Recruiting: Improving the Candidate Experience
There it is, the job of your dreams, at the company you always wanted to work for. You are ready, willing, and able to apply. You’ve prepared a great resume, honed your interview skills, created physical and online portfolios, and examples of your technological and online skills. You go through all the steps, checking your status every day. “No Phone Calls, please,” seems to be the mantra as your resume disappears into that black hole of the Human Resources Department, along with your perfect job.
Applying for a job was so simple years ago. You walked into a company, filled out an application, and occasionally were asked for a resume. Then resumes became the norm, even for jobs that never required them before. Then technology made it easier than ever for Human Resources departments to create sites for recruiting. They could now use technological tools to vet resumes from job applicants before deciding on whom to interview.
Candidate Frustration and Social Media
Nothing can be more frustrating for a job seeker than wondering if you are being considered or have disappeared in the company’s computers. When the job market was a buyer’s market, companies felt justified in keyword vetting to wade through the enormous amount of resumes they received for each position. Now recruiting has changed, and companies realize they now have to treat candidates differently in order to recruit and retain the best. The latest trend is to create satisfying employer/candidate experiences by utilizing the talents of the marketing and customer service departments in cooperation with human resources.
Future Workplace and CareerArc, a global outplacement and recruiting firm, did a study in 2016 that revealed some startling findings. Nearly 60 percent of 826 job seekers had an inferior candidate experience. Unlike the past, 72 percent of these candidates shared their experience online. It is a frustrating experience when only 61 percent of employers even notify candidates when they are not being considered. Sixty-five percent of job seekers say they never or rarely receive any notice about their status.
What is the number one area where candidates want to see improvement? It is timely communication throughout and after the application process. Surprisingly, 70 percent of employers don’t even check online reviews of the candidate experience and only 25 percent request feedback on the process from candidates. This creates a disconnect between the employer and candidates.
Improving the Candidate Experience
Virgin Atlantic recently realized the value of creating a candidate experience that resembled the customer experience. Candidates are also customers, and a bad candidate experience can lead to revenue and customer losses. What does Virgin do differently?
- Design an authentic candidate experience based on research, understanding, and love
- Quantify and measure the current cost of the candidate experience
- Map each step in the current candidate experience
- Storyboard the candidate experience
- Measure the candidate experience in real-time
- Always put candidates first
It is not just the recruitment of new employees that has companies reviewing its policies. Retention and engagement of the best and brightest are becoming more important as the economy provides increased job opportunities for current employees outside the company.
In another study, 83 percent of human resources professionals stated employees’ experiences are important or very important to their company’s success. To achieve a mutually beneficial experience these companies are investing more in training (56 percent), improving their workspace (51 percent) and giving more rewards (47 percent). Companies such as IBM use people analytics to predict whether a key employee is at risk of quitting, notifying their managers so they can intervene before the person leaves the company. This tool alone has saved IBM more than $130 million.
Technology has streamlined the application process for candidates and human resources professionals. But it has not improved the process. Based on the statistics, it seems candidates do not feel respected or valued when the candidate communication process breaks down or is non-existent. Human resources professionals who are under the gun to select the best candidates might rely too much on vetting protocols that exclude stellar candidates. While we can’t go back to the walk-in application process, finding a balance between technology and the human side of recruiting and retention can lead to satisfying outcomes for both employers and their future workforce.
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