So your career site looks amazing, you have a steady applicant flow, you’re targeting the right talent, but you’re still not hiring at the rate you would like. What’s going wrong? It may be time to examine your entire candidate experience from start to finish — after all, the application stage is just the beginning.

In our recent webinar with Lisa Holden (Glassdoor) and Edward Dias (L’Oréal), we took an in-depth look at offering a consistently great candidate experience, across the board. In this write-up, we tackle the main points of Brand Impact, Attract & Engage, Application, Interview, Offer & Disposition and Onboarding, and the real-life examples of how L’Oréal USA provides a positive experience for every candidate, every step of the way.

Brand Impact

Your employer brand is your reputation — if you don’t define it someone else will. Your reputation, culture, mission, values, and people all constitute your brand, which plays a big part in inspiring and motivating candidates to apply to your company.

Top Tips

  • Prioritize your company culture: it drives people’s behavior, innovation and customer service, and 82% of leaders believe company culture gives them a competitive advantage (source: Deloitte 2015 Human Capital Trends)
  • Develop a mission statement that your employees stand by: potential investors and customers are always watching – authenticity matters.
  • Let your people showcase your brand: employees are three times more credible than the CEO when talking about working conditions (source: Edelman Trust Barometer, 2014)

L’Oréal USA In Action

Globally, L’Oréal USA receives 1.5 million applicants per year. However, only a third of these candidates apply in the USA due to being viewed as a non-US brand. Additionally, L’Oréal USA doesn’t have a direct brand team in the country, so their recruiting team must be more active, letting people know who they are and why they are a good place to work. An example of this is their “Life at L’Oréal” campaign, which focuses on the work-life balance and the interests of 16 current employees.

We filmed 16 people to showcase [our employee’s] duality…We then shared those videos across our social media channels, and within our communications. The result has been excellent.”

Why It Matters:

Research shows that company values and employee testimonials are more important to candidates than hard facts such as financial and services information (Source: TalentBoard 2015). Communicating these clearly through your career site or talent community is usually the first opportunity you have to make a lasting impression on candidates and demonstrate your employer brand.

Top Tips

  • Engage passive and active candidates through relevant channels: segment your activities and think outside the box
  • Leverage career sites and tailored landing pages for your recruitment activities: events, referrals, social media, specific programs and talent pools
  • Think of candidates as customers: nurture them with your brand and employee stories, and position your Employee Value Proposition to them over time

L’Oréal USA In Action

“[On our] career site, visitors can learn more about how it feels like to work for L’Oréal USA and get career advice in the ‘Who we are looking for’ section, as well as find more information about diversity, benefits and all the different job functions and locations.”

L’Oréal USA also creates specific landing pages for different audiences, allowing potential candidates to easily register their interest in the talent pool that’s best suited for them. To further increase engagement, L’Oréal USA is active in social media sites like Instagram and SoundCloud, to showcase original content demonstrating what it’s like to work at their company.

Application

Why It Matters:

A large number of candidates drop off at the application stage. If an organization wants to compete for today’s talent, it needs to demonstrate that it’s forward thinking and is at the cutting edge of technology — and that starts with the application process.

Top Tips

  • Make it simple: provide a number of options for candidates to start the application process, submit their CV and easily log in to add more information at a later time
  • Make it transparent: clearly state requirements and allow candidates to know how many steps are left in the process
  • Make it relevant: give candidates job-specific content and questions (as opposed to general screening questions), so they can showcase their skills

L’Oréal USA In Action

L’Oréal USA provides a customized experience according to the job a candidate is applying for. For example, at The Body Shop site, applicants choose either a retail job or a head office position. They then receive different types of screening and follow-up questions relevant to that sector, which allows them to give much more specific answers, further personalizing the application process.

Interview & Feedback

Why It Matters:

Candidate experience doesn’t stop with the first interview – how an organization handles the next steps is critical to cause a good impression on the candidate.

Top Tips

  • Maintain open and easy communication with candidates
  • Provide helpful information prior to the interview
  • Ask for feedback to improve and refine the interview process

L’Oréal USA In Action

Throughout the entire process, L’Oréal USA ensures that it’s easy for candidates to stay in touch with recruiters, by maintaining open lines of communication and sending information such as dates, helpful tips, location and even driving directions before interviews. As a measure to constantly better the interviewing process, L’Oréal USA gives the option for candidates to provide feedback about their application experience.

Offer & Disposition

Why It Matters:

While not traditionally thought of as fundamental for the candidate experience, offer management or disposition is one of the most important moments for an organization. You’ve spent considerable time and money on your candidates and every move you make (offer or no offer) can make a huge impact on your candidate’s decision and experience, and your brand as a whole.

Top Tips

  • Be timely and transparent
  • Build and maintain your relationships with candidates, regardless of outcome
  • Never say ‘no’; say ‘not now’

L’Oréal USA In Action

For candidates who don’t meet basic requirements, L’Oréal USA uses soft but transparent emails, thanking them for their time and explaining that their current skills and experience wasn’t at the necessary level. L’Oréal USA also takes detailed notes on all candidates they speak with, in order to build future pipelines with unsuccessful applicants. Candidates who go through the interview stage but are rejected, are dispositioned by L’Oréal’s recruiters over the phone, providing transparent insight and often helpful career guidance.

“At L’Oréal USA we never say ‘NO’, it’s always a ‘not now’. We have many brands to consider, so dispositioning doesn’t always have to be a sad ending. Sometimes a candidate may not be the right fit for a brand such as Maybelline, but the perfect fit for another such as Kiehl’s.”

Onboarding

Why It Matters:

The fact that nearly 33% of new hires actively look for a new job within their first 6 months at a company (Source: Impact Instruction Group) suggests that their onboarding experience doesn’t meet the expectations formed during their recruiting and hiring stages. The onboarding phase is your opportunity to take those initial positive impressions, and transform it into a longer term relationship.

Top Tips

When it comes to onboarding, the little things make a real difference:

  • A welcome email from the hiring manager, with information regarding what to wear, how to get to work, where to buy lunch, and so on
  • Prescheduled training and orientation meetings, to find out company values and goals
  • The opportunity to meet the team and learn people’s faces before their first day
  • An invitation to lunch with the new team

L’Oréal USA In Action

L’Oréal USA has two programs beyond the first-day orientation that help new hires feel supported in their transition into the company:

  •  Fit program: Allows new hires to meet colleagues who are instrumental in ensuring success in their role. This teaches them to navigate the organization and who to go to for specific needs.
  • Discovery weeks: Allows new hires to continue learning about the different teams and areas within L’Oréal. This encourages a deeper understanding of the corporate culture and also provides visibility across divisions that they might not have in their day-to-day activities.

To Sum Up

The candidate experience is made of many moving parts, and each one works in conjunction with the others. Brand Impact, Attract & Engage, Application, Interview & Feedback, Offer & Disposition and Onboarding – all six steps are important for a positive candidate experience. With the right tools, such as those Avature ATS provides, your recruitment team can actively manage, improve, and scale your candidate experience from start to finish.

“Since implementing Avature ATS globally, L’Oréal USA has been able to massively improve the communication rate with candidates during and following their application through smart automation and flexible processes — and that’s a huge achievement.”