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How Improving The Candidate Experience Will Supercharge Your Pipeline
Post Series: Everything you need to know about recruitment marketing

As an HR leader, you're responsible for ensuring that your team consistently hits its key performance benchmarks-which can sometimes be a daunting task. One inevitable metric that you're certainly held accountable for is making sure that you're attracting and sourcing the best available talent for open positions in your organization-which means that you need to develop and maintain a robust pipeline. In today's ultra-competitive job market, where qualified candidates abound, that can be a real challenge. So making sure that your company develops a reputation for consistently providing a superlative candidate experience, at all hiring levels, is a mission-critical step.

Like most things, maintaining a talent-rich HR pipeline requires strategic planning at the foundational level. It's not enough to target the best candidates-you have to keep them interested once you reach them. This is part of an effective recruitment marketing strategy.

So, what exactly comprises the ''candidate experience''? It's a somewhat abstract concept that can be difficult to define, but it's the sort of thing that can certainly be felt, and its presence-positive or negative-can go a long way towards getting the caliber of active and passive candidate who you want to seriously consider your organization when they're on the job hunt.

Yes, the candidate experience can sometimes be an elusive and ephemeral notion for some HR professionals who are used to operating in a seller's market, but the truth is that today's in-demand job candidates have plenty of options. If you can't clearly demonstrate a compelling EVP (Employee Value Proposition), you may find your company low on top-tier talent. Consider the candidate experience a professional magnet of sorts-a positive charge can help attract and a negative charge can repel. So, making sure that you're doing everything within your power to supercharge the candidate experience at your company is a wise investment of your time and resources. Let's look closer at a few proven recruitment marketing strategies.

Get organized: fine-tune your strategy, language, and mission

Anyone who's ever been in the wilds of a job hunt knows that a vast chasm exists between companies who have their hiring process down cold and those who are disorganized and scrambling out of the gate every time. It doesn't take a genius to figure out which gives off a better impression to candidates. A carefully planned and organized recruitment marketing experience starts with clearly defined position requirements, well-executed and clear procedures for guiding candidates through the vetting process, and helpful HR professionals there along the way-who in most instances will be the first point-of-contact and initial impression makers for your organization. A disorganized approach to hiring may give off the impression that your company relishes in all things chaotic-one smidge of confusion might lead someone to "x" out the page and forget about your company.

Don't waste anyone's time: make the process as easy as possible

Some companies take a labyrinthine approach to their application and hiring processes, with everything from confusing and restrictive corporate hiring portals to murky job descriptions and unclear procedures, all which only serve to increase candidate apathy and attrition rates. If a candidate has to create an account just to get to an application, you've already lost them.

Related:  2018 US Jobs Reports: What Employers Need To Know

If a candidate does make it through an elaborate and complicated process, they likely won't be left with a great impression of your organization. It could negatively impact their decision-making if an offer is presented to them.

Your company career page should be clear and easy to find. Then, application instructions should be clear, direct, and to the point-aim to avoid an awkward and complicated application process with too many pages, clicks, and file restrictions. Once you reach out, don't pass an applicant from one person to another, to another. The bottom line here is that a candidate who isn't frustrated by a difficult hiring process is much more likely to have a positive impression of your company. This is the end goal for your recruitment marketing strategy: keep 'em happy.

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Keep candidates in the loop: be more transparent

Engaging in your company's application process and trying to track down info and stay on top of hiring updates shouldn't be akin to crawling through a dark tunnel. Keeping candidates fully updated with helpful information throughout the hiring process will leave them engaged and satisfied, and will help reduce the number of email and phone questions your HR team receives from confused potential hires. Then, even if they're not right for the current open position, they'll remain in your pipeline and have goodwill toward your company if and when a new job opens.

Walk the walk and talk the talk: reflect a strong company culture

A strong corporate culture is a real currency in today's job market. These days, individuals care as much about the mission and philosophy of the companies they choose to work for as the individual perks and benefits, so you should strive to make sure that your corporate brand is designed to attract the level of talent and ability that you want in your candidate pipeline. Furthermore, you have to walk it like you talk it-your company's culture can't just be a bullet point in a job ad. If you want to attract top-tier talent, your reputation and brand should be well-known throughout the industry you're in and should be apparent even during the hiring process. Candidates who feel good about your mission and culture will be more excited and engaged, and will also be more eager to join your team.

If you're looking to take your HR pipeline to the next level, start by improving the candidate experience. Use the recruitment marketing strategies presented here to supercharge every step along the way to ensure that you're attracting and retaining the very best talent in your industry.

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Eric Titner

Eric is a NYC-based editor and writer, with years of experience in career-focused content development across a wide range of industries.

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