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Recruitment expert Benjamin Keppers’ 5 steps to elevating candidate experience through a human touch

“I’ve witnessed firsthand the profound impact of empathy in building connections with candidates. By personalizing communication, actively listening, and putting ourselves in their shoes, we can create a lasting impression that goes beyond the job and the organization itself.”

Benjamin Keppers
Corporate Recruiter at SAS Retail Services
Benjamin Keppers

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As a corporate recruiter, I’ve come to realize that behind every application lies a living, breathing human being with their own feelings and personalities.  

The success of an organization relies heavily on attracting and retaining qualified and quality candidates. While recruiters focus on finding the right fit for the company, it is equally critical to recognize the importance of providing a positive candidate experience.

Sure, we’ve got ways to automate communication to keep things in check, but I can guarantee that the human touch can still help you stand out from the crowd! Let me explain how you can make that possible through five simple ways. 

Step 1: Building connections by practicing empathy

The rapid advancement of technology has revolutionized the way we conduct interviews.

We have the convenience of interviewing candidates anytime, anywhere, through various platforms. But with increased responsibilities, layoffs, and understaffed talent acquisition teams, it’s easy for the human touch to get lost in the recruitment process.

To counteract this, recruiters must wholeheartedly embrace empathy. It is through empathy that we can build genuine and meaningful connections with candidates. 

Every interaction, from the initial contact to the final decision, should reflect a sincere understanding and consideration of who the candidate is and what they truly need. 

By personalizing our candidate communication, actively listening, and putting ourselves in their shoes, we create a lasting impression and instill a sense of value that goes beyond the job and the organization itself.

Step 2: Be transparent & honest to build trust

Nothing erodes trust faster than a lack of transparency. 

Candidates want to feel that they are being given the complete picture and that their time and efforts are respected. 

Both parties can align their goals and build trust by providing clear and accurate job descriptions, maintaining real-time communication about the recruitment process, and establishing realistic expectations from the beginning. 

Regular updates and constructive feedback are also essential in maintaining transparency and keeping candidates engaged. Always remember that open communication nurtures trust, strengthening relationships with your candidates. 

Step 3: Simplify & streamline the application process

As recruiters, we must recognize that the application process acts as the gateway between candidates and opportunities.

A lengthy and complex application process will discourage even the most talented candidates from wanting to apply to your organization. Firstly, emphasize the importance of relevant qualifications and get rid of anything that’s unnecessary and antiquated.

By streamlining the process and eliminating unnecessary steps such as cover letters, lengthy candidate assessments, and redundant information requests, we can create a more user-friendly experience.

And in the age of tech, don’t forget to ensure a mobile-friendly application process for devices!

With a simplified application process, you’ll reduce friction, save time and money, and attract a wider pool of qualified candidates. 

Step 4: Respect your candidate’s time!

We’ve all heard the phrase, “Time is money,” and the same applies to recruiting.

Demonstrating respect for candidates’ time showcases our organization’s commitment to their experience. Promptly responding to inquiries, providing regular updates on their status in the hiring process, and setting realistic timelines for decision-making are essential.

I suggest accommodating candidates’ interview scheduling constraints to emphasize their value further. By respecting candidates’ time, we show our appreciation for their commitment and greatly enhance their overall experience.

Step 5: Go beyond the surface through personalization

Every candidate is unique, and a one-size-fits-all approach rarely leads to success.

If you want to differentiate yourself from the competition, personalizing each candidate’s experience is vital. 

Point out their competencies, skills, education, and experiences while tailoring the communication to their personalities. Even if they aren’t a perfect fit for the role they applied for, try exploring alternative opportunities for them within your organization. 

By going the extra mile to suggest suitable roles or connecting them with colleagues seeking candidates, you demonstrate your commitment to their success. 

Make sure you send that personalized follow-up email, expressing gratitude for their time. These personal touches set you apart and emphasize that every candidate is seen as an individual, not just another statistic for KPIs

You’ll see that investing in personalization pays itself back in dividends through positive referrals and meaningful relationships, leaving the door open for future opportunities. 

As recruiters and hiring managers, it is our responsibility to recognize the importance of candidate experience in talent acquisition. By embracing empathy, transparency, speedy processes, and personalization, we can all contribute to a better future where candidates are more than just numbers. 

How do you like to enhance your candidate experience? Leave a comment below!

Author

Benjamin Keppers

Benjamin Keppers is a Talent Acquisition Specialist with a unique journey from program management to recruiting. With a solid foundation previously as a Program Manager for CSTL Services and success as a Senior Recruiting Manager at Pro Staff, Benjamin is now a Corporate Recruiter at SAS Retail Services.

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