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Blog: A five-star candidate experience, part 1: Candidate communications

Riikka Lintukangas

November 19 2019

A five-star candidate experience, part 1: Candidate communications | Vincit
Candidate communications is one of the most important parts of the candidate experience, and it also has an undeniable effect on employer image and branding. Investing in candidate communications gives the company a monthly opportunity to influence how hundreds or even thousands of people experience the company as an employer! In this first instalment of our blog series on candidate experience, we’ll let you in on how we at Vincit use candidate communications to achieve a positive candidate experience.
A five-star candidate experience, part 1: Candidate communications | Vincit

Our strong recruitment team at Vincit is in contact with hundreds of people each month – what can we say, we like to keep busy! What makes this figure so special is that the people we talk to are mainly interested in hearing about the various career opportunities Vincit has to offer. This work can be summarized in two words: candidate communications. We are constantly working on our employer image, which is to a large extent built on the candidate experiences of individual job applicants. This is why we’ve always emphasized the importance of personal encounters and highlighted the experience that our recruitment process can give about Vincit.

We can proudly say that our work is also bearing fruit! In the last year, our candidate survey, which is sent to each person who contacts us about vacancies, gave us an average score of 4.6 out of 5! Since we feel so strongly about this topic, we want to share our best practices for achieving a better candidate experience, also known as the job applicant experience. In this first instalment, we’ll focus on candidate communications.

1. Appropriate tools

“This has got to be the smoothest recruitment process I’ve ever experienced in Finland.” (5/5)

As a team, we’ve worked long and hard to find tools that suit our needs. The tool we’ve ended up using is the browser-based Recruiterbox system. We feel it offers the best price-quality ratio when it comes to our present requirements and enables effortless internal and external communications. Our other candidate communication tools include e-mail, LinkedIn, Google Hangouts, Skype, and various instant messaging services. We haven’t forgotten the phone either, but often things like setting up appointments are more easily done via email.

2. Task assignment

“The entire process was very business-like and professional.” (5/5)
“The process involved active communication and was carried out quickly. Good discussions in a relaxed atmosphere.” (5/5)

Successful candidate communications require a good division of responsibilities within the team. After trying out several things, we’ve agreed on a practice where one of us is responsible for receiving and going through all new applications and handling the early-stage candidate communications. If the discussions continue beyond the first message, other team members take over, dividing the work on the basis of the candidates’ location and the position they’re applying for. When the team members trust each other and work toward a common goal, no one needs to spend time on double checking. What’s more, help is always available – all you need to do is ask.

3. Promt communications

“Had my application reviewed quickly and professionally.” (5/5)
“I received a prompt reply to my application.” (5/5)
“Thank you very much for getting in contact and replying so quickly.” (5/5)

The significance of effortless communication is highlighted in the responses to our candidate experience survey. We try to get in touch with people who contact us within a couple of days. If the person for some reason needs to wait for our internal decisions, we always keep them posted. Such prompt replies are made possible by the fact that each member of the recruitment team has allocated at least a couple of hours a day for candidate communications. Having enough time also means being able to write personalized messages.

4. Personality and transparency

“The best job application experience I’ve had. I felt like there was an actual person at the other end.” (5/5)
“The recruitment process was very pleasant. I felt I was treated like an individual and I could tell that my application had actually been read.” (4/5)
“The entire recruitment process was nice and relaxed and personal.” (5/5)

It’s important to us that people who get in touch feel like they’re talking to a person, not a system or generic automated messages. We aim to make our communications more efficient by using email templates, but we also try to bring out our personality and write our emails the Vincit way – with a twinkle in our eye. We promote transparency by justifying our decisions in connection with each recruitment. In addition, whenever someone asks for more information or pointers, we give them an in-depth response.

5. Candidate communications call for continuous self-improvement

“It was the fastest recruitment process I never even had.” (1/5)
“The process didn’t advance beyond a couple of emails. I thought the person I talked with was phoney, as often is the case with telemarketers.” (1/5)

Not everything goes according to plan all the time, and that’s something that should be freely admitted as well. The reasons may include an internal miscommunication or simply forgetting, which may cause in a big delay in responding. Then again, candidates may not always appreciate receiving our “thanks but no thanks” message either. In these situations, we don’t believe in letting time cure all wounds or sweeping the matter under the carpet. Instead, we try to understand how the person is feeling and handle the matter in a professional manner with the aim of leaving a positive overall impression.

To avoid unpleasant situations, we’re required to constantly develop our operations and challenge the methods we’ve already tried and tested. We question the way we do things all the time and try to come up with new methods and tools that we could use to make our recruitment process meet the demands of today as well as tomorrow.

This blog post is the first instalment in a blog series focusing on the work of our recruitment team. You can read the other entries by clicking below:
A five-star candidate experience, part 2: A chat, not a job interview, read here
A five-star candidate experience, part 3: Employment contract and related processes, read here

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