Leah Rich, a talent strategist at Talent Hack, shares how to create a positive candidate experience that converts to high-quality hires.
What does “candidate experience” even mean?
The hiring process is like dating. Both the gym and candidates are trying to “woo” each other. They’re putting their best foot forward, while analyzing the other side to see if their values are aligned. At any point, either party can back out.
While it’s easy to focus on impressing your candidates with competitive pay and benefits, they’re looking holistically at the experience from the moment they apply to signing their offer letter.
Six steps to take your candidate from cold to confident
- When they submit their application, send an automated email that you’ve received their application or send a personalized message within 48 hours. Everyone loves communication and this is your first opportunity to set the stage for how you’d want talent to communicate with you.
- Communicate the expectations for the interview process. Is there an audition? Tell them what to prepare. Is there an interview? Tell them ahead of time so they can think through their personal mission statements. Refine what you’re looking for so that you can go deeper in the interview process, faster.
- Follow up with the candidate within 48 hours of the interview with either a polite rejection or an acceptance. A good job board can automate this step, but it’s an important one to take in order to maintain a squeaky clean reputation.
- If you’re moving forward with the candidate, map out the next steps. Send them an offer letter including pay, benefits and expectations. Ask for a copy of their certifications and prepare them with a start date.
- This is the most important step. Detail out your onboarding process. Don’t throw the trainer right onto the schedule. Give them an orientation that includes shadowing classes with a seasoned instructor, breaking down the formats and having them co-teach until they are ready.
- Provide constructive feedback from their onboarding classes so they represent your brand, while still feeling creative. Each trainer has their own special magic, so harness that while making sure they understand yours.
Candidates who you don’t invite to move forward
While “ghosting” is a popular technique in dating, it’s not ideal for a job candidate. It’s important to be upfront with where they stand in the candidate pool.
Open communication is especially important in the fitness industry. Trainers with poor experiences will tell other trainers to avoid applying. They’ll also tell their clients to avoid going to that gym. Ultimately, slander from a trainer can tarnish your brand. The fitness industry is intimate, make sure to leave on a positive note.
Organization is key
An organized hiring process will ensure the candidate feels confident about their decision to work for your business and excited to represent your brand. In return, your candidates will become loyal and long-term team members and refer you to other trainers as the top place to work.