The Candidate Experience Journey: Enhancing Six Key Touchpoints

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In today’s highly competitive talent market, an organization’s ability to attract high-quality candidates is a significant business advantage—making improving candidate experience a priority for talent acquisition (TA) teams. Our most recently published High-Impact Talent Acquisition research found that a personalized talent journey was essential for applicants, with 76 percent of high-performing TA functions reporting that they communicate effectively with both selected and nonselected candidates.[1]

But many companies are failing to attract top talent because their hiring processes deter, or even repel, candidates. To effectively attract top talent and stay competitive, organizations must reevaluate and enhance their talent acquisition processes to engage candidates before, during, and after the interview, using personalized communication at every step as part of an overall strategic candidate experience journey.

We found six touchpoints that matter most to candidates on their initial journey with your organization:

  • Building awareness and interest with candidates. An effective overall candidate experience journey begins by engaging positively with prospective candidates starting with their very first interaction with the organization. How can you do this? Create talent communities of people interested in your organization, develop a strong, effective employer brand, and redesign your career website to be engaging and informative.
  • Creating an easy application process. Traditionally, it has been at the point of application itself when many potential candidates become discouraged and walk away from the process, causing hiring companies to lose out on potential talent. How can you do this? Assess your existing application process by applying for a job, document the issues, and then create a simple application process for candidates.
  • Facilitating engaging recruiter interactions and prehire assessments. Recruiter interactions and prehire assessments are among the first official contacts candidates have with an organization, and are often the basis for the candidate’s ongoing relationship with the organization. How can you do this? Personalize your screening interviews and make sure that prehire assessments engage and benefit candidates, giving them insight into what it will be like to work for the organization.
  • Enabling effective hiring manager and team interviews. At this stage, the candidates are excited to speak to a hiring manager but they still have expectations of a personalized and fair experience. How can you do this? Provide hiring managers the appropriate training, tools, and assistance to ensure interviews are effective and engaging, and then ensure everyone involved in the interviewing process applies the same predetermined system of measurement to their interviews.
  • Sustaining engagement throughout the offer and acceptance phases. New hires joining a large organization need to feel that they are not going to become a cog in a much larger machine—which can in turn lead to decreased engagement and even derail the hiring process. How can you do this? Extend candidates personalized job offers and foster enthusiasm with messages and interactions from team members.
  • Designing preboarding to help new hires assimilate. It is important that organizations continue to engage new hires during the time between offer acceptance and official onboarding to ensure they do not experience decreasing levels of enthusiasm or withdraw their acceptance. How can you do this? Arrange for candidates to complete paperwork before they start, consider offering learning courses and / or gamification to learn about the new organization, and measure candidate experience.

Don’t forget about the importance of a compelling onboarding program as the candidate becomes an employee on day one

Bersin members can download the full Candidate Experience article series. Not a Bersin member but want to know more? Visit the Bersin website.

If you’re doing something interesting in Talent Acquisition, I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to add a comment below, connect with me on Twitter @RAEricksonPhD, or by email at rerickson@deloitte.com.

[1] Six Key Insights to Put Talent Acquisition at the Center of Business Strategy and Execution, Bersin, Deloitte Consulting LLP / Robin Erickson, PhD, and Denise Moulton, 2018, http://bersinone.bersin.com/resources/research/?docid=21325.

Robin Erickson

Vice President, Talent Acquisition Research Leader / Bersin, Deloitte Consulting LLP

Robin leads talent acquisition, engagement, and retention research for Bersin, Deloitte Consulting LLP. Recognized as a thought leader in her areas of expertise, Robin offers more than 20 years of experience, including prior experience in talent strategies consulting and research for Deloitte’s Human Capital practice. Robin led Deloitte’s global Talent 2020 longitudinal survey series and her work has appeared in several issues of Deloitte Review and in Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends reports. She holds a doctoral degree in organizational communication and change, as well as a master’s in communication, from Northwestern University. Robin also has a master’s degree in theology from Northern Seminary and a bachelor of arts from the University of Chicago.

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