the next steps in this mail. The absolute no-go in this context is, when there is no feedback or only after weeks. If there are delays in the selection process, it is also important to inform the candidates so that you can show that you value the candidates and their application. This will also help you to avoid the feeling that applicants are only being “kept warm”.
Many companies and their applicant management systems are designed for the positions to be filled. This means that the vacant position is at the centre of the processes depicted and the applicants for the corresponding positions are administered. However, in the spirit of Candidate Centricity, it is important that candidates are created in the sense of a database, so that this database can be used to create cross-references and links to other positions. In this way, you can establish a connection to the candidates and continue to use them for future positions, i.e. build up a candidate pool.
You have selected the applications and now you know who you want to invite – when inviting the candidates to an appointment, make sure you include important information such as contact persons, interview partners, directions, parking spaces and also any preparatory tasks for the candidates. The reception of the candidate and the organisation of the selection interview are important, as this is the first time that the candidate makes contact with a representative of the company, but also of the company culture and values, and compares his/her previous image of the company with his/her real experience based on the interview. Communication after the interview is also important, give prompt feedback and feedback on the interview.
The corporate and welcome culture must not end immediately after the job is accepted. A soft but structured onboarding process should follow on from a job offer. Make sure that everything is organised for the applicant’s entry into the company and that nothing stands in the way of a successful integration into the company.
Only a few companies have realised that a candidate-centred approach to applicants is a success factor in times of shortage of skilled workers and demographic change. The Rejected Candidate Survey shows the fatal consequences of a negative Candidate Experience on corporate success. The study reveals that candidates are also potential customers of a company and vice versa. In the case of the study, 18 percent of the rejected candidates were customers, 6 percent of whom subsequently switched to a competitor of the company due to a negative Candidate Experience in the recruitment process. As you can see, companies that do not focus on candidates and their needs will be at a disadvantage in the long run.
All partners of the executive search network CFR take every application seriously and show their candidates high esteem. This is an essential quality factor and also value, which all our partners carry within themselves! We wish you success in implementing this in your company and look forward hearing from you in case of any questions or support needed!
Article written by Bianca Altendorfer, MSC,
CFR Global Executive Search Austria