What Does Your Pre-Application Stage Say About Your Candidate Experience?

What Does Your Pre-Application Stage Say About Your Candidate Experience?

Many companies use tricks and tools to create a good candidate experience once a person has applied. And for good reason- a major frustration for candidates is the bottlenecking and radio silence they can get once they submit a resume.

Have you considered what your pre-application stage says to candidates about your hiring process? A wordy, confusing job description or a big list of hoops to jump through might be alienating qualified talent because they are worried that your hiring process will be too complicated to effectively handle. Take a look at how you engage talent before they apply, you might need to make some efficiency changes to make sure that your pre-application stage says the following:

1. We Reward Go-Getters

Do candidates have a way to reach your hiring team without having to submit a faceless application? Referred applicants take the shortest amount of time to hire and onboard. Make sure that your pre-application stage gives a job-seeker the option of being either passive or active. It can be as easy as adding contact info or the LinkedIn page of the hiring team’s point of contact to a job description. Pay special attention to active job seekers who take the extra step to make a personal connection. You’ll probably want to focus on them.

That’s not to say that you should spend less time on people who go through the regular application process. They can be just as great! But, depending on the role, you might be looking for someone who will take extra steps to succeed, and this is a good way to test a candidate’s initiative.

2. We Want to Help You Succeed With Us

If don’t want to put the contact info for a specific member of your team on a public job board, then consider creating a hiringquestions@yourdomain.com email in order to quickly address any questions a candidate may have about the role, its qualifications, or your company as a whole. If anything about your job description is vague or confusing, an applicant may just move on instead of clearing up their questions or going through the application process just to be rejected.

If you’re advertising on your own career page or site, use a tool like Intercom to show that your team is available to answer questions about the job or the process ASAP.

3. We Don’t Want to Waste Your Time

Worrying about candidate experience for unqualified applicants is a waste of your team’s time. Just like letting applicants (qualified or not) wait too long for a response wastes their time. Include in your job description a reasonable expectation for how long it will take for you to follow up on an application, and then follow through!

Bonus points if you set up an autoresponder with custom fields that thanks them for applying and tells them to call your point of contact on <3 days from now> if they haven’t heard from you.

4. We Reward Your Hard Work

Make work samples an optional part of the submitted application (if applicable). You’ll be able to tell which candidates are serious by who takes the time to dig up their portfolio. You’ll also be able to get a good idea of a candidate’s style before moving on to the next stage in the hiring process, which can help you filter out bad-fits and move the process along faster.

5. We Are in It For the Long Haul

You want to offer a career, not just a job. In your job description, be sure to add a blurb about your company, where it’s headed, and how the right person for this role will help you get there. You want to get them excited about the role and aren’t just applying to make a lateral move until they find something better.

This can be hard to look for in the pre-application stage. But being upfront about your company’s trajectory is the best way to encourage applicants to take a moment to think about their own goals and make sure they align before they apply (or worse, take the job!).

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