Improving your candidate experience: 4 lessons from the Workplace Intelligence Report

Group of coworkers at a table

4 mins, 50 secs read time

When it comes to hiring, the pressure is on. There are a record number of job openings, automation is transforming work as we know it and an entire generation of baby boomers is poised to retire over the next few years, compounding the existing talent shortage. One topic that sits squarely in the middle of all these concerns is hiring. How can you stand out amongst all the other employers and attract the best candidates to your organization?

With the Workplace Intelligence Report, we sought to understand the current work environment, from the perspective of both employers and employees. The results of the report help shed some light on employer initiatives and how they’re perceived and received by candidates and employees.

Let’s investigate what the report shows us about the current state of hiring and what it could mean for your company’s approach to candidate experience.

1. Preparing your hiring team has never mattered more

Our research shows that our hiring teams and managers are woefully unprepared to make smart, data-driven hiring decisions. Only 39% have received some interview training, and the process used to guide them to a hiring decision is mostly unstructured. Interview guides are used only 40% of the time, and there is little structure or consistency to the questions being asked or the way interviewer feedback is captured. Nearly 20% of all survey respondents claim that hiring is completely unstructured in their companies.

In today’s job market, hiring will become a competitive advantage for those companies that equip hiring managers and interview teams with training and a structured process to follow. Looking for an easy next step to take? Learn how to write structured interview questions here.

2. Define what you’re doing about diversity and inclusion

In recent years, we’ve seen that Diversity & Inclusion (D&I;) matters to company executives. Companies like McKinsey have published extensive research on this topic, a number of companies have publicly committed to D&I; efforts and in 2015, 77% of CEOs surveyed in PWC’s Global CEO Survey said they had a formal Diversity & Inclusion strategy or a plan to adopt one in the next 12 months.

However, according to the Workplace Intelligence Report, while 55% of respondents say their employer has a D&I; program, 26% of employees don’t know if a D&I; program exists at their company. This demonstrates a substantial gap between what companies say they are doing and what their employees believe they are doing.

If D&I; truly is a priority for your company, communicating this to candidates is essential. Principal Analyst and Founder of HRWins George LaRocque says that very few companies have visible, strong messaging describing their D&I; efforts. Beyond including this information front and center on your careers page, consider how you might showcase your commitment to D&I; by discussing it in the interview process and inviting candidates to meet with members of an Employee Resource Group during their onsite interview. Learn more about planning your communication around D&I; from Greenhouse’s Director of Content Dinah Alobeid and George LaRocque.

3. Millennials, money and meaning: Know the facts

The assumption that millennials, and now Gen Z, will take more meaningful work for less pay appears to be one of the biggest generational misunderstandings introduced in the last decade.

When it comes to meaningful work and the amount of pay workers are willing to accept for it, it turns out the younger generations aren’t that different from those who came before them. There’s no consensus – millennials are broadly split on the issue and 25% of them are neutral on the topic.

At the same time, 61% of respondents agree or strongly agree that it’s important to find meaning beyond the contribution made to their employer in their work. All generations in the workforce prioritize the search for meaningful substance in their daily employment.

What does this mean for your candidate experience? Look for opportunities to communicate the meaning of the work a candidate will be doing, from the language you use in the job description, advertising or outreach, to the type of take-home assessment you give them. Coach your hiring teams on how to sell the specific role and its relation to your company’s mission and vision. Check out Greenhouse President Jon Stross’s advice on writing compelling job descriptions here.

4. Flaunt your flexibility

The expectation that every employee will be working from the same office – or any office at all – is outdated. The data from the Workplace Intelligence Report shows that across the board, all workers want the flexibility to work from home, coworking spaces or other remote venues. A whopping 80% of survey respondents agree or strongly agree that they are willing to work remotely. LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends 2019 report also found that 36% of women and 29% of men say that flexible work arrangements are very important when considering a job.

If you offer remote work or flexible working arrangements, don’t be shy about letting candidates know! You can mention it in your job description, discuss it with candidates during their interviews and maybe even have them participate in a few video interviews with remote employees so they can have any questions or concerns addressed by someone who’s already working this way.

When it comes to candidate experience, the key findings from the Workplace Intelligence Report relate to the overall interview structure as well as culture and values. Help your hiring team take a structured approach to hiring, clearly communicate your culture and values (especially when it comes to D&I;, meaning in work and flexibility) and your candidate experience will speak to the needs of today’s job seeker.

Melissa Suzuno

Melissa Suzuno

is a freelance writer and former Content Marketing Manager at Greenhouse. Melissa previously built out the content marketing programs at Parklet (an onboarding and employee experience solution) and AfterCollege (a job search resource for recent grads), so she's made it a bit of a habit to help people get excited about and invested in their work. Find Melissa on Twitter and LinkedIn.