Candidate expectations are transforming, and in today’s tight talent landscape, organizations need to keep up or risk being left behind. To succeed, employers need to understand what these new candidate expectations are, where they come from and how to meet them.
A Transforming Workforce
Millennials have been the largest generation in the workforce since 2015, according to the Pew Research Center. They are disrupting traditional work environments. To attract the best millennial workers, companies have relaxed dress codes, redesigned offices and offered flexible work hours. However, for many employers, the application and hiring process has been left behind.
It’s not just millennials changing the way we work. As a society, we’re more connected than ever before. According to Pew, 77 percent of U.S. adults own smartphones they can use to communicate, shop and apply for jobs. Unfortunately, many organizations still have applications that haven’t adapted and require as much as an hour of sitting at a computer.
An outdated or poorly designed application process can have real business consequences. In late 2017, the U.S. unemployment rate fell to lows the country hadn’t seen in 17 years. Candidates have a lot more choice when it comes to applying for and taking new jobs. As employers compete for the best candidates, those organizations with poor candidate experiences will miss out on the best talent.
However, the impact goes far beyond that. In the 2016 Talent Board North American Research Report, research shows that candidate experience is a part of an organization’s employment brand, which affects the perception of their overall brand. Talent Board reports that 41 percent of candidates who have a negative candidate experience will take their alliances, product purchases and relationships somewhere else. Additionally, 64 percent of candidates who have a positive experience say they’ll increase their relationship with that brand.
In this connected world, candidates are also likely to share their negative experiences with their networks on social media. This is perhaps the worst outcome for many organizations because not only do they miss out on that candidate, other potential candidates will be discouraged from applying. Because everything can live forever on the internet, posts sharing negative experiences can remain visible even after an organization has worked to improve their candidate experience.
Candidates Expect: Mobile First
We live in a mobile world. According to Pew, 77 percent of Americans own smartphones. That’s even higher than the percentage of people who use social media, which is 69 percent. Consumers use their smartphones to get directions, shop, pay for goods and services and more. Increasingly, candidates are using smartphones as a part of their job search. In fact, a growing number of candidates expect to be able to apply from their mobile phones.
According to Pew, 28 percent of Americans have used their phone as a part of their job search. That number jumps to 53 percent for adults ages 18- to 29-years-old. Half of those have used their smartphones to fill out a job application. However, many organizations still have application processes that are difficult to navigate on a mobile device. A survey by Indeed showed that 78 percent of people would apply on their mobile devices if the process was better.
It’s up to organizations to make the process better and meet those expectations for a mobile-first application process. While it is still difficult to create and design a traditional resume on a mobile device, other job search tools, like LinkedIn, work seamlessly on smartphones. To make an application process mobile friendly, organizations need to think outside the outdated application process.
Candidates Expect: A Fast Process
Speaking of that long application form, it fails to meet another major candidate expectation. Candidates want a fast and easy application process. According to the Talent Board report, the application process is still one of the most challenging areas in the candidate’s journey, and candidates want to “understand the questions they are being asked and have the opportunity to share their skills and experience.” In fact, a quick Google search for “the worst part about applying for jobs,” turns up article after article lamenting the process of uploading a resume and then entering work history and education information into an application.
If an application process is too long or too complicated, candidates will abandon the process. According to Indeed, applications with 45 or more questions have an abandonment rate of nearly 90 percent. In this tight talent market, that leaves a huge chance that an organization will miss out on the best candidate for the job just because of the long application process.
Candidates Expect: Personalization
As a consumer, when you go online, it can feel like everything is personalized for you. The ads on social media and websites are based on your online shopping and web browsing habits. Your email is filled with promotions and deals from companies offering exactly what you’re looking for. However, the candidate experience lags behind.
Personalization is important, – in one survey, researchers found that 87 percent of people said personally relevant content improves how they feel about a brand. In a job search, that can mean a lot of different things. If a candidate opts-in to a talent community, it can mean sending them open positions that are actually a fit with their skills and goals. If a candidate has already applied for a position with an organization, it can mean prepopulating a new application with the information they’ve already provided. As the Talent Board survey points out, it can also mean providing a personalized portal where a candidate can track the status of their application.
Personalization is really just another form of communication. It’s communicating to the candidate that an organization recognizes and remembers them and that the organization sees them as an individual – not just a resume.
Tech to the Rescue
Implementing an application process that meets all of these candidate requirements doesn’t have to be difficult. There are many technology solutions available that can help build a fast, simple, personalized, mobile-first application process.
Organizations should look for tools that take advantage of artificial intelligence and machine learning to build a good candidate experience. AI and machine learning technology can streamline the process for candidates and provide personalization to reflect a strong employer brand. AI can also source active and passive candidates within seconds.
Video interviews and digital assessments are other important tools. Many positions require skills assessments, but they don’t need to be a part of the initial application process. By using a tool with video interviews and digital assessments, organizations can speed up the hiring process because candidates can accomplish these on their own time.
It’s also important to have secure tools that tie in with your organization’s applicant tracking systems and vendor management systems. That way the tool will work seamlessly for candidates and recruiters and hiring managers.
To meet these candidate expectations and help our clients stay ahead of the shifts in the talent landscape, PeopleScout developed Affinix. Affinix is a mobile-first, cloud-based platform that creates a consumer-like candidate experience and streamlines the sourcing process. Embedded within PeopleScout’s talent solutions, Affinix delivers speed and scalability while leveraging artificial intelligence, recruitment marketing, machine learning, predictive analytics and other emerging technology with one point ATS and VMS integration and single sign-on.
How well does your candidate experience measure up? Schedule a candidate experience evaluation today!