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27 August 2013

5 Steps to Improving Your Online Applicant Experience

Posted by JeffW

This post is by Jeff Waldman, founder of Stratify, a social HR solutions company, and SocialHRCamp, an experiential learning HR unconference that has run events in Canada, the United States, Singapore and Philippines.

In “What Your Online Application Process Says About Your Company,” I argued that the value, influence and impact of brand on buying behavior is increasing with each passing day. This applies to recruiting as well, and the applicant experience needs to be flawless.

This post will focus on how you can improve your existing applicant experience so you can hire the best talent in the market.

Step 1: Define Your Employer Brand

What is the employee value proposition (EVP) that your organization offers to talent prospects and current employees? A well-defined employer brand drives everything you do -- if you can’t articulate this then fix this before you do anything else. Check out global employer brand guru Brett Minchington of Employer Brand International to learn about how you can identify and definine your employee value proposition. Don’t cheap out on this part of the equation. Do the work that is required to get this part right, you’ll be thankful later.

Step 2: Assess Your Current Hiring Process

After you establish your employer brand and employee value proposition, you need to evaluate your full hiring process. Open up a blank spreadsheet and create a table that clearly evaluates each component of your hiring process against your EVP, employer brand values and key drivers of a positive applicant experience. Where do you excel? Where do you fall short? What needs to be changed?

Step 3: Putting Pen to Paper

Now fix the pieces within your hiring process that need to be fixed. Your overall vision is simple—when you are finished fixing whatever that needs to be fixed your hiring process will provide a much better experience for applicants.

This step is often both fun and nerve-wracking. Be as creative as your employer brand will allow you to be, and take this opportunity to make an impact for your organization. Be warned that there is a lot at stake here.

Step 4: Source the Tools—ATS, Talent Generation, Social Media, Etc.

Identify and implement the tools you need to make the changes in Step 3. It is critical that you have an effective applicant tracking system so that you can properly manage applicant data. More expensive isn't always better. The keys are functionality, quality of customer support, ability to integrate with social media and third party tools and how the platform supports your unique employer brand.

An ATS on its own is not enough. You still need to find talent to apply to your jobs and simply posting jobs using the ATS to your career site and other job boards is just the starting point. Do you source directly using Google Search or on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Google Plus? How about talent generation platforms like Talemetry? Do you engage on social channels to build employer brand awareness?

Go talk to your marketing and sales peers and ask them to teach you the art of relationship building—to build community, prospects and brand. Recruiters need to be constantly building relationships with talent prospects, both inside and outside the organization—talent community creation is essential, and can be a source of significant competitive advantage. What tools will you use to do this?

Step 5: Launch and Test Often

When launching your process and supporting tools, make sure your internal users have a full working understanding of them—you can never educate and train enough. Communicate relentlessly and stick to your process. People naturally hate change regardless of how good the change may be. Get buy-in from senior management and “be there” for users through adoption. Know that change takes time, patience and commitment.

Nothing is ever perfect and you will likely need to tweak on an ongoing basis. This is okay—just don’t let change-aversive behaviors within your organization be the reason you are making tweaks.

Talemetry delivers all the tools recruiters need to find, attract, and engage the talent they need today – and tomorrow – in a single, simple and social cloud-based solution. As the leading provider of talent generation solutions, the Talemetry software-as-a-service (SaaS) suite includes talent sourcing & CRM, job broadcasting, career sites and candidate application solutions. Schedule a demo today to learn how Talemetry can help you find better talent faster.

Topics: Talent Networks & Sourcing

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