Who drives hiring trends? You’re likely to say: employers. That is fundamentally true because employers create job opportunities. But in reality, the hiring success of an organization depends on how candidates experience its hiring process, right from the moment they read a job description. If this process feels confusing or lengthy, potential employees disengage. Thus, just like the MRINetwork survey showed, the market is 90% candidate-driven.

Lars Schmidt, founder of Amplify Talent, says that leaders can undertake a simple audit to gauge the candidate experience (CX) their company creates, by applying for a job at their own organization. Some common factors to consider – whether time taken to fill the application form exceeds 15 mins, how soon do you receive a response, confusing/ unclear job descriptions, harsh interviews, etc. Why care about this? A hiring process is the first impression a candidate gathers about an organization. If that is not engaging, it speaks volumes about the organizational culture. You’ll lose some key talent. Especially among the millennials.

Research by Deloitte shows that companies spent $4,000 per hire in 2014. And that doesn’t cover the costs of lost time and productivity while the position sits open—an average of 26 working days. That’s big! Thus, to optimize this investment, here’s how some top employers are strengthening their CX:

  • Explaining the interview process to candidates. The most common feedback hiring managers have – all resumes and cover letters look the same. This happens because not all companies share what exactly they’re looking for. But W.L. Gore has it sorted. They provide tips about applying to Gore, explaining what kind of customization they seek in resumes, and that they phone interview at the beginning of their recruiting process. Candidates can also find answers to questions about the application process on the FAQs page.
  • Keeping candidates engaged. From sharing video snippets of employee roles, to describing cultural details of the organization, Zappos’ career page is anything but boring. They also send out a candidate newsletter, called Zappos Insider, where candidates can stay in touch with recruiters and teams, while remaining tuned for organizational updates.
  • Staying in touch, in thoughtful ways. A text with traffic updates on the day of the interview, a welcome video from the interview coordinator, sharing possible interview themes beforehand, and even personalized thank you emails post-interview – LinkedIn goes out of its way to stay connected with potential employees. They design an entire experience centered around making applicants feel valued and give them a glimpse of how the organization operates.

If you are thinking of redesigning your company’s candidate experience, the CEO of AirBnB offers a point to consider – “If you were the candidate, how would you like to feel at each point of the hiring process?” Does your CX change now, as you answer this?

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