Candidate Experience: High Tech and High Touch
ERE’s Recruitment Innovation Summit
is a good place to see what leading thinkers in the recruitment industry have on their minds. At this year’s spring conference, candidate experience was very clearly on everyone’s mind. Candidate experience was a topic of discussion by nearly every speaker and the startup competition was won by Mystery Applicant
, a startup whose sole purpose is to provide deep metrics on candidate experience. That’s fitting, as it was also recently on the mind of the Wall Street Journal
and a progressive HR group recently launched an annual award for candidate experience
, the CandE.
An astute attendee asked the question at one point, “What is a good candidate experience and how do you measure it?” It gave pause to the conversation, as it forced some specificity beyond, “you know it when you see it.” In answering that question, there was an opinion that in the recruitment industry’s rush to utilize technology, that we had neglected the candidate experience. That is, the pendulum had swung too far toward high tech and had moved away from the human element. While perhaps true in certain scenarios, the idea that high tech and high touch are on polar ends of a continuum is wrongheaded. In fact, good technology implementations should improve candidate experience, not detract from it. But technology can be only part of the puzzle. A positive candidate experience is the result of an integrated ecosystem of processes and technology working together. It is possible to be high tech and high touch.
Achieving high tech and high touch simultaneously requires a technological competency by all recruiters, smart project planning in implementation, and distinct choices on where to lean toward efficiency and when efficiency can be set aside in the name of a better candidate experience. The first step toward maximizing candidate experience is to take stock and understand the current state of your process. As HR professionals, how can we audit, improve, and measure our candidate experience?
- Have every member of your HR staff apply to a job and follow every step of the process. It seems obvious, but I’m astounded by the number of recruiters I meet that don’t understand the candidate experience. Be sure not to test only the “positive” experience of the candidate that ultimately gets hired. Read the “Thanks but no thanks” email from the eyes of a candidate and examine how it makes you feel about the employment brand.
- Work with experts. Build relationships with user interface or user experience staff within your organization. Though they’re likely working in IT, web development or another team, you may have experts in your own organization that can provide insight into best practices in user interaction.
- Think multi-platform. Only a few years ago, your website was consumed on a PC by someone using Internet Explorer. Today, about 20% of your traffic is mobile (and growing), coming from iPhones, Android devices, and other web-enabled phones being accessed on the go. At home or at work, iPads and other tablets are being used along with traditional desktop or laptop computers. The best candidate experiences are able to catch people on the device of their choice without losing functionality.
- Get data. It doesn’t have to be to the depth that Mystery Applicant provides (although it is cool), but get a sense from the candidates that you attract how they feel about your brand and your hiring processes. At the very minimum, survey your new hires, but if you’re feeling brave, get data from those that you don’t hire – they’ll likely have some of the most constructive feedback.
Unlike a lot of passing fads in the recruitment industry, the discussions on candidate experience are not likely to pass with time or the next wave of technology. Rather, the focus on candidate experience will drive the discussion, as employers continue to innovate with the candidate in mind.Post contributed by Adam GodsonFollow me on Twitter @adamgodson or connect with me on LinkedIn