How to Conduct a Candidate Experience Audit

March 21st, 2018
Ross Coyle
Candidate Experience

As the nature of applications and talent acquisition changes, companies will need to adjust their hiring processes to balance quality and speed, as well as being respectful of their candidates to maintain their employer brand. If an organization is unsure about how candidates experience their hiring process it might be time for a candidate experience audit.

A candidate experience audit is the method of examining an organization’s hiring process to identify any pain points that might cause candidates to drop out before completing it. An audit can be completed either with existing data such as attrition rates and time between steps, with a “mystery shopper” method where a recruiter goes through the process as a candidate, or both.

When developing your candidate experience audit, examine each interaction point in your hiring process; awareness and attraction, applications and screening, interviewing and finally making offers.

Awareness and Attraction

Start your audit by looking at where job seekers find your jobs. Where do they live online? Is most traffic to your career page coming from social media or traditional websites? Track these metrics with analytics tools provided by social media services, such as Google Analytics, Facebook Analytics, or Twitter Analytics. If your candidates are social media users but recruiters use job boards, it’s time to shake up the approach. 

Depending on the industry, word of mouth may be more efficient than anything else. Rewarding employees who refer top talent and improving your employer brand help drive word-of-mouth referrals. Referrals should be able to access the career site as easily as possible. 

Make sure that all postings lead back to your career page. That’s where you will begin to convert interest into applications.

The Career Page Sells Not Just a Job But a Lifestyle

If your career page is where candidates first get a glimpse of life at your company, what do they see? Is content organized and relevant to converting a prospect to an applicant?

The career page’s content should sell the employee experience and culture. Candidates want to know that they will be working on projects that matter in the world. They want to know that their colleagues and the company culture are aligned with their values. Make sure that the page has clear and easy access to the application process.

Fast Applications Retain Interest, Slow Applications Lose It

It’s useful to create dummy email accounts so you can try the recruiting system from a candidate’s perspective. The initial application should be streamlined and optimized for multiple devices and browsers. Examine it on smartphones, tablets and computers to see how it compares and performs. Clearly label each part of the application so that applicants know where they are and how many steps remain. Make sure they can save their progress and return later.

  1. How long does it take to complete an application? Go through the process yourself to identify barriers to completion.
  2. Consider what information you must have from applicants and what can wait until screening and interviewing.
  3. Ensure that applicants don’t have to submit information twice, such as having to rewrite and format a resume that they’ve already uploaded.

Screening and Interviewing Expediently

Screening and interviewing candidates is typically the lengthiest process for organizations. Assess how many steps are in a screening process, and look at how your organization can remove some to speed up the process.

  1. Phone screen: how long does it take to schedule (and reschedule)?
  2. Pre-hire assessment: look at the attrition rate and time to complete.
  3. Video Interview: are the questions relevant and do they surface important skills?
  4. Live Interview: how much time has elapsed from the phone screen to the interviews? How long does it it take to schedule the live interview? Are you losing candidates because they have accepted another offer before your hiring process is complete?

What percentage of candidates drop out during the assessment? If it includes 100+ multiple choice questions, you may be losing excellent candidates.

Hire and Disposition Candidates

Candidates who were interviewed and dispositioned should receive feedback. This is also an ideal time to survey candidates about their experience. Candidate surveys can be the most helpful part of an audit. It will reveal opportunities for improvement in your candidate experience.

Best Practices From CandE Winners

 When looking at the time to hire, consider how long it takes a hiring manager to make a decision.

Step  Quantifiables
Overall Application
  • How long does it take to finish? Do you feel like quitting at any point?
  • What is your overall perception of the experience on a scale of 1-5?
  • How long do they take?
  • How relevant do the questions feel on a scale of 1-5?
  • How long does it take to hear about next steps?
Phone Screen
  • How long until you hear back from a recruiter?
  • Are the phone screening questions relevant and do candidates get a chance to express their skills and qualifications?
Live Interview
  • How long does it take to schedule a live interview?
  • Are the live interview questions repeating anything from the phone screen?
  • Does the live interview focus on getting an understanding of the candidate’s fit in the role?
Dispositioning and Offers
  • How long does it take to make an offer from the time the candidate is hired?
  • How does the recruiter communicate with other candidates who are dispositioned?
  • Do candidates feel like they are communicating with a person or a machine?
  • Do you provide feedback to the candidates, and do they have opportunities to provide feedback?