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In part one of this series, we discussed everything you need to know about improving your candidate experience (CX) for recruiting engineers — from creating the scalable structure for your tech hiring process to personalizing your passive talent outreach. 

But now that you’ve found the right candidates, here are some tips on how to structure your interviews and leverage metrics to optimize your CX in the final stages of your recruitment process to ensure your are attracting top talent. 

Include Your Team in Interviews

You know this as well as we do: engineers want to talk shop with other engineers. Introducing candidates to as many of their prospective teammates as possible gives them insights into culture and communication. It allows them to ask questions that a recruiter — and even a hiring manager — may not be able to answer. 

Plus, your engineers can get prospective candidates more excited than anyone else in your org can because they communicate enthusiasm from precisely the place prospective candidates will eventually sit.

Track Funnel Metrics to Optimize Candidate Experience

It’s no news flash that no one likes a drawn-out hiring process — least of all tech talent, who might be used to being on and off the market in a matter of days. So this best practice is about funnel efficiency. 

Recruiting solutions are available that track passthrough rates between funnel stages. They’ll tell you how long candidates sit in each stage so you can optimize the “slower” stages to move them through faster. They’ll also tell you if certain demographics are dropping out at higher rates than others, so that you can mitigate bias in your process.

These solutions will let you know if any of your stages are too rigorous because passthrough rates are low across the board — or if any stage is superfluous because that’s where your best candidates are opting out.

Often we think of the changes we make in response to this intelligence as “optimizing the hiring funnel,” but it’s synonymous with “improving candidate experience.” It ensures the right candidates move on for the right reasons — and in good time.

Give Feedback

Nearly half of tech candidates say that a lack of quality feedback is a pain point in their candidate experience. And elsewhere, 94% of job-seekers said they want constructive feedback — and they’re 4x more likely to consider an org for a future opportunity if they’re given it. 

Feedback is an indicator that you care about a candidate’s success, regardless of whether they go on to work for you. It’s also a demonstration of equity to tell candidates what they did well in their technical interviews and what was missing. So if it’s not already, make candidate feedback part of your post-interview workflow. 

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Personalize Your Offer Letters

If you’ve done all of the above, this is the cherry on top of your tech hiring funnel. Think about all the interests your tech candidate has expressed throughout the hiring process with you. Surely their prospective teammates have picked things up in conversation that let you personalize their offer letter in the same way you personalized your initial outreach to them. 

At Gem, for example, we recently had a junior candidate who loves Harry Potter, so their offer letter took the form of a “welcome letter” to “Hogwarts.” Offer letters might acknowledge the candidate’s situation and tailor the details to where they are, uniquely. In some ways, this is your last touchpoint with them before they have to make a decision. What can you surprise them with here? 

Nurture Your Former Silver Medalists

Okay, this isn’t specific to your silver medalists only. Talent acquisition is a series of long-term relationships between recruiters and talent; even the candidates who definitely aren’t ready for your open role today may be ready two years down the road. So build those relationships by letting talent know that you’re their advocate for the long haul. 

Put them in a project in your CRM and send them occasional updates about your product, your org, and your team. Keep them excited about what your engineers and developers are working on with these nurture campaigns. It’s a way not only to stay on their radar as they pick up new skills and become ever-more-prepared for future roles with you; it’s also a terrific way to build your talent brand.

Measure Candidate Experience Wherever You Can

The most straightforward way of doing this, of course, is to ask for it. Sending out surveys throughout the process lets candidates know you care at every step, but even if you only have time for one survey at the end, offer it out. And where you see trends in these responses, act on them.

Here are some things you might want to include in your survey: 

  1. What was the most memorable part of their experience with you, and why? 
  2. What surprised them most (whether positively or negatively)? 
  3. At what point did they feel least confident in themselves? 
  4. What would they have needed at that point to perform better? 
  5. If they had to go through the entire process again, which part/s would they not want to do over? 
  6. Would they apply to your org again? 
  7. Would they recommend you to their networks? Why or why not? 

We’ve talked about passthrough rates and time-in-stage, which are great measures of candidate experience at specific stages.

Other things you can track that correlate to candidate experience include career page conversion rates, application drop-off rate, recruiter response time, offer acceptance rate, offer decline reasons, and days to accept.  Use this data to iterate and improve continually.. 

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This is a guest blog post written by Lauren Shufran, Content Strategist at Gem. Gem’s modern recruiting solution empowers talent acquisition teams to optimize & expand their sourcing efforts while simultaneously reporting on outcomes that inform an organization’s talent attraction & engagement strategy. Gem is a proud partner of Codility.

Lauren Shufran is a content strategist and lead writer at Gem. When she’s not thinking about best practices for talent acquisition teams, she’s on her yoga mat or hiking the North Bay hills. Pre-software, she got a PhD in early modern British literature. Come at her with your favorite Shakespeare quote.

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