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    Recruitment is never simple. For SMEs many of the problems in recruitment are exacerbated in comparison to enterprise business. You don’t have the reputation and network of larger competitors to reach as wide a pool of talent. 

     How can you start building your employer reputation and outshine your competition in attracting talent? With a great candidate experience… 

     According to Talent Board, between 2010 and 2019 over 1,000 global businesses have come together, working to define and measure candidate experience. 

     If you work in human resources, you know that this type of collaboration is not common. Therefore, it points to the vital importance of candidate experience to attracting talent.  

     In this post, we will cover the main reasons why candidate experience is important for SMEs in recruiting talent, and the tangible results you will see when you implement a great candidate experience strategy.  

     The Importance Of Providing a Great Candidate Experience 

    Money spent improving your candidate experience is money well spent. But why is that?  

    Your Employer Brand 

    A Harvard Business Review study found that companies with 10,000 employees could be spending up to $7.6 million a year in additional wages to make up for a poor employer reputation.  

    Your SME might not have 10,000 employees but the same principle applies. If you have a poor employer reputation, you will be paying extra wages as a form of compensation to attract talent.  

    For your SME, those differences in salaries for 5-10 employees could make the difference of having an additional employee that helps further fuel growth and innovation within your business. Or could give you the additional budget to invest in new technologies or machinery.  

    How you interact with your candidates through the hiring process and the ‘experience’ you provide them has a huge impact on your employer brand and reputation. 

    Disgruntled applicants will share their experience in the same way unhappy customers will share their experience of poor customer service or purchasing a bad product.  

    You need to create a smooth and enjoyable candidate experience for every applicant that comes to your business. Even if a candidate is not the right fit for your role, you want them to go away from the experience with a positive view of your brand. They should leave with the mentality that they would be happy to both apply for another role at your SME in future and recommend your roles to their network.  

    How Do You Create a Great Candidate Experience? 

    There is a lot that goes into creating a great candidate experience, and we go into more detail in other blog posts in this series (that you can check out here).  

    However, to get started, think about your communication. A study by Indeed found that for almost half of jobseekers, their biggest frustration was waiting to hear back from a potential employer.  

    If you are an SME who handles your entire recruitment process internally, you know screening dozens of candidates is no mean feat. Getting a response to an applicant within a week, let alone a day can feel impossible. But it is worth revising your HR processes to improve the speed of your communication to improve the candidate experience. 

    Keen to learn more about how to create a great candidate experience?  Download our E-Book: How to improve your Candidate Experience: A Step-By-Step Guide. 

    The Tangible Rewards Your SME Will See When You Implement a Candidate Experience Strategy  

    You’re starting to see the importance of candidate experience. But, things like employer brand and reputation can be difficult to measure. As such it can be difficult to prove the value in implementing a candidate experience strategy to your higher-ups. So what are some tangible results you should be able to demonstrate? 

    Customer Revenue  

    How many applicants for your jobs are also customers of your brand? By delivering a bad candidate experience you could lose that customer (and the others they talk to about their negative experience).  

    Virgin Media found this out the hard way. When Graeme Johnson took over the role of Head of Resourcing at the company, he went through all the historic hiring data he could find.  

    He reviewed many candidate surveys and found there was some consistency in that many had a bad candidate experience. From grumpy receptionists to interviewers walking out to take phone calls, there was a range of complaints. He also found out that 18% of rejected applicants were Virgin Media customers.  

    The data analytics team dug deeper and found out that 6% of rejected candidates switched their media provider from Virgin after having a poor experience. They did the math and worked out this would come to around 7,500 cancellations a year – or over £5 million in lost revenue.  

    With a poor candidate experience, you are not only losing talent, but you are also losing revenue.