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July 11, 2024
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5 methods to optimize the candidate experience and attract the best talent

Candidate experience

Optimizing the candidate experience is essential to attracting the best talent to top schools. This article outlines five effective ways to improve the admissions process, from streamlining applications to collecting feedback. These strategies help create a smooth and engaging journey for candidates, thus strengthening the attractiveness of your establishment.

Summary :

  1. Simplify the online application process

  2. Personalize communication with candidates

  3. Establish a transparent monitoring system

  4. Optimize admission interviews

  5. Collect and integrate candidate feedback

1- Simplify the online application process

Optimize the user interface

User interface optimization is important to attract top talent. As an admissions manager, you need to ensure that your online application platform is intuitive and easy to navigate. This involves a clear structure, concise instructions and well-organized forms.

Consider integrating features such as auto-saving forms and the ability to resume an application in progress. These elements reduce candidate frustration and increase the chances that they will complete their file. Don't forget to optimize the interface for mobile devices, as many candidates use their smartphones to apply.

Take the case of the École des Mines ParisTech for example. By optimizing their application interface, they noticed a significant increase in the file completion rate. In particular, they have implemented a visual progression system, allowing candidates to see at a glance which sections have been completed and which sections remain to be completed.

Make it easier to download documents

Simplifying the document upload process is essential for a seamless candidate experience. Accept various common file formats (PDF, DOC, JPEG) to avoid technical constraints. Implement an automatic document verification system to ensure they are complete and legible.

Use automation tools to facilitate application management and communication. For example, send automatic document receipt confirmations and reminders for missing documents. This saves time and provides proactive follow-up to candidates, thereby reinforcing their positive perception of your establishment.

Did you know that 92% of candidates share their bad recruitment interview experience with those around them?

2- Personalize communication with candidates

Adapt messages to profiles

Personalizing communication is a key element in engaging candidates. Use the information provided in their file to tailor your messages. Mention specific elements of their background or motivations to show that you took the time to consider their application carefully.

Create customizable message templates for each stage of the admissions process. This will allow you to maintain consistent communication while adding a personal touch. Do not hesitate to use the candidate's first name and refer to previous exchanges to create a stronger bond.

To illustrate, let's take the example of Sciences Po Paris. During their admission campaign for the summer courses, they set up a personalized communication system based on the interests indicated by the candidates. Result: a 25% increase in candidate engagement rate throughout the process.

Use multi-channel communication tools

For effective communication, diversify your contact channels. Email is still essential, but supplement it with other options. Set up a chatbot on your website to answer frequently asked questions 24 hours a day. This provides immediate assistance to candidates, even outside of office hours.

Organize regular informational webinars. These live sessions allow applicants to interact directly with admissions officers and get their specific questions answered. Also consider using social media for quick updates and to build a community around your admissions program.

To optimize your multichannel communication:

  1. Identify your candidates’ preferred channels (survey)

  2. Adapt your content to each platform

  3. Ensure consistency in your messages

  4. Train your team to use these tools

  5. Measure the effectiveness of each channel regularly

3- Establish a transparent monitoring system

Implement a real-time tracking portal

A real-time tracking portal is essential for reducing applicant anxiety and building trust in your institution. Create a secure interface where candidates can log in to see the status of their file at any time. Clearly display the steps taken and those to come in the admissions process.

Integrate visual indicators, like progress bars or color codes, to make tracking more intuitive. Make sure the portal is accessible on mobile for easy consultation. This transparency demonstrates your professionalism and respect for the candidates' time and commitment.

Provide regular updates

Beyond the tracking portal, send proactive updates to candidates. Establish a communications schedule for each step of the admissions process. For example, send a confirmation email upon receipt of the complete file, then weekly updates on the progress of the assessment.

Host regular informational webinars to address frequently asked questions and provide insight into next steps. These live sessions show your commitment to open communication and make candidates feel valued. Don't forget to communicate even when there are no major new developments, this reassures candidates that their file has not been forgotten.

Take the example of Excelia Business School. By implementing a transparent tracking system for their international applications, they saw a 40% decrease in email and phone inquiries. The candidates, better informed, were more calm throughout the process.

Process stage

Update frequency

Communication channel

Receipt of the file

Immediate

Automatic email

Checking parts

Within 48 hours

Candidate portal

Evaluation of the file

Weekly

Personalized email

Admission decision

Within 24 hours after decision

Phone call + Email

Post-admission

Bi-monthly

Information webinar

4- Optimize admission interviews

Offer remote interview options

The offer of remote interviews has become essential to attract the best talent, regardless of their location. Set up a reliable and easy-to-use videoconferencing platform. Train your admissions team to conduct effective virtual interviews, taking into account the specifics of remote communication.

Send candidates a detailed guide on technical and logistical preparation for the virtual interview. Include tips on lighting, background, and posture in front of the camera. Also offer a connection test before the interview to avoid any technical problems on the day. This proactive approach shows your concern for candidate comfort and your adaptability to new technologies.

Prepare candidates for interviews

Proper preparation of candidates for interviews improves the quality of discussions and strengthens the image of your establishment. Create a comprehensive guide to how the interview will work, including topics covered, expected length, and presentation expectations. Share this guide well in advance to allow for peaceful preparation.

Host virtual interview preparation workshops. These sessions can include mock interviews, tips on stress management, and information about your institution's culture. Encourage candidates to prepare relevant questions about the program. This proactive approach demonstrates your commitment to candidate success and creates an environment conducive to open and constructive discussions during the interview.

For optimal preparation of candidates for interviews:

  1. Send a detailed guide 2 weeks before the interview

  2. Offer an interactive preparation webinar

  3. Provide a list of frequently asked questions

  4. Offer mock interview slots with former students

  5. Share video testimonials from students who successfully completed the process

5- Collect and integrate candidate feedback

Set up post-admission surveys

Implementing post-admission surveys is important to continually improve your process. Create short, targeted questionnaires, sent quickly after each key stage of the admissions process. Use a mix of closed-ended questions for quantifiable data and open-ended questions for more detailed feedback.

Make sure these surveys are anonymous to encourage honest responses. Include questions about the clarity of the information provided, the ease of use of the application platform, and the quality of interactions with the admissions team. Don't forget to ask for suggestions for improvement. This direct feedback is valuable for identifying the strengths and areas for improvement in your process.

Adjust the process based on feedback

Analyzing and integrating candidate feedback is essential for the continuous improvement of your admissions process. Establish a system for regular review of comments received, involving the entire admissions team. Identify trends and recurring issues, then develop concrete action plans to address them.

Communicate openly about changes made following candidate feedback. This shows that you value their opinion and are committed to a process of continuous improvement. This transparency builds future applicants’ trust in your admissions process. Don’t hesitate to seek feedback from candidates on changes made, creating a positive and continuous feedback loop.

For example, implementing a continuous feedback system for its candidate management platform makes it possible to identify friction points in the process and make improvements to increase candidate satisfaction rates.

In conclusion, optimizing the candidate experience is a key element in attracting the best talent to top schools. By implementing these five methods, admissions managers can create a smooth, transparent, and engaging process. This candidate-centered approach not only improves the quality of admissions, but also strengthens the reputation of the institution in an increasingly competitive educational environment.

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