How Employers Can Ace the Candidate Experience

By David Boggs

I have written articles in the past advising executive candidates on how to navigate the job search and interview process (see, for instance, “Find Solid Footing in a Shifting Career Landscape”) – understanding that, especially during tough economies, executive job hunters need all the help they can get.

David Boggs

David Boggs

However, recent data show a job market that is improving, with projections for employment in the U.S. mostly optimistic. This prompted me to write a new article, not for job seekers, but for employers working hard to recruit executives in a tight talent market. The article, “How to Ace Candidate Experience in 6 Simple Steps,” recently appeared on the Brazen blog.

Now that candidates have a wider array of attractive positions to choose from, employers need to brush up on hiring practices. Below are a few of the necessities:

  1. Enticing online presence: Make sure your website and social media channels are up to date and easy to navigate, portraying your company in a positive light. Consider this your “first impression” when candidates research your company.
  1. Attractive job postings: Instead of providing a list of basic responsibilities, consider phrasing the position in a way that will communicate to candidates how their work will contribute to the mission and goals of the organization.
  1. Welcoming interview process: It is important to communicate early and often about your search procedures so candidates know how many times (and how many people) they should expect to meet, what materials they need, and how long the process will last. This is their first real interaction with your company; make it a positive one.
  1. Reasonable skills assessment: It is typical to ask prospective employees to show evidence of their work and experience, perhaps even asking them to complete a task they would have to execute during a normal day’s work. However, keep these requests minimal, and do not ask candidates to work on current projects; you do not want them to think you are taking advantage of their time or energy.
  1. Respectful background checks: In today’s world, background checks are a given during interviews. It is important, though, to clearly communicate your process for background checks to candidates before actually completing them. This transparency shows a respect for the candidates and their privacy.
  1. Exceptional communication: Similar to point number three, it is important to keep channels of communication open while recruiting new leaders. Keeping them informed shows you are still interested, and also, more important, that you respect their time and the efforts they put toward joining your organization.

Following these practices will help ensure a quality experience for candidates, reinforcing a positive reputation for your organization.

David Boggs is practice leader of WK Advisors – a division of Witt/Kieffer offering mid- and senior-level executive search consulting services.

Follow WK Advisors on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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