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Three ways to build a better recruitment experience

16 September, 2019

In a crowded early careers market, a great recruitment experience can give you the edge. Our research shows that a quarter of our members submit up to 15 applications for graduate programmes or internships. To get the best talent you’ll need to stand out from the crowd.

The personal touch

Our research – What do graduates want? – found that 80% of Bright Network members think it’s important to meet a company’s representatives before applying for a role with them.

Gen Z are digital natives – important to bear in mind when designing the recruitment process. A great online experience is a hygiene factor for this group. But that doesn’t mean the whole process should be digitalised. Recruitment is about building a relationship and still requires human interaction – preferably face to face. Over 4,000 Bright Network members come to our events each year for that reason.

And when we asked what’s most likely to put you off applying to a company, the most common answer was ‘a poor or unimpressive experience when meeting representatives.’ Make sure you maximise the chance to connect by briefing reps well and choosing the right people. Our members say they would rather meet a recent graduate than senior leaders – it’s important hear the experience of someone with whom they can identify.

Keep up the engagement

The application process is still part of your marketing and attraction campaign. You haven’t finished winning over candidates until their first day in the job. As our friends at Meet & Engage say, “between offer and day one, our audience is still in purchasing mode. They’re still accessing information, they’re still evaluating.”

This explains why 89% of our members would reject an offer they’d already accepted in favour of a different opportunity. The majority say they’d renege if another role appeared to be more exciting.  But 10% would do so because they had a better experience during the application process itself.

Meet & Engage describe Gen Z candidates as “sophisticated consumers” who are used to filtering and comparing information quickly before making a purchase or decision. They’re also used to the slick, personalised experience available with many online transactions. The consumer experience itself is an important factor in any transaction but even more so with recruitment because it gives us a good idea of what the company will be like to work for. If the experience is supportive, friendly, inclusive and well-organised that’s a good sign. Would any of us want to risk working for an organisation that didn’t treat us with care and respect during the recruitment process?

Provide support

A huge 86% of research respondents told us they’ve given up on a job application before submitting it, and 25% say they give up on around a quarter they begin. The most common reason for giving up: ‘the application process is unclear, too long or too hard’. Almost a fifth named a ‘long and complicated application process’ as the thing most likely to put them off applying to a company.

Although the process should be a challenge – you are aiming to find the leading candidates in the field – it’s important to provide support and information along the way. Bear in mind that some graduates have no experience of a video interview or an assessment centre, for instance. Our talent team provides tailored calls to provide advice and practical help for Bright Network members – practice interviews and CV-writing tips, for instance.

When we dig deeper into why candidates give up on applications, we see that a significant proportion lose confidence in their ability to get the role. Women and BME candidates are more likely than the average to give up due to a lack in confidence.  If you’re concerned about inclusion, use data to be aware of which candidates drop out at which stages of the process. And provide support and encouragement.  A confidence-boosting message to all candidates will serve to boost the performance of those who feel less confident because of their background or gender.

Once you’ve secured applications from the best talent, there’s still work to do before those candidates become engaged employees. The recruitment experience is a chance to give potential hires a favourable first impression of your organisation and how it works – don’t waste it.