Written by Alina Howe-Jones, Director of Market Engagement, Experian

The candidate experience starts with their first point of contact with your company. But why does a candidate’s experience matter so much?

In a rapidly evolving landscape, if your onboarding process isn’t keeping up you risk losing candidates, so it’s essential that businesses are willing to invest in the necessary resources and take the time to understand what applicants are actually looking for. By offering a great candidate experience this can enhance your hiring outcomes in a number of ways. In my opinion, there are five must haves for businesses and their hiring and onboarding process.

  1. Digitisation

In the current climate, digital, online processes are necessary and expected by candidates in order to achieve a smooth and robust experience. With recent Experian research showing that 70% of candidates expect pre-screening checks to be completed in less than two weeks – it’s essential that businesses are able to meet the candidate’s expectations.

As the pandemic accelerated the trend for remote working, remote recruitment became a necessity and is now the norm in organisations. It offers flexibility to recruiters and candidates alike but presents challenges when moments in the verification process rely on manual intervention and both parties are in different locations.

Without simple, modern, and robust processes and technology to carry out the required checks, you’re at risk of losing candidates and not meeting regulatory requirements.

  1. Integration

Technology integration can be hard, so your supplier should do the hard work for you to deliver a seamless end-to-end process. For the candidate, it means not having to juggle multiple apps and work different systems. For you it reduces the risk of dropouts from the journey, and you don’t have to manage multiple suppliers with multiple points of failure.

The other element of integration is your company culture and brand. The candidate should experience your culture from the very start, so if your journey doesn’t reflect your brand, it impacts how the candidate will feel through the process. A key perception point is around security – you don’t want your candidate feeling concerned that they are putting sensitive data into a separate system from a provider they’ve never heard of.

  1. Reliability

The reliability of your technology and process is key to a smooth rapid journey. Candidate verification is a vital part of the onboarding journey and any break in that process will create delays and impact the overall candidate experience.

Reliability also extends to the success of the checking process. A system that uses multiple data sources means that it’s more likely to be right first time and will therefore maximise your pass rate.

It’s also important to consider what happens when something isn’t working. Do you have the backing of the service and support from your suppliers in place that resolves an issue quickly and without taking up more time?

  1. Time and cost effectiveness

When a process is grounded in legislation and protecting your business, you can’t afford to take shortcuts. The integrity of the checks is vital to support compliance backed by the security of the data and information, but it also must be effective in terms of cost, and more importantly, your time.

It might be tempting to take a more cost-effective route, but with 57% of candidates willing to withdraw from a job offer if checks take too long, what is the cost of your time when candidates drop out of that journey because they don’t understand what they need to do, or when checks fail? And what cost to your business and reputation if the checks aren’t robust enough?

  1. Availability to everyone

Any interruption to the candidate journey means manual intervention from your team and delays which not only impact the candidate experience but also means it takes longer for onboarding. The answer is not always digital. You don’t want to miss out on those candidates who aren’t able to, or don’t want to access the technology, or give them a poorer experience.

Your candidate verification journey needs to include other paths which allow a candidate to interact with the service in different ways that suit them, including a manual check of the candidate’s documents. Every variation should be designed to deal with candidates fairly and keep them informed throughout the process.

In conclusion…

Each step in the recruitment process offers ways to improve your candidate experience if done right – the pre-employment screening process is no exception to that.

The candidate verification process can help keep candidates engaged and give them a better recruitment journey with your organisation. Any organisation with a reputation for a suitable candidate experience will easily attract new candidates and make the recruitment process more efficient.