February 4, 2020

Better Hiring: How the Right Tech Can Create a Memorable Candidate Experience

Providing a positive candidate experience can yield all kinds of excellent results for a company.

It makes sense, then, to ensure that candidates — whether successful in the job application or not — regard the experience positively. Technology is increasingly the most sensible and effective means of supporting candidates along their job application process. 

Not all organizations, however, are adapting to use tech effectively. Brendan Bank, CTO of MessageBird, says that many companies get stuck with legacy hardware and processes, then find themselves reluctant to abandon the familiar. The result for recruiters is a process that does not meet the needs of executives, employees, or candidates.

Here’s how technology and the human touch can be applied to the hiring process to make sure candidates walk away with positive emotions about the organization. 

Create Easy-to-Find Job Postings

Candidates need to be able to find job postings in a simple and efficient way. An organization’s career page, then, should be intuitive to navigate. 

An effective way to make jobs easy to find is through optimizing your careers page for search engines. Not only does SEO drive traffic to your website, but it enhances the candidate experience as the job posting is on your company’s website, easy to find, and simple to apply for.

Speed Up Processes With Friendly Chatbots

Chatbots are an effective recruitment tool. 

Consider the case of Pitney Bowes. The company had set up an e-commerce fulfilment center that processes 44,000 packages per hour, so it needed a lot of labor. Hiring those numbers of workers can be time-consuming. So, Pitney Bowes turned to AI-powered chatbots to do some of the work for them, as Emma Jacobs reports in the Financial Times

The chatbot is ready to answer candidates’ questions on the company’s career page. It directs candidates to job vacancies and conducts a pre-selection Q&A process, asking questions like whether candidates can lift 50 pounds or whether they prefer flexible hours. 

Chatbots complete a simple task but provide a valuable solution: They save human hiring managers’ and recruiters’ time and the organization money by screening candidates. They also help to deliver a more personalized career site experience. 

A true-AI interactive bot qualifies candidates, collects resumes, and answers questions with meaningful responses regarding skills, job fit, benefits, and culture. 

Team of employers holding job interview at office; positive candidate experience concept

Deliver a Personalized Experience

The chatbot example above is one possible element you could deploy within a larger, AI-driven personalized candidate experience, which digital strategist Ashok Sharma outlines in a post at Hackernoon. AI-enabled recruitment processes boost the candidate experience because they reduce time to hire, increase responsiveness, and lead to an engaged candidate.

But personalization is possible beyond just during the screening stages. Onboarding presents a valuable opportunity for AI to take control of some of the essential work. For instance, an AI-powered program can direct new hires toward relevant institutional information, important documents, and training modules.

Screen Applicants More Quickly

Not much sours a candidate’s experience as much as a long wait to hear the outcome of their application. The process needs to be smooth, and decisions should happen fast. So, HR teams need to ensure they have an efficient applicant screening process, Mason Stevenson at HR Exchange Network writes.

Stevenson notes that many organizations are adopting smart HR tech to improve applicant screening. Tasks delegated to AI include scanning work samples, or reviewing social media activity. 

Remote video also makes the interview process more accessible to a greater number of candidates. Video interviews eliminate the need for travel, so candidates with childcare responsibilities or obligations to their current employer can still be interviewed at a convenient time. 

Video also empowers others who may struggle with traditional resumes. A few years ago, Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City launched an initiative called Introduce Yourself, which has candidates submit a video telling the story of themselves. The process gives candidates a voice in a way that a paper or email-based resume does not, says the hospital’s talent acquisition manager, Angie Richardson.

Consider Virtual Reality

Virtual reality presents employers with a unique capability. They can use the tech to immerse candidates into a realistic and interactive simulation of the job environment. 

Marcel Schwantes, founder and chief human officer at Leadership From the Core, gives the example of Lloyds Banking Group. The bank uses VR to expose candidates to scenarios they’d encounter on the job. How candidates interact with the challenges reveals their natural strengths and behaviors, which makes it easier for the bank to match candidates to roles. 

Professional creative team is working together in office; positive candidate experience concept

Steer People Toward the Best Roles for Them

In the recent past, the role of recruitment software was to provide big databases of candidates for recruiters to sift through manually. Today, AI does a much better job at matching the candidates in a database with available vacancies.

Consider Instant Job Matching, which personalizes an organization’s career site to every person who visits it. Candidates can upload a resume and instantly match to relevant jobs according to their skills, experience and interests. 

The process is faster and more transparent about qualifications and requirements for a job. That helps increase the likelihood of qualified candidates applying. Further, such a process encourages inbound applications from underrepresented groups.

Learn How to Measure the Candidate Experience

Many organizations understand the importance of providing a positive candidate experience. Fewer know how to measure whether they’re achieving this, though, explains James Bull, UK country manager at feedback platform Starred.

Talent acquisition managers need a strategy to measure how successful their teams are at providing positive candidate experiences. They can start by mapping the candidate journey, Bull says. Identify the various steps in that journey. Then measure the average time between them, the conversion rate, and the quality of communication between the organization and candidate. 

This kind of thorough audit allows your team to optimize touchpoint by touchpoint.

Be a Power Couple: AI and the Human Touch

AI-powered HR programs can help carry a lot of the heavy load that used to be left to recruiters and hiring managers. But the true enhancement of the candidate experience lies in the combination of AI’s efficiency and humans’ unique capabilities. 

Take the example of DBS Bank. Jeanne Meister, founding partner at the HR advisory firm Future Workplace, says implementing AI-enabled hiring tech led to shorter screening times, better application rates and more efficient response rates from the DBS. 

HR tech is changing the way companies hire. It’s fast, efficient and accurate, which is positive for both hiring teams and candidates. HR teams hire the candidates they want and candidates — whether successful or not — are engaged effectively along the way. The positive candidate experience that results is simply good for business. 

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