Enter the words “candidate experience” in your search engine and you’ll see about 549,000 results including articles, infographics, and videos. There are so many available resources because this aspect of talent acquisition is critical and challenging. From recruiters to CHROs, hiring professionals wonder (and research) how to improve job seekers’ perceptions and reactions to their recruiting processes.

In recruiting, an organization tries to capture and maintain people’s attention, competing against everything else in their lives. In order to engage job seekers, companies must deliver a consumer-level experience. Because of this, many companies now utilize Candidate Relationship Management technology to create attractive websites and recruitment marketing campaigns. However, the candidate journey does not stop when a candidate decides to apply. In fact, the high-impact interactions are just beginning.

From application to onboarding, the Applicant Tracking System should focus on the experiences of candidates, providing memorable moments enabled by seamless communication and efficiency.

Recently, Avature CEO Dimitri Boylan dived into the concepts behind candidate experience for an article featured Raconteur’s special edition of “Future of HR” within The Times of London. The following are some of his insights on talent acquisition in today’s workplace for tomorrow’s needs.

Risk of missing out on ‘transformational talent’

We work in an age of unbound disruption, where every company is stepping into other companies’ area of expertise. As such, companies actively compete for people with specific, forward-reaching skills and competencies. Dimitri refers to these individuals as “transformational talent.”

When a company recruits transformational talent, candidates shouldn’t see what the organization is — they should see what it can become. According to Dimitri, “once you get them on the line and reel them in, then you have to be really skillful.”

The stakes are high and — across all fronts — the competition is high. Transformational talent is not easy to attract, and once these people are interested, you do not want to lose them because of an inconsistent recruiting process.

In recruiting, the period between application and onboarding is increasingly critical for two primary reasons.

  • Candidate expectations: As candidates advance toward a new job, they become more excited, involved, and discerning. Although companies invest considerable funds and energy into attracting these candidates, many subsequently fail to provide a consistent post-application process.
  • Company resources: More time with a candidate means more money spent on that person. In the case of transformational talent, a candidate’s rejection can also command a price into the future. “The consequence for failing is not only the lost costs invested in the process but potentially the inability to meet the needs of the organization,” Dimitri says.

In order to earn the best people possible at all levels, recruiting organizations need a refreshed focus on the experiences of candidates.

Managing the candidate journey

Post-application, candidates often meet with a variety of individuals — from recruiters to direct managers, colleagues, and members of the C-suite.

During each interaction, these candidates are gathering information about the organization. Communication should be helpful, dynamic, and, above all, consistent. But maybe the manager is having a bad day. Or the recruiter is about to quit. Or a chief officer is distracted by financial concerns. If even one of these people overlooks the candidate, the experience is compromised.

It’s up to HR to manage the process and ensure that candidates receive accurate, integral information. “The recruiting organization has to be able to help candidates interpret what they learn from the organization and from whom they learn it,” Dimitri says.

The candidate journey is a complex process that technology can help orchestrate. However, these tools must be driven with a clear strategy. Dimitri says, “All software looks the same if you don’t know what you want your software to do.”

By hiring skillful talent, companies can reach new heights. However, this depends on successfully managing the recruiting process from source to hire. If a company orients its vision towards the experiences of candidates, it can increase its baseline of quality people as well as its access to transformational talent.