Playing With Fire: Are You Experienced?

Playing With Fire: Are You Experienced?

Mike Roberts

“Maybe now you can’t hear them, but you will…” — Jimi Hendrix, Are You Experienced? (1967)

We are big believers in candidate experience here at Jibe. In fact, it underpins everything we do. That’s why we continue to be enthusiastic supporters of The Talent Board’s annual Candidate Experience Awards. Announced at the HR Technology Conference earlier this month, we’d like to congratulate this year’s winners – including Jibe clients Accenture, Chesapeake, Enterprise, GM, Walmart and Wells Fargo – and the Talent Board itself for continuing to shine a light on this critical component of the recruiting mix.

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Jibe’s recent Talent Acquisition Survey confirmed what many of us already know: That candidate experience is and will continue to be a top-of-mind issue as we head into 2014. Of those recruiters surveyed, 80% described candidate experience as “very important” to their recruiting efforts, and 68% believe optimizing candidate experience will be a key trend in the coming year. Despite this realization and apparent focus on the issue, 44% said they continue to struggle with improving in this area. Why?

For one, as Matt Charney at Recruiting Blogs pointed out recently, improving candidate experience is a task that’s been embraced by individual recruiters and talent acquisition teams, but the enthusiasm does not often extend up to the C-level of the organization and therefore lacks a top-down directive to improve in this area. It should.

Earlier this year, CareerBuilder conducted a survey in which they asked candidates what they would do if they had a bad experience when applying for a job. Check out the results:

  • Never seek employment at the company again – 42 percent
  • Tell others not to work there – 22 percent
  • Tell others not to purchase products or services from the company – 9 percent

So yes, this candidate experience thing really does matter. And it matters to the bottom line, whether that ties to the ROI of capturing (or not capturing) top talent, or to the reputation risk and potential negative impact on both the employer and consumer brand. Companies that choose to ignore or ‘pooh pooh’ the need for improved candidate experience are indeed playing with fire.

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Candidate experience begins at the first moment of interaction a job seeker has with your company, which is why mobile optimization has become such a huge component of the equation. Jibe recently spoke with job seekers about their experience when applying for jobs via mobile, and found they not only want an optimized experience, they expect it. And if they don’t get it, they’re going to look elsewhere, as evidenced by another recent CareerBuilder survey on candidate behavior revealing that 65% of job seekers will abandon the process if a career site is not optimized for mobile.

Jibe’s mobile and desktop apply solutions address the initial phase of the hiring funnel, and have helped many a firm improve in this area. But when it comes to improving the overall candidate experience, fixing the early part of the apply process is only the tip of the iceberg. Surely another reason improving in this area continues to be such a struggle has a lot to do with the previous inability to analyze and glean useful information from a firm’s full hiring process.

Recruiting Analytics from Jibe changes all this. Enabling companies to gain real-time insight into every step of their talent acquisition funnel, Recruiting Analytics provides the ability to improve the experience all the way through, from the moment a candidate hits the career site through to the hiring point.

RA_dashboard1By analyzing the full hiring funnel, Recruiting Analytics provides companies the ability to see metrics around candidate drop-off at every stage of the application process. The ability to dig deep into the data gives talent acquisition professionals key, real-time insight into where they can streamline and improve. As an example, if a recruiting professional sees that only 26% of candidates are getting through the resume upload stage on a particular req, as is shown in this screenshot, then something needs to be done.

Maybe it’s a matter of allowing more options for candidates to upload their resume, perhaps by adding the ability to grab resumes via a cloud service like Google Docs or Dropbox, or allowing them to pull directly from their e-mail. Maybe a simple ‘copy and paste’ option is needed, or maybe the need for a resume upload can be eliminated altogether. Whatever the fix may be, providing candidates with choices and making the application process smoother will go a long way to improving their experience and mitigating the negative perception a disgruntled candidate may have.

As we move these efforts and conversation forward, let’s be sure we’re focused on a candidate’s complete experience, not just the initial interaction. A lot can be said for making sure the front door is attractive and easy to open, but if a brick wall rises up in the foyer people are still going to turn around and walk out.

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