Expert Panel: Candidate Experience In An Increasingly Digital World
Although the topic of candidate experience has been discussed for quite some time, it’s certainly getting a lot of attention right now. As life in general becomes increasingly digitized, talent acquisition pundits and practitioners alike are taking note of the impact to job seekers.
Because the evolution of candidate experience is top-of-mind for so many organizations today, we decided to ask a few practitioners, analysts, and bloggers for their thoughts on the topic. In part one of this two-part expert panel series, we tap into the minds of eight experts hailing from Pepsi, CareerXroads, Recruiting Blogs, TalentCulture, and more.
How do you think candidate experience has evolved over the past decade?
The 21st century opened with employers excited over emerging technology that faithfully copied failed 20th century recruiting practices—practices that essentially ignored the needs of the candidate and concentrated on streamlining the collection of data and workflow of the recruiter. Today, there is a growing recognition that meeting both employer AND candidate needs are necessary for quality decisions and hires. Employers winning the new war for talent are now listening to candidates they hire AND those they don’t, setting expectations, delivering on those expectations, and holding recruiters accountable for the satisfaction of all the stakeholders.
Candidate experience over the last 10 years has become a hot topic for TA. It is about doing what is right and following through with your commitments. But it is also delivering a unique experience to the candidate and showing them respect during the job search process through hiring them as an employee, an so on.
I think the correct word is that candidate experience has devolved, actually. Looking for a job has always sucked, but as consumer technology continues to outpace HR Technology, the expectations of candidates have shifted, too. With social media, CRM, and other engagement tools, we’ve automated away the interpersonal interactions that are the most meaningful and essentially replaced high touch with high tech. Awareness of the concept has definitely moved from margins to mainstream, but we talk a whole lot about this concept without actually doing anything meaningful to improve it.
Job seekers have digital expectations that are moving faster than most talent acquisition departments can make decisions, but some have been able to stay ahead of the curve. Although the human element will always remain crucial to the candidate experience, choosing to overlook the technological aspects of candidate experience (mobile, SEO, search, etc.) is a recipe for getting overlooked by today’s talent.
Candidate experience has evolved to become a powerful marketing and branding tool for organizations. You need to be aware of your brand’s candidate experience to recruit the “best fit” talent now and into the future.
With the emergence of recognition programs, mobile apply and reputation sites, companies have been forced to focus on the experience they’re delivering. The front of the experience (the search and apply) has been a considerable focus for the majority as a result.
It’s never been easier to apply for jobs. People are applying using their social profiles on their mobile devices, and so on. That said, hiring managers/recruiters often spend a lot of time sifting through low quality resumes. Inevitably, good people fall through the cracks. With that is only the beginning of not-so-good Candidate Experience. This is just scratching the surface but gives an idea of how it has evolved in the last decade.
With the cost and speed of technology, the black hole of feedback is getting slightly better. Candidates are at least getting confirmation that they’ve completed a part of the selection process. It’s not much better but a little.
What do you think the most overlooked aspect of candidate experience is in today’s digital world?
Employers are only now realizing which practices touch their candidates in a way that impacts their employer brand. Connecting these practices to the candidate’s perception that they were able to ‘fairly’ share their skills, knowledge, and experience has the highest correlation to an employer’s candidate experience rating.
Mobile apply. Not just taking your current desktop apply process and making it mobile. You really need to vet your application process and only ask questions needed at the time of interest. All the other “stuff” can come later—if needed.
The most overlooked aspect of candidate experience is the fact that referrals and internal mobility are by far the top sources of hire, and yet for some reason candidate experience is almost always seen as an exclusively external best practice instead of an internal core competency. Organizations need to focus on providing a great experience for employees and give them the tools to make internal mobility and managing their own careers as easy as possible instead of the red tape that today make it easier for most employees to find and apply for jobs at other companies instead of at their own.
The most overlooked aspect is the connection between the candidate experience delivered and the corresponding impacts to job seekers’ perceptions of a company. This starts from the moment they get to your careers site or see one of your requisitions on a job board and goes all the way through the hiring process. The technology job seekers interact with, the transparency they get during the process, the way they’re treated by recruiters and interviewers, and so on, it all circles back to perception. And, in today’s digital world, the negative results born out of candidates’ bad perceptions or experiences can spread quickly.
Communication. An unfortunate statistic: over 70% of online applicants never even get a form reply. This is often a symptom of dysfunctional culture; it violates the basic rules of common human courtesy. Explain every step of the hiring process to a future hire. Always aim to meet the deadlines and communicate consistently throughout the entire hiring process. Stay transparent and honest always.
The handling of a candidate after the apply process is complete continues to be the biggest challenge—how the candidate is treated when passed between recruiter and hiring managers.
According to research by the “CandE Awards, ” 59% of Candidates had a connection or relationship to the company before they applied. The stats: 82% of people will share a positive experience with their inner circle, 64% will share a negative experience within their inner circle, 50% would share a positive experience on social media, and 32% would share a negative experience via Social Media. What does this mean? It means people talk—a lot. In fact, Canadians have on average 350 Friends on Facebook, 208 Followers on Twitter, and 600 1st Level Connections on LinkedIn. The most overlooked fact is the sheer size of a candidate’s reach and the impact their candidate experience has on the company’s consumer brand/reputation.
Communicating what the selection process will be, step-by-step for a candidate who is interested would be simple and significant to deploy for an organization.