Improving the Experience

This article accompanies Engaged from the Get-Go.

Friday, September 16, 2011
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The average amount of time a typical candidate invests in applying for a job is between 20 and 60 minutes, says Elaine Orler, president and co-founder of San Diego-based Talent Function Group.

And HR leaders, she adds, would be well-served to regularly spend at least that much time going over their own application processes to ensure that each candidate receives the best experience. Below are three things Orler advises all leaders to keep an eye on:

Update the automatic email messages. In most recruiting-technology systems, you have the flexibility to modify the standard message sent to candidates. Create a strong thank-you message to the candidate and incorporate information from their submission to make it personalized. Include branding, such as logos and company mission statements in the email to help your organization stand out over the other companies to which applicants might have applied.

Review and improve the instructions. Steps in the application process that should be intuitive are often not, and there is a need for better guidance in the text on what to do and how to do it. Simple instructions outlining why someone needs to "create an account" to apply helps candidates think about the next steps, and helps in building a stronger appreciation for the candidates and their time.

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Implement random candidate-satisfaction surveys. Select a random set of candidates every month and invite them to complete the survey. Candidates who are no longer being considered are as important a voice as those who might be accepting an offer. The survey results will help identify bottlenecks in the process, missed opportunities and overall impressions.

With the availability of social media and instant-broadcasting tools -- such as Twitter -- it is better to hear from your candidates directly than to read about a bad experience on the social boards.

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