Three Key Ways RPO Services Improve the Candidate Experience

In today’s highly competitive hiring market, the human touch is essential to executing a successful recruitment process.

A 2014 candidate experience study conducted by Workplace Trends highlighted the importance of a humanized approach to recruitment. Of 826 job seekers polled, nearly 60 percent reported a poor candidate experience; 72 percent of were likely to discuss their experience online or with colleagues and friends. Similarly, a CareerBuilder 2012 Survey reported that 42 percent of people who had a bad candidate experience said they would never reapply for a job at that company.

As these studies demonstrate, a poor candidate experience impacts both current hiring initiatives, especially in the age of sites like Glassdoor or Indeed, as well as future talent pools. In this case, one bad candidate experience can quickly go viral.

For difficult-to-fill roles, a negative candidate experience also affects the company’s ability to fill the position with the best talent—or at all.

Because of these challenges, companies turn to Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) services, not only for process automation and cost-containment, but also to help create a positive candidate experience, which pays dividends in building their employer brands.

What RPO service partners do best is bridge the gap between employers and candidates. Creating a terrific candidate experience is one of the cornerstones of high-performing RPO programs.

Here are three critical ways in which RPO services can create a strong candidate experience:

Humanized conversations

In a busy talent acquisition environment, timely communication can easily fall by the wayside. However, we’ve found that the most successful recruiters treat candidates like people, not just profiles or numbers. While email remains an important tool for providing documentation and support, it doesn’t replace one-on-one conversations with candidates. The same idea holds true for automated processes.

While an RPO partner works to build candidate pipelines, these conversations serve a dual purpose: (a) To sell the benefits of the job and company, and (b) To understand the candidate’s background and career goals to determine whether the two are suitably matched.

Creating a hiring process that makes sense

A lengthy hiring process can alienate the candidate and result in a loss of interest, in addition to driving up recruitment costs. What is the point of having 50 candidates fill out a detailed employment application, only to find that only five of them really want the job?

In the early stages of the recruitment process, the goal should be filtering candidates in, rather than out.

This is where an RPO partner can help design a process based on their experience and benchmarks in your industry. Such a process should include regular check-ins from the recruiter and specific timeframes for decision-making.

For example, if your company is recruiting entry-level sales representatives, the best practice is to extend offers within 24 to 48 hours. In this tight talent market, sitting on a decision for even as little as a week could cost you the candidate (because they’ll likely be interviewing at multiple companies) and affect the timeframe and cost of your recruiting efforts.

Consistent employer branding

A CareerArc study on employer branding reveals that a 75 percent of candidates consider the employer brand before applying for jobs, while 84 percent would be willing to leave their current jobs for a well-known brand. These figures reflect one of today’s major challenges: organizations are under pressure to ensure strong and consistent branding throughout the recruitment process.

Your brand promise must highlight why candidates would want to join your organization. In this case, an RPO company can consult with you on a recruitment marketing strategy that reaches target candidates, builds momentum through automated campaigns, and offers data-driven insights for continuous improvement.

The most effective campaigns not only span different media, but also engage candidates throughout every hiring stage by sharing relevant, timely content about the company.

Bottom line: your RPO partner must have the ability to successfully attract and recruit top talent through an efficient hiring process. Humanization improves the way you interact with your employees, candidates, customers, and business partners to create an exceptional experience. From the initial recruiter conversation through onboarding, high-quality talent expects a high-quality candidate experience.