There’s no shortage of advice on the importance of creating positive candidate experience. But for staffing and recruiting operations leaders who have to look at every part of the business and decide where to focus effort, it’s useful to think about how candidate experience can directly affect your bottom line. How it can actually drive up (or down) critical recruiting and staffing agency metrics like revenue per recruiter.
“But the hiring authority has more impact on candidate experience than we do…”
For direct-placement firms, that might seem like the case. But remember the Stephen Covey quote:
“Frustration is a function of our expectations.”
Think of a search, or a req for a huge number of contractors. Your recruiting team has already put in massive work to build your talent pipeline. To spot those perfect matches. To build excitement in candidate and client alike. Onward to interview loops.
You’ve set the table. And now it’s out of your hands. Or is it?
Needless to say, you already take great care of your clients. Anticipating and preemptively buffering them from the (sometimes hilarious, sometimes ludicrous) hiccups that naturally come out of interviewing and hiring humans at all levels.
But that spirit of proactive service cannot stop with your customer or the hiring authority. Not if you want the business to truly thrive.
To outpace the competition, it’s absolutely critical (and long-term lucrative) to give your best service to the candidate side as well, no matter what.
As an example, positive candidate experience can happen even if the person doesn’t get hired. Because regardless of the outcome, your recruiters were (ideally) positive, proactive, and patient throughout the entire process. They left the candidate saying: “I would absolutely work with that recruiter again.”
A great experience will leave a lasting impression on the candidate. But, just as importantly, so will a negative one. And they both have huge potential to impact your bottom line now, and in the future.
Ghosting: a hidden cost?
Consider this: in 2021 76% of employers reported that they had been ghosted. Think your customers would stick around if it were suddenly your candidates driving that statistic for their business?
You already know the ins and outs of crafting positive candidate experience. You know that keeping them informed and managing their expectations are wildly important. Put simply, a good line of communication keeps them engaged and reduces their chances of ghosting you. Or worse, your hiring authority.
If you directly control the hiring process, i.e. you’re in staffing or internal talent acquisition, keeping it only as long as it needs to be is a huge opportunity. You don’t want to and often don’t need to string candidates along for a long or complicated process.
Job hunting is a lot like dating – and if the communication is lacking or you date too long without a proposal, you’d probably get ghosted there, too.
If the candidate has to go through 10 interviews, complete a project, and the process takes over 4 months, there may will come a time when the candidate just stops responding. This could will happen because the process is taking too long. Or they’ve decided the job isn’t worth all the hoops they’re having to jump through. Or other opportunities may come along that require less work from the candidate to get hired. Or every single one of these things.
Time and talent wasted is money wasted.
Ghosting in Staffing
Likewise, in staffing businesses, if your contractor has already come off assignment or they’re getting anywhere close: that’s a candidate. And if there neither was nor is a visible effort being made to redeploy them, they’re gone.
If it wasn’t proactive, OR it wasn’t proactively communicated, they simply aren’t going to stick around and wait for you to bring them another job. That doesn’t necessarily mean ghosting if you’ve had a decent relationship with them to date, but it certainly isn’t helping your chances.
If you stop communicating or haven’t created a relationship and an environment where the employee feels truly cared for and appreciated, there’s a good chance they’ll ghost you
Maybe they go to work for a competing staffing firm. Maybe a permanent role. It doesn’t really matter.
What matters is that you lost a good employee, you spent good money to recruit and deploy them, and you’re about to do it all over again. When you didn’t have to.
Time and talent wasted is money wasted.
Remember, in staffing and recruiting, you aren’t just competing with other firms over your talent. When they don’t feel appreciated or secure in the next assignment: you’re competing with the candidates themselves who may be able and compelled to seek a better opportunity without you.
Clear, consistent, caring communication. And not just when it’s time to redeploy. Keep the conversation open with regular check-ins, keep the candidate or contractor in the know, and your chances of hanging onto talent increase dramatically.
A happy, healthy pipeline can decrease your time to hire
In the event of a no-hire result for your candidate, they stay in your pipeline for other open opportunities. You want this person to have an amazing experience with you, because keeping them as an active candidate makes it easier for you to make a placement.
You already know this candidate. You know what they are looking for. And you know their strengths. This makes it an easy sell for other openings, cutting down on the initial screening process and decreasing your time to hire.
Time and talent saved is money saved.
And to state the obvious, if the candidate or employee had an unpleasant experience with you, they will be much less likely to work with you again. Even if the job sounds amazing.
The good news here is that you can bring tech alongside your process to help you keep a healthy pipeline and provide the best candidate experience. By using an ATS (applicant tracking system) and Candidate Relationship Manager (CRM), you can stay in front of these candidates
The ATS is there to track your candidate throughout your workflows. The CRM is there to remind you to send messages on birthdays, follow up after a designated amount of time, and many other features to help you build the relationship further.
Making them feel like they are top of mind – and not just a number – will make them feel valued. And, in turn, more likely to engage. And, an engaged candidate is one that is willing to move fast, ultimately decreasing time to hire. Keeping you closer to the money.
Candidate Referrals – Happy candidates beget more happy candidates
It is true in every industry and is especially true with the rise of social media – word of mouth and referrals are becoming an increasingly common and effective way to grow business. Referrals from trusted sources have always been a “thing”. But the continued growth of social media, as well as purpose-built tools like Staffing Referrals have further accelerated the trend in talent businesses.
Candidates who have a positive overall experience with your recruiting and account teams are imminently more likely to refer their friends and colleagues to you, and vice versa. And you can bet good talent knows plenty of other good talent.
Pro-tip: Soliciting Candidate Referrals is not an Optional Process Step
Upon successful placement, it would behoove you to have every last recruiter in your firm proactively asking for the referral of other strong people.
This is a simple but frequently overlooked way to keep you closer to the money. You trust this person, and chances are the talent they refer you to would be of similar character and competency level. (Remember, good talent knows good talent.)
Even if you don’t have an opening for the prospective candidate at this time, you have added another person to your pipeline. You’re ready for whatever comes down the pipe.
In staffing, good talent will often come back to the same recruiters versus finding a new one. Providing that enjoyable experience not only keeps your talent coming back. It also increases the chances that they will send people they know to you, as well.
Ultimately, all of this boils down to your bottom line. Your business relies on more than just your clients. Your candidates play a key role in your success, too. In case we haven’t said it enough, time and talent saved is money saved.
Create a positive experience by keeping them engaged. Keep communication lines active and open. This will lead you to their referrals and give you more candidates to fill your pipeline. At the end of the day, you want to stay closer to the money.And creating a positive candidate experience is an important piece to that puzzle.
In recruiting and staffing, you spend time getting to know the needs of your client intimately. You know what they are looking for from prospective employees. You may even (ideally) have a niche for yourself in the staffing and recruiting industry – IT staffing, executive search for C-suite executives in bio pharma, CNC machinist staffing, etc.
Do you have a clear idea of what your ideal candidate profile looks like? Understanding the traits you want in your talent will ultimately help you attract the right people for your jobs. It will also allow you to ensure you know them well enough that you can create a positive experience as they work through the hiring process. To read more about how to do just that, read this blog post.