Talent Circles

Friday, May 8, 2015

Adding Depth and Scope to the Candidate Experience

By Jessica Miller-Merrell 

The focus on candidate experience in the last several years has moved our industry forward leaps and bounds, but it turns out there’s still a lot of ground to cover. When the idea of candidate experience arrived on the scene, the view of the prospective employees wasn’t often considered, and in fact in many cases was completely disregarded. It was a different time in hiring. Job seekers had very low expectations of the hiring process and employers fulfilled those expectations. Through the years, recruiting and HR teams came to realize the value of a positive candidate experience and in many ways have changed the face of the process completely.

Today, however, we are met with new challenges in recruiting that the traditional candidate experience, however positive, doesn’t completely solve. It’s time to give more texture to the idea of candidate experience and understand that today it means candidate empowerment.

There are two main areas where we have an opportunity to enrich the candidate experience – before a candidate ever applies and after the interview process. These are areas that are largely untouched in recruiting, which makes them the perfect opportunities.

Before the buying decision
The way recruiters work is so similar to the way sales people woo customers that it’s just logical to make comparisons between the two. Most sales people hoping to close a deal don’t just forward a generic company ad to prospects but instead work to foster relationships that often lead to contracts being signed. However, all too often recruiters rely on one-off outreach tactics that are completely separate from the candidate experience strategy.

We’ve got to quit viewing the starting point of the candidate experience as the moment they apply and start seeing it as beginning long before. If we look at it this way, we’ll have candidates with positive views of the company before they even know what the open position entails. Recruiters can do this by utilizing a pre-candidate strategy that involves engagement, relationship building and making resources available. While you are making an investment in candidates who may or may not apply for a position with your company, the benefits of the extended pre-candidate experience make it worthwhile.

After the interview is over
For candidates who make it through the hiring process and land an interview, the phase following the interview is essentially a dead zone. It’s the time when they’re unsure of their possible future with your company and simply have to wait until your team is ready to make the call. Not only is this a stressful time for the candidate but it’s also a dangerous time for employers to be leaving their future employees vulnerable and ripe for the picking. Most of the time, candidates will continue to interview and explore opportunities since they don’t have an offer in hand. If one does come along before you make your decision and offer, they’ll likely accept it. Recruiters should do their best to not make candidates feel neglected during this phase of the hiring process because it’s risky and can actually erase all the great candidate experience work you’ve put in.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology anthropologist specializing in HR and recruiting. She's the Chief Blogger and Founder of Blogging4Jobs and author of The HR Technology Field Guide. You can follow her on Twitter at @jmillermerell.


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