Thermoforming Report

October Thermoforming Report: Creating a Positive Candidate Experience

by Keith Brown, President & Owner, Siena Group.

October 2023.

Today’s main article – Creating a Positive Candidate Experience – is all about continuous improvement. CI, OpEx, LSS – call it what you will – but it also applies to the all-important process of hiring. And unfortunately, that process either gets ignored or isn’t truly thought through in the first place. While there isn’t anything magical in this report, there are some simple ideas to consider. Hiring managers and Talent and HR leaders – walk in your candidate’s shoes!

As usual, we have several great articles relevant to our industry and quite a few amazing All Stars to highlight! Check them out down below in the links on the right. We also have more extraordinary talent in the Featured Talent tab.

Creating a Positive Candidate Experience

From Application to Onboarding

According to a 2023 Candidate Experience Report, 49% of job seekers have rejected a job offer because of a negative event with the company, such as a slow or disorganized interview process. That is a high number, but it isn’t surprising. Prioritizing the overall candidate experience will generate better recruiting outcomes and increase your organization’s reputation. From application to onboarding, we’ve provided you with a few ways to improve workflows when hiring employees. Whether you start small and implement just one, or pull out all the stops & make every suggested improvement, you will be moving the needle toward a more positive candidate experience!

Step One: Simplify the Application Process

Overly complex job applications can negatively impact a job seeker’s experience. In fact, applications that take more than 15 minutes to complete wouldn’t receive a response from more than 70% of candidates, according to one study.  

That’s why it’s essential to streamline applications as much as possible. You can do this by asking candidates fewer questions and collecting more detailed information from the most qualified applicants later in the recruiting process. Another way to simplify applications is to make it easier for job seekers to submit information like resumes and cover letters. For example, allow candidates to upload files in different formats rather than just Word documents.  

One of the biggest complaints is requiring a candidate to upload their resumes, CV, and/or cover letters… and also forcing them to complete a full work history profile that is essentially the exact same information! In a candidate-driven market, organizations should work to improve systems rather than frustrate candidates right out of the gate. 

Step Two: Improve Communication

More than half of candidates in the United States, UK, Ireland, and Germany expect to hear back from an employer in one week or less after applying for jobs. Delayed communication — or no communication at all — can frustrate job seekers, increasing the chances of them dropping out of your recruiting process. Though that is an average based on a study, in our conversations with recently interviewed candidates, expectations are well short of a week – one to two days is what ‘feels right.’   

Improve communication by keeping candidates informed during every step of their journey. For example, sending a personalized email to confirm you’ve received someone’s application only takes a few seconds and can enhance your organization’s reputation.  

If you want to maintain momentum, work to at least acknowledge that things are moving. It will keep the candidate engaged and their energy and excitement about your opportunity at a high level. 

Step Three: Provide Feedback & Status Updates

This one cannot be stressed enough: Don’t ghost a job seeker if they don’t make it to the next stage of your hiring process. Instead, send them a quick email with the reasons why you didn’t choose them for a role. Honest, open, respectful, and transparent feedback is powerful and might mean a lot to someone finding it difficult to get a job. Who knows… they might even share their positive experience with your company online! 

Also, it’s important to provide information to qualified candidates as they progress through your recruitment workflows. For example, you might want to tell someone to improve their resume before they meet a hiring manager.  Resumes carry more weight than they should and therefore must be strong out of the gate. 

Status updates can also enhance the candidate experience. Applicant tracking software can send job seekers notifications as they approach different recruitment milestones, such as attending an interview. You can then view the analytics about how long it takes candidates to move through your hiring funnel. This data gem will be beneficial for your current AND future hires!

Step Four: Improve Onboarding

The candidate experience does NOT stop after “you’re hired”! It also includes onboarding, where you introduce new hires to your organization.

At this recruiting stage, applicants are typically nervous about meeting your team, so you’ll want to make them feel comfortable. Encourage new employees to reach out if they have a question or problem with their jobs and provide them with HR resources that ease their transition into your company. Employee handbooks, welcome packages, and training sessions can result in seamless and more successful onboarding.  

A formal mentorship program can further improve onboarding outcomes. A mentor can help a new hire learn and grow, leading to increased trust and team cohesion. The hire can also ask the mentor questions about their role, freeing up resources and workloads for your HR team.  

Step Five: Collect Feedback from Candidates

At various stages of the recruiting/hiring process, it’s important to gather feedback from candidates, including after orientation. This will help you improve the way you hire candidates and welcome them to your organization.  

How you collect this information depends on where the candidate is in your workflow. For instance, you can ask someone how easy it was to apply for a role at their interview and use this feedback to streamline future application forms. Alternatively, send new hires a survey a few weeks after orientation to gauge their opinions about your recruitment procedures.  

Wrapping Up: Takeaways

Optimizing the candidate experience results in fewer applicants dropping out of your recruiting process, ensuring your organization’s reputation. Simplifying applications, enhancing communication, providing feedback and status updates, improving onboarding, and gathering information from candidates can help you achieve this goal. Making life easier for job seekers can also attract more talent and increase offer acceptance rates.  

Ultimately, the best piece of advice is to walk in their shoes. Maybe even go as far as having someone on the Talent Team become an applicant and go through the process to truly understand how it works. There are many ways to improve the experience, but never forget that these are people and great people are what makes an organization great! 

“Optimizing the candidate experience in every stage of your recruiting process results in fewer applicants dropping out, ensuring your organization’s reputation.” Keith Brown, Owner/President, Siena Group

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Sales Rep/Account Manager: This strong hunter brings 25 years of experience in all things packaging, including folded cartons, flexibles, POP displays, and labels. Much of this has been in custom development, working hand in hand with clients.

Senior Reliability Engineer/Manager: This up-from-the-ranks Leader has 25 years of experience in manufacturing, with over 15 years of that in reliability. He has excellent abilities to see through the weeds and determine root causes, driving change and making dramatic improvements to a site and organization through technical transformation!

Senior Operations Leader/Technical Leader: This two-for-one leader is equal parts Operations Leader and Technical Leader. Bringing 30 years of experience in plastics, he has a penchant for increasing profitability through people-focused continuous improvement efforts and initiatives.

Plant Manager: This Leader comes with 15+ years of experience as an up-from-the-ranks Machinist who shifted over into front-line manufacturing and ultimately into plant management. Bringing tremendous value, he will definitely make a major impact on your team if you are struggling to deliver on the fundamentals!

Even More Thermoforming Talent! We work with so many talented people in many different functions – all in thermoforming. Whether it’s an Operations Leader, Plant Manager, Supply Chain Leader, HR Leader, specialized Engineer, Quality Leader, Sales Leader, or pretty much any thermoforming role, we are here to help. If you have a need, please do not hesitate to just reach out! 

Click for more All-Stars.

At Siena Group, we are your Thermoforming Talent Partner. With more than 30 years of experience in manufacturing, hiring & recruiting talent, we bring a greater understanding of the companies we partner with and the candidates we pursue.
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