The Candidate Experience: Making Referred Applicants Feel Special
Candidate experience is the new gold standard for the hiring process, as many experts have explored. And while it’s important for HR and recruiters to make every job candidate feel appreciated, candidates who are referred by existing employees should be given additional attention. Not only do referred candidates have a personal connection to your company (through their contact who made the referral), but the manner in which you engage with each candidate contributes to or detracts from the success of your referral program as a whole.
The advantages of referrals in talent acquisition are well documented, including a shorter and less expensive recruiting process, longer employee retention, and the highest applicant to hire conversion rate. Making the most of your employee referral program requires finding productive ways to engage with referred candidates. Highly qualified passive job seekers in particular need an incentive to consider leaving their current position to pursue a new opportunity.
[Related Insight: Looking for Exceptional Candidates? Engage Passive Job Seekers]
With this imperative in mind, here’s how to make referred candidates feel special:
Make It Easy to Apply
The first interaction a referred candidate has with your company sets the tone for the entire application, interview, and hiring process. That’s one major strength of the employee referral method – candidates are introduced to the company through a trusted source who makes the initial referral. The next step? Submitting an application.
Reducing barriers to entry is a key component for encouraging candidates to act on their referral. A lengthy, complicated application process will turn off many job seekers, especially if they’re already employed elsewhere. Make your application streamlined, easy to submit, and ideally mobile-device compatible. Remember: the simpler it is to follow through on a referral, the more actionable applications you will receive!
[Related Insight: Reaching Today’s Mobile-Minded Job Seekers]
Communicate in a Timely Manner
Once an application has been submitted, it’s paramount that referred candidates feel that they’ve taken an important step towards an exciting opportunity. Nothing squashes that feeling quite like wondering if their application is buried in a dark filing cabinet, out of sight and out of mind. A simple message thanking a referred candidate for their interest and acknowledging that their application has been received goes a long way. It’s even better if you can include a timeline that keys them into your process and sets reasonable expectations for future action.
A candidate experience study conducted by CareerArc in 2016 revealed that 85% of candidates who don’t hear back about the status of their application “doubt that a human being ever reviewed” it. This misconception is easy to correct and prevents your company from developing a reputation as a black hole for applications.
Acknowledge Every Candidate
An initial response to a referral submission is just the start of good communication. Qualified applicants should be kept in the loop throughout the entire hiring process. This doesn’t have to mean composing lengthy emails – a simple notification of a status change is enough to keep a referred candidate engaged and interested.
But what about the candidates whose applications don’t result in an interview or further action? Their contribution shouldn’t be ignored. As Jim D’Amico writes for ERE Media, “As long as you have a recruiting and hiring process that treats candidates with dignity, you have a world-class candidate experience. Respect their time, answer their questions, and most importantly exit them respectfully.” That means thanking every applicant for their interest, even when informing them that they are not being considered for employment.
Employees Should Feel Special, Too
Don’t forget the employees who consistently refer quality candidates! Their dedication to the referral program calls for something special, too. Consider these ways to reward referrals that go beyond cash bonuses. Not only should employees be rewarded for their contributions, they should be kept appraised of their referral’s status and progress. Including employee refer-ers in the hiring process deepens their commitment and increases the likelihood of future successful referrals.
Does this all sound like a new headache for HR and recruiters? Don’t worry – we’ve got great news!
JobShakers’ streamlined employee referral platform makes it easy to improve your candidate experience. With built in notifications, incentive options, and an intuitive, mobile application process, we’ve provided all of the tools you need to keep both employees and referred candidates engaged in the hiring process. We’ll do the heavy lifting while you enjoy access to a robust pipeline of referred candidates!
Are you ready to learn more about how JobShakers can impact your candidate experience and enable an employee referral program that gets results? Contact us today!