Candidate experience matters. Customer experience matters. Recruiter experience matters. Your brand — and brand experience — matters.
With so many companies vying for the same talent, the same attention, the same dollars, brands need to rely on customer experience to stand out. Experience means a lot, so let’s unpack a few things into some basic elements.
A brand is, of course, the name, tagline, logo, website, communications, and social media of a company. It’s more than that, too. It’s what people think of your organization, what they say about it when you’re not in the room, the way people recommend — or don’t — your company to others. Your brand is brought to life through you, your fellow coworkers, and the interactions you have with your clients. It’s your reputation, and the feeling (experience) your customers feel when they react to it.
It takes years to build a brand. It can take moments to destroy it.
Customer experience is the impression you give your customer through regular interaction; resulting in how they think of your brand across every stage of your relationship with them.
This doesn’t take years to build; you can improve your customer experience in small increments all the time. But, like branding, it can be destroyed in moments. And customers are not likely to come back once they’ve had a poor experience with you or your team.
Why does customer experience matter in healthcare staffing? Choice and access.
Healthcare staffing has transformed into an open community. Professionals have the ability to wait for opportunities they truly want, among other luxuries like:
- Being choosey about with whom they work
- Holding out for their ideal contract
- Holding out for their ideal location
- Negotiating for higher pay
- Searching for recruiters who’s values reflect their own
How should employers adjust? What should they offer? How can they stand out?
- Slow onboarding process? You’re out.
- Delayed response times? See ya.
- Poor access to ideal jobs? No thank you.
- Unable to offer competitive pay? Nope.
- Lack of pay transparency? Pass.
- Weak communications? Bye.
- Inaccurate job descriptions? No way.
The experience you offer your talent, and the ease at which you can onboard them, is a foundational pillar of your overall reputation and company image.
According to CareerBuilder*:
- As many as 4 out of 5 candidates ( 78 percent ) say the overall candidate experience they receive is an indicator of how a company values its people.
- 75 percent of candidates say their onboarding experience with a company is the first part of their broader employee experience with that company.
- Only 49% of job seekers say employers treat candidates with the same level of respect and accountability as current employees.
Read #3 again. Unacceptable! How are employers going to attract top talent when only half of them think they’ll be treated as true employees before they’re even in the door?!
LinkedIn says that 83% of talent say a negative interview experience can destroy their perception about a role or company they previously admired, and 87% of talent say a positive experience can reverse their doubts about a role or company.
The experience you offer your talent matters. A lot. Here are some steps to make their impression a good one:
1. Write clear and accurate contract descriptions.
Save your talent, yourself, and fellow recruiters time by offering as much detail as possible in job descriptions. This helps funnel the applications to those most qualified and/or most serious about the contract. Clarity doesn’t mean a novel — offer the necessary information in a compact, easily digestible way.
Consider including — but keep this content minimal:
- information about your company
- your company culture + what you offer
- information about your application
- general onboarding process information
And always, always, for the love of all things sacred: take the job post offline when it’s been filled.
2. Your onboarding process should be stellar.
You’re going to lose valuable talent if they suffer during your onboarding process. It’s that simple. Give your most valuable asset tools that:
- are easy to use and understand
- work on any device (especially mobile),
- provide secure data transfers,
- foster easy + instant recruiter communication
Shameless self plug: you can get that right here.
3. You’re never too busy to communicate.
Don’t leave your candidates wondering where they are in the submittal process. They shouldn’t wonder whether or not the job is still available. They’re not supposed to refresh their inboxes hoping a message from you appears.
Communicating well — and often — improves your candidate experience. Even if you’re simply telling them you have nothing new to report, you’re letting them know that:
- you’re thinking of them
- they matter to you
- you’re trying to secure them a contract
The more they know you’re working for them, the less likely they are to reach out to new recruiters. Additionally, more communicating builds stronger relationships, lessening your talent turnover.
Just so you know: Kamana’s CRM offers automated email alerts so your talent knows when credentials are expiring, which means you can spend more time building relationships, not chasing down BLS renewals.
4. Be flexible and accommodating.
Healthcare professionals on active contracts may have a tough time finding time to talk. Improve your candidate experience by asking them what times are most convenient for them, and adjusting your schedule to accommodate their needs. While it may not be ideal to schedule and after-hours conversation, doing so will give a solid first impression to your candidate, and lay the groundwork for a good long-term relationship.
Nothing is worse for candidate experience than having your potential employer make you feel second-rate by rescheduling, or missing a first call. This tells your talent:
- they don’t matter,
- you’re unorganized,
- you found someone more important, or
- you simply didn’t care enough to check the schedule.
There’s no “win” here. Just avoid it.
5. (More than) Three’s a crowd.
With talent onboarding becoming automated and tech-driven, you don’t need seven people working on talent profiles. Give your new candidates a single point of contact, and a backup — just in case your point person is out sick, on vacation, or simply tied up. Having a single (or two) point of contact will help your candidates feel more clear about the process, and aid in that dedicated relationship building.
Plus, nobody wants to be on an eight-person email.
How Kamana helps: does your agency still need multiple people to onboard talent, build profiles, and maintain licenses, certs, etc.? You need to schedule a demo.
6. Put yourselves out there.
Give your new candidates the ability to see the leadership team of the agency. If they want, they can read bios, do a little social media creeping, check out LinkedIn profiles and other general, private get-to-know you research. Every person has their own M-O, so offering (professional) headshots and brief bios will help your talent feel comfortable and aware of the agency’s leadership and where they come from.
Establishing this familiarity helps your candidates become even more familiar with your team and make them feel more comfortable in their onboarding experience.
If it’s in the budget, offer short videos your candidates can watch. Make them fun, insightful, and representative of your company’s core values. If you can, include a video interview with other already employed talent so candidates can understand a peer’s perspective.
7. Stay humble and hungry.
This one’s straightforward:
- Always thank your talent for their time. It shows you’re grateful.
- Acknowledge they’ve put trust in you. Tell them you understand how significant that is.
- Repeat what desires they have. It shows you were listening and gives them confidence in you.
- After they onboard, follow up with thank you card, email, call, or small gift. Everyone appreciates the thought.
- Be gracious if you miss an opportunity for them. They’ll know you tried, and that you’ll try harder next time.
8. Offer your talent a way to give feedback.
There are always opportunities for improvement. You won’t know where the problems are until you ask — and you cannot see them yourself. You’re not the expert of your onboarding process — your talent is. Ask them how it can be improved, through:
- a quick follow up call
- an emailed survey (Survey Monkey, etc.)
9. Paint them a picture.
Your talent should know what’s ahead — nothing should be a surprise. This includes:
- next steps in your process
- any additional documents or information they need to submit
- what you’re going to be doing for them
- where you’ll be looking for their contract
- with whom you’ll be communicating
- how early they should expect to hear from you.
Keep in mind:
10. Tell them when a desired contract has been taken.
That’s an easy win. Own it when you didn’t secure them a contract. That’s it!
Clear. Simple. Communication.
You’ve let them know they didn’t get the contract, so they don’t have to wonder. You’ve told them you’re sorry (and reasons why, maybe?) they didn’t get the contract. And you’ve reaffirmed your drive to get them one. Everyone feels better, and you can keep moving forward with your appreciative new talent.
11. Stay in touch even when they’re on contract.
This doesn’t take much effort, and most recruiters do this already. But it’s good to assess your on-contract and post-contract communication levels. This is a huge part of talent retention. Sent your regular talent check-in messages, and various touch points on email and social media channels. This keeps you on their minds, and lets them know how important they are for you.
Being aware of candidate experience makes you a better recruiter. It can make your company more aware of pain points in your processes — making you more efficient and, ultimately, more profitable and popular among your talent. Discovering and adjusting to fix potential flaws in your candidate experience leads to lower turnover, too. When you help your talent enjoy their interactions with you, everyone wins.
*CareerBuilder data is not specific to healthcare staffing.