The U.S. Interstate Highway System construction was authorized in 1956 by the Federal Aid Highway Act. Over 55 years later its network extends nearly 50,000 miles of highway and about one-quarter of all vehicle miles driven in the country use this system. Add to that thousands and thousands of miles of other byways and bad roads and you’ve got a lot of driving going on.
Along the way there are a myriad of rest stops, fast food restaurants, gas stations, hotels and motels, run of the mill and eclectic points of interest – you name it. Along most major thoroughfares you’ll find plenty of places to stop and “refuel,” but there are times where there’s a whole bunch of nothing and you better be sure you’ve got enough fuel in “all tanks.” Add to that extreme hot and cold weather, accidents and commute gridlock and you’re along for one helluva ride.
I took a road trip this week to see my best friend in Chico, CA. I know the route well, as a collective group of friends and I from high school have made the journey every year since my friend moved here in 1989. Not so much in the past few years with all of us getting older and life getting more complicated, which is why my trip was overdue.
The highways and byways are a means to an end; we’re not driving them for the journey, just the destination. Most of the time at least, unless it’s a first-time vacation road trip experience – like your first true job hunt. Or even the next one, or the next one…
Like an Escher maze, the social networking pages to job boards to career sites to applicant tracking systems are as endless as the miles and mils of roads we travel everyday. Most career search drivers just want to get on and off, and yet we don’t really help them do that; we don’t provide them with a Zen-like GPS so they can get to where they’re going to and apply for that dream job. You know, the one advertised on the big, religiously gaudy billboards along the highway – “Jesus is really sorry about the candidate experience. Have some fries and a Coke. Or a Pepsi.”
I recommend that employers really think about the experiences they’re creating for job candidates, that they should travel the same roads themselves to experience them first hand.
Did you get lost? Get a flat tire? Engine catch fire? Stuck in gridlock? Did you get a ticket? Did you get flipped off by someone you cut off? Did you flip someone off who cut you off? Did you find a rest stop along the way? Did you ever get to where you’re going to?
Once you’ve done that, then consider these three types of rest stops along your talent network systems:
- You don’t need rainbows and unicorns along the side of the road while they apply, but you do need to give those candidates wanting to apply easily and efficiently the courtesy of the path of least resistance. Reduce the number of clicks; these folks just want to apply for your jobs. Don’t make them do road work along the way.
- But oh, do have periodic rest stops for those who need to pause for whatever reason – and give them glimpses of your company culture in between. Meaning, if I apply and then take a break before I complete an online assessment, keep selling me as to why I want you to apply in the first place and why you should be working here. Give me a reason to come back and finish, entice me, don’t make it a chore just because I have to stop and go pee.
- And lastly, for the smaller percentage of candidates who want to take more time to get to know you and others, both outside your company and your current employees, give them fun-land rest stops complete with collaborative refueling stations, gaming options, testing centers, white boards to share insights, virtual face-time communications across networks and whatever else you can think of to have them get to know you and vice-versa. Give them the opportunity to shine when they want to make the time and stop.
That is all. Happy driving!