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Ask Haley: Creating a better experience for candidates

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Q: I really want my candidates to feel like they are a part of a special organization.  Any ideas on how I can create that sense of community among my candidates?

A: That’s a great question, and as you probably know, as an industry, we have a pretty bad reputation with our candidates. In fact, in a recent study by Inavero, candidates gave a Net Promoter score of negative 37!

So how can you create a better experience for your candidates–without spending a lot of money?

Here are a few ideas:

  1. Streamline your intake process. Applying for a job with a staffing company can be an exasperating experience requiring two or more hours. See if you can make it easier! Analyze all the steps in your application process and see what you can do to either eliminate steps, make them easier or make them shorter.
  2. Create a Facebook page for candidates only. Most of your candidates are on Facebook–every day. It only takes a few minutes to create a page where your candidates can find out about job openings and get career advice from you.  They can even use the page to share experiences and get advice from their peers.  Be sure to monitor your Facebook page for posts from “disgruntled” candidates. While no staffing firm can make everyone happy, showing others that you listen and treat people with respect–even unhappy people–is a great way to improve your reputation.
  3. Add career resources to your website. People come to you because they are looking for work. Use that to your advantage by turning your website into a destination for career assistance. Provide truly exceptional ideas and advice–this kind of free help is a great relationship builder, and it creates a very positive first impression. 
  4. Launch a candidate newsletter. A candidate newsletter is an inexpensive way to touch all of your candidates with the click of a mouse.  A monthly newsletter can feature interview tips, work/life balance articles, tips on career advancement, and job openings. You might even simply send links to the resources on your website!
  5. Add a candidate blog to your website. We are seeing more and more staffing firms adding blogs to their websites.  It’s another great tool for sharing job information and career advice with your candidates.  It’s also a great tool to improve your search engine rankings, which can dramatically lower your recruiting costs.

    Quick Note: Wondering where you can get all the content you’ll need for Facebook,
    a newsletter, and a blog?  Here are a few ideas:

    • Search Google for topics related to job hunting or career advice.  While you can’t steal content, you can link to other articles.
    • Interview your candidates.  They can be a great source for current information on the market and understanding the perspectives of today’s job seeker.
    • Interview employers.  Your candidates are always interested in learning more about what employers want and ways they can give themselves an edge. 
    • Call us!  Pardon the pitch, but content production is a big part of what we do here at Haley Marketing!
  6. Call candidates during their first day. If they are in a position that allows them to take calls, give them a ring after lunch. Find out how their first day is going and if they have any additional questions about the position.
  7. Conduct follow-up surveys. Create follow up surveys to send out to candidates after their assignment is over. Find out what they liked about the position, what they would change and how they view their experience with your firm. Surveymonkey.com is a great way to administer and track the responses.
  8. Don’t forget the basics–honesty and respect. In this job market, the unfortunate reality is that you can’t help everyone. If you ask candidates what their number one complaint is about our industry, the answer is not “they could not find me a job,” the answer is “no one called me back.”
  9. As obvious as it sounds, we need to do a better job communicating with our candidates. We need to be responsive to their calls and emails, we need to set clear expectations, and we need to be honest about what we can (and cannot) offer.

    When you come across candidates that you can’t place in an assignment, let them know why. Tell them the skills or experience they may be missing.  Don’t forget to direct them to resources where they can improve on those skills.

    And finally, remember people talk, and they love talking about their great and not so great moments. Make your candidates walking talking billboards for your company. Before you know it you’ll have the cream of the crop candidates knocking on your door. And when you have the best candidates, your clients won’t be able to resist hiring them!

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