Businesses place a lot of value on customer experience. From the logo, to the UI/UX, the service, the products - everything is well-thought of, and every customer touch point is curated to perfection to maximize conversion. A single bad review on a social platform is all it takes for RCA meetings and confessionals.
What if we thought of our developers in the same way? as customers, and not just candidates. There’s proven data to show that top talent is ‘off the market’ within 10 days, meaning that your business has a very small window of opportunity to wow a candidate. This is why creating the perfect candidate experience is so integral to hiring the best members for your team, and it couldn’t be more true than in tech hiring where hiring the right talent can be crucial to a business’ survival in more ways than one.
Developers want better recruitment experiences
When it comes to developers, a recent survey conducted by us at HackerEarth, reveals that the developer community desires a comprehensive and constructive feedback policy, and a shorter hiring process that evaluates them on objective and subjective parameters. Multiple rounds in the interview process (16%) and misleading job descriptions (14%) are other things about the tech hiring process that professional developers dislike. Moreover, 40% of developers today prefer remote interviewing tools that are equipped with video and code editors. This signals the preference for integrated platforms over arduous series of steps.
Being cognizant of these facts can help tech recruiters’ pinpoint problem areas in their current hiring processes. Let’s not forget that the experience of prospective candidates going through the recruitment process contributes to the reputation of the organization and positive WoM (Word of Mouth) in the highly engaged developer ecosystem. A positive candidate experience translates to talent retention as it motivates a candidate to perform better post recruitment and creates positive advocacy.
With the emergence of platforms like Glassdoor, candidates can publicly review your company’s interview process (just ask Google). In this sense, your candidates are, just like your customers, ambassadors for your brand and their feedback can either help or hamper your hiring goals.
Hiring in the hybrid world - the dos and don’ts
It is well understood that the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital across business functions in every space. While there was initial resistance, digital and virtual platforms have become the most preferred choice of engagement all over, including hiring managers and candidates. The industry is changing fast and there’s more technology in recruitment than there ever has been.
Tools, however, can only do so much. The transition to a hybrid workplace will also require formulating the right set of processes and channels for seamless hiring.
Creating a successful remote hiring process in today’s world requires:
- Clarity on the role requirements: With many businesses hiring remotely, location is no more a constraint. In the absence of this, the focus needs to shift to hiring for the right set of skills. A recruiter must begin by understanding correctly what skills are non-negotiable for a role, and what skills are good-to-haves. Too often I have seen recruiters run behind the mystical ‘purple unicorn’ that has it all. Instead, create your ideal candidate persona and leave some room for breathing.
- Expectation setting with candidates: Once you have clarity on the above, you can then give candidates a clear idea of what the hiring process is going to look like and set clear expectations up front. This includes clear communication on the timelines and steps - especially when you’re hiring for tech roles which are notoriously long-drawn out.
- Proper communication and flexibility: As part of the talent acquisition team, we are always concerned with providing a transparent overview of the process to our internal stakeholders, but we care less about providing the same to our candidates. No wonder then that many candidates complain of recruiters ‘ghosting’ them. Hiring is not Halloween, so let’s keep the tricks away and treat our applicants to regular updates, please!
- Leveraging the EVP to source the best talent outside traditional locations: The ‘Employee Value Proposition’ document is also an important weapon to utilize in the war to win top talent. A customer shops for value, and a candidate, too, joins a company where they see the most value. This goes beyond compensation and can be exemplified through growth and learning opportunities (like an L&D program), the core values of the company, employee-centric programs, mental wellness and other benefits. If it’s in your EVP, don’t hesitate to talk about it and use it as part of your ‘WOW’ game plan.
So, what can you do to make the candidate experience better?
Revisit the entire hiring process, identify the gaps and address them - from inclusive and objective job descriptions, to interview panels that are relevant to the job at hand, a regular and constant feedback mechanism, to tools used during developer interviews.
Create a tech-enabled candidate experience strategy to efficiently engage with a larger talent pool. This will help weed out the latency and delay that comes with a manual-only process. Using the right technology is at the centre of elevating an organisation’s hiring practice and the experience of candidates.
To keep your selection process bias-free, objectivity is the key. This comes from using the right tools, but also from ensuring that hiring managers and recruiters are aware of the cognitive biases that can come up during a F2F interview. Since this is the last phase before hiring, it is important to provide an unbiased environment for the candidate to perform at their best, and showcase their talent without discrimination.
And I leave you with this...
In 2017, reports from Virgin Media said the company was losing $5 million annually because of bad candidate experience during interviews. While this may sound like an old statistic, providing a compelling candidate experience is no longer just an option; it is a business imperative with very real consequences.
From a candidate’s perspective, interviews are a scary, anxiety-inducing experience. It’s in your company’s best interest then to create a warm and welcoming environment so the candidates feel comfortable expressing who they are and what they’re capable of, and you up your chances of hiring the best fit for your company.