The candidate experience has never been so important within the world of recruitment. According to reports from LinkedIn, 60% of people say they have had a poor candidate experience in the past, and a poor candidate experience can drastically reduce your ability to hire both now and in the future too. Companies are making changes to their application, interview and feedback processes in order to improve theirs, but how does this affect their tech graduate recruitment? Hiring graduates sometimes requires a different approach than other roles in your organisation, so here are 10 things you might want to consider changing in your candidate experience when it comes to hiring tech graduates:
10 things to consider for your graduate candidate experience:
Ditch those lengthy application forms
The days of candidates painstakingly filling out lengthy application forms for a job role are disappearing. The market has shifted dramatically, and companies are recognising that this overly complicated process at the first touchpoint does not get the candidate experience off to a great start. This is especially important for your graduate roles because they are likely to fall within the “Gen Z” demographic who have been cited as having a lower attention span than “Millennials”! This isn’t to say that “Gen Z Graduates” won’t invest as much time into an application, but if they are undecided as to whether your company is right for them then an unnecessarily long application form might result in incomplete applications! Instead opt for simple applications in order to capture that precious candidate information from interested graduates, and if you need to know more information why not save it for the next stage of the process!
Look at applications outside of traditional CV’s
Tech graduates may have never had a formal job before, and therefore writing a CV can seem totally alien to them! Not only this but the nature of IT and tech means that a CV is often only used as a verification tool, and in many cases, recruiters prefer to review Stack Overflow profiles, lines of code and portfolios in order to understand how well matched the candidate is to the role. This isn’t to say discount CV’s altogether, but consider allowing another way for graduates to register their interest for a vacancy without having a completed CV to ensure you don’t miss out on good people!
Be prepared for mobile applications
According to statistics from Career Builder, 70% of candidates are searching for opportunities on mobile, so if your graduate adverts / careers site isn’t optimised for mobile then your candidate experience could be in trouble. This statistic is likely to be even higher when considering the graduate demographic, as they are more likely to own a smartphone than be in an environment where they would search and apply through a desktop computer.
Social media engagement / Chatbots
To enhance the graduate experience you need to think about the best way that the candidate would want to be contacted at the beginning of their process. With graduates, it’s worth considering platforms like “Facebook Messenger” as well as careers website Chatbots too. If a candidate is interested in your advert, they might not want to actually call you up on the phone to discuss it straight away, whereas digital engagement can provide an easier approach for them to do this.
Video calls for first stage
If a candidate has recently graduated then they may not necessarily be in the same location as the job they are applying for. They may still be at University and applying for jobs in their hometown (or vice versa) or even looking at other Cities and locations to relocate to. This coupled with the fact that travel can be pretty costly means that insisting first stage interviews take place in your office can have a negative impact on the candidate experience. If you have a candidate who is struggling to get to your offices in person, consider allowing first stage interviews to take place as a Skype / Zoom interview instead. You’ll still get that “face to face feel” and it will make it much easier to get people booked in!
Don’t grill the candidate
Where as years ago interviews were designed to grill candidates about their skills and experience to determine if they were good enough for your role, the tables have turned and it’s now the candidate that is in the driving seat! Needlessly tough and grilling interview styles can land you in hot water by leaving candidates upset and also taking to social media to share their experiences of bad interviews! Of course you need to find out the key information to determine who is the right candidate for the role, but don’t be unnecessarily tough!
Sell your company to them
Just as we would suggest not grilling the candidate too hard in an interview, it’s important to remember that the candidate is also using the interview to work out if they like YOU as an employer too. Use this as an opportunity to highlight everything that you believe is good about your graduate role, and give them an insight into the culture and employee perks! You want to be able to show them what makes you unique so that if a candidate gets multiple offers on the table they are likely to choose you over the competition!
If you offer training and development, then shout about it
A tech graduate who joins your company is likely to be at the very start of their career. Yes they will hold a degree such as “BSc in Computer Science”, but in order to thrive and develop within the world of IT and tech in the future, employees will need to further their skills with additional learning, courses and accreditations. This will be on the mind of the tech graduates who apply to your roles, so if this is something that you DO offer you need to make it clear across your careers site / job adverts as well as your interviews too.
A great candidate experience moves quickly
Slow feedback can be a real turn off for candidates. Waiting around to hear about your application status, interview feedback and whether or not you are going to get a job offer can make you question how interested the company actually is! Make a conscious effort to get back to everyone within 24 hours, even if it is just to update the candidate to let them know a decision is on the way!
Hire in tribes
Staring a job can be pretty daunting for a graduate, but if you are hiring for multiple graduates at the same time then you have the opportunity to onboard people at the same time. This will help to build "mini tribes", allowing new graduate hires to easily make friends and bed into your company culture.