By Jim Wong, CPA | April 9, 2013

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployed persons per job opening ratio have trended downward since the end of the recession and were 3.3 percent in January.

Now that business are hiring again, it’s important for managers and recruiters to position themselves in a manner that appeals to quality candidates.

Today, candidates may work for less pay, but they want the positions that offer a good work environment and a company culture they believe in and enjoy. They are in a better position to be more selective in their job search so they need to impress them with the entire candidate experience.

What is a Good Candidate Experience?
“Good candidate experience is open, communicative, and honest about your company and experience,” says Amit De, in a Huffington Post article.

De shares his thoughts on the elements of a good candidate experience.

First Impressions
The old adage that one never has a second chance to make a first impression rings true. Often a company’s website is the first impression so if it’s ugly, outdated, or not user-friendly you could turn people off.

Acknowledge Candidates
Candidates want to be acknowledged which is why companies should have open communication with applicants. “Even if it’s to thank a candidate for applying and wish them better luck next time, the smallest gesture can make a huge difference in perception,” says De.

Open Communication
Let candidates know who they are meeting with and make sure they are prompt. Set expectations up front and let them know how much of their time you will take so they are comfortable enough to tell you if they have an obligation at work that could interfere. Offer feedback within 24 to 48 hours. If you expect it will take longer, let them know.

A bad candidate experience leaves a poor impression of your organization.

“If good candidate experience hinges on communication and being truthful, bad candidate experience happens when applicants feel like they’re sending their resumes out into a vacuum,” says De.

Candidate experience is your first and best chance to position your company to attract and retain top talent. People rely on insights and experiences of those they know before they make decisions, from their career to which restaurants are best, so it’s important not to underestimate the power of word-of-mouth and how quickly it can spread in today’s digital age.

This article originally appeared on Clear Focus Financial Search.

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