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Improving the candidate experience

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Improving the candidate experience

  1. 1. Improving the candidate experience in recruiting © Dr. John Sullivan www.drjohnsullivan.com
  2. 2. Topics I will cover today 1. Defining the “candidate experience” (CE) 2. Negative impacts if you get it wrong 3. Action steps to improve your candidate experience 2
  3. 3. A quick definition of… “the candidate experience”? 3
  4. 4. A quick definition A quick definition of “the candidate experience” 1. A candidate’s experience begins with their researching the company and its jobs 2. It then continues through every “touch point” or interaction during the recruiting process 3. It ends after the decision is made with their lasting memory of the total experience 4. The output of the candidate experience is…how applicants now act… as a result of their perception of how well they were treated 4
  5. 5. The benchmark firms to study Benchmark firms 1. Zappos 2. DaVita 3. Microsoft 4. Facebook What makes their candidate experience good? 5
  6. 6. 10 characteristics of a great candidate experience 1. Rapid response 2. Flexible to your needs, not rigid 3. They don’t waste your time (a real opening) 4. They are honest 5. They listen 6. No unpleasant surprises 7. They solicit feedback and change as a result of it 8. They keep you updated 9. They explain why 10.A WOW you will remember 6
  7. 7. Why should recruiters and their managers care about “the candidate experience”? 7
  8. 8. If you were applying for a mortgage loan, how would you react if… The bank… lost your application If you called and… no one called back If you showed up for the loan interview and the manager… had not even read your application During the interview the manager was distracted If at the end it the interview you asked how you did? And the only answer was… will see and don’t call us we’ll call you If you were rejected and… they wouldn’t tell you what you had to do to improve 8
  9. 9. Do people remember a bad candidate experience? A quote… how long do they remember a bad one? I had an interview 20 years ago that I have never forgotten. I was then offered the job and I turned it down because even at 19, I knew that if they couldn’t treat me well during the interview, they wouldn’t treat me well as an employee. Caron Osberg on ERE.Net They never forget… and they also tell others 9
  10. 10. Candidates deserve to be treated like customers The candidate’s investments in a job search 1. Hours researching your company and job 2. Hours spent in preparing the resume 3. Hours associated with actually applying 4. Hours of preparation for the interview 5. Travel time and costs 6. Lost work hrs, $ and family time for interviews 10
  11. 11. What is your estimate of the dollar value of an applicant’s investment? “I estimate that the average professional candidate voluntarily spends or invests more than $1,000 worth of their own time and money in preparing for and participating in an organization’s hiring process. Given that level of investment, they deserve to be treated like good customers.” 11
  12. 12. “Applicants are volunteers. They are volunteering and investing their time when they participate in your selection process. Smart companies realize that fact upfront and thus, they “treat them like volunteers” throughout every step of the hiring process.” 12
  13. 13. The key lesson to learn is that… when any applicant makes a heavy investment in a selection process… you must proportionately raise the level of customer service and the “candidate experience” 13
  14. 14. Why focus on the “candidate experience”? What % of your prospects/ candidates… are also current or potential customers? 14
  15. 15. Now shifting to the possible negative impacts of the bad candidate experience Why should an individual recruiter care about the candidate experience? 15
  16. 16. Reasons why recruiters should care Impacts on individual recruiters may include: 1. The #1 reason why candidates reject offers is… 2. The loss of top candidates - the greatest impact will be on those in the highest demand, including top performers, innovators and game changers that can simply remain at their current job 3. Mid-process dropouts – frustrated individuals that do not see their “job switch criteria” being met or that encounter one of their “knockout factors” will simply drop out (lie to you why?) 16
  17. 17. Reasons why recruiters should care Impacts on individual recruiters may include: 4. A loss of return candidates – finalists that would have been hired (if a super strong candidate wasn't in the final candidate mix), will likely never reapply. Neither will “soon to be qualified” candidates that were rejected merely because they didn’t have quite enough experience 5. The loss of applicants due to word-of-mouth – friends, family and colleagues of a poorly treated applicant/ candidate will now never apply themselves 17
  18. 18. 8 reasons why recruiters should care Impacts on individual recruiters may include: 6. Loss of referrals – you will see an increased recruiter workload when many employees will simply stop” doing some of your work” (making referrals) once they hear how their highly regarded colleagues were treated 7. Higher interview drop out rates due to scheduling – because employed candidates can’t easily schedule during normal work hours 18
  19. 19. 8 reasons why recruiters should care Impacts on individual recruiters may include: 8. More hiring mistakes – confused, tired , surprised and frustrated applicants just don't perform as well during interviews. Bad hires means that later on you’ll just have to rehire for the position 19
  20. 20. Now let’s shift to… broader impacts on the entire recruiting function 20
  21. 21. Reasons why recruiting managers should care 10 impacts on the recruitment function: 1. Employer brand image damage – “others” now own your employer brand image. They can easily spread rumors, stories and recommendations against working at your firm to complete strangers on social networks and sites like glassdoor.com 2. Higher agency fees –you may need to use more agencies, because of their advanced capabilities for attracting and selling top candidates 21
  22. 22. Reasons why recruiting managers should care 10 impacts on the recruitment function: 3. You’ll need more recruiters – lower application and higher candidate dropout rates will require you to spend more on recruiters 4. You will lose quality recruiters – recruiters will be frustrated and the powerful relationships that your top recruiters built will be lost the minute that the candidate experiences the abusive process 5. Higher website drop rates – they aren’t authentic or designed around candidate decision criteria 22
  23. 23. Reasons why recruiting managers should care 10 impacts on the recruitment function: 6. Fewer global hires – a fragmented process may confuse those that are unfamiliar with Canadian hiring processes (it may offend some cultures) 7. Managers and recruiters will aim lower – because they won't really know the reason why they are not getting hires, they may mistakenly assume that “there are just no quality candidates out there” and settle for poor quality hires 23
  24. 24. Reasons why recruiting managers should care 10 impacts on the recruitment function: 8. Loss of career counselor referrals – career counselors at schools may stop referring 9. Loss of recruiting budget – when executives hear of your negative impacts, they’re likely to reduce your recruiting budget 10.As the power shifts, you will be forced to change 24
  25. 25. And finally… the business impacts of a bad candidate experience 25
  26. 26. The business case for the candidate experience Potential revenue and sales losses include: 1. Angry people mean lost sales among themselves, family, friends & their network (Especially in retail) 2. It may also indirectly hurt your product brand 3. If they work in our industry, it may hurt B2B sales 4. Loss of a competitive advantage – losing top candidates to competitors means that they get more innovation & new products, but we do not 26
  27. 27. Reasons for improving the candidate experience Two additional negative business impacts 5. Decreased retention rates - hearing friends and colleagues “badmouth” their firm will also reduce their loyalty. Some new hires may take the job because they need it but decide the minute that they accept that they will continue looking and leave at the first opportunity 6. A weakened corporate culture – because the recruiting process conflicts directly with a firm’s values (i.e. integrity, transparency and honesty) 27
  28. 28. Having a bad candidate experience could soon get much more painful with sidewiki > 28
  29. 29. What if anyone could add comments to your displayed webpage (sidewiki) 29
  30. 30. During what steps of the recruiting process do most candidate experience problems occur? 30
  31. 31. Where do most CE problems occur? 10 areas where most problems occur 1. Job postings/ descriptions – they are painfully dull and are purposely not authentic (worse than the real job) 2. The corporate website – overly corporate, not authentic and no chance to ask questions 3. Application receipt – no rapid personalized acknowledgment of every application 4. Applicant inquiries – “don’t call us, we’ll call you” attitude, applicant or candidate calls are not returned and questions are not answered 31
  32. 32. Where do most CE problems occur? 10 areas where most problems occur 5. Build a relationship - CRM software isn’t used to periodically communicate with top prospects 6. Interview scheduling – candidate inconvenience is not weighed heavily enough 7. Pre-interview education – candidates are kept in the dark about the process… including who they will interview with and why and what specifically you are processing them on 32
  33. 33. Where do most CE problems occur? 10 areas where most problems occur 8. Interviews – one-way communications, too many interviews and the same questions repeated 9. Tracking their progress -- they can’t call or track the status of their application on-line 10. After the decision – slow rejection notifications, no honest follow-up on how they did… or how to do better next time 33
  34. 34. And finally, some things to do 34
  35. 35. There are 3 possible CE outputs to aim for 3 possible results of a candidate experience include 1.You created employer brand ambassadors – the ultimate output, at this level applicants and candidates become your evangelists and a referral source 2.You created neutrals – At this level, they say little & soon forget the experience 3.You created lifelong enemies – At this level, they become a lifelong enemy and they proactively spread the word against you 35
  36. 36. Some action steps to consider Goals - set and measure these goals 1. To make each one a brand ambassador 2. To build and measure trust levels 3. To excite them 4. To sell them by making hiring a sales process… as well as a assessment process 5. To develop processes that are designed to calm their nerves and then measure whether it worked36
  37. 37. Some action steps to consider Strategic action steps 1. Make an individual accountable 2. Calculate the cost of offending candidates 3. Involve customer service in the design process 4. Identify all touch points and the problems at each 5. Learn CRM and its related software 6. Use the Internet/ technology to save time/ money 37
  38. 38. Some action steps to consider More strategic action steps 7. Use “interview Friday” to speed up the process 8. Capture their e-mail early on… so that you can ask pre-application drop-offs “why?” 9. Consider a small gift for top candidates (Checking acct) 10.Create an applicant “Bill of Rights” 11.Negotiate service-level agreements and responsiveness timelines with managers 38
  39. 39. Some action steps to consider Limit the # of applicants that you must be nice to 1. Proactively reduce the number of applicants that have no real chance (list absolute minimums, list knockout factors, list success rates etc.) 2. Prioritize jobs and focus on the critical ones 3. Search your own customer database to identify which individual applicants are also customers 39 and then prioritize them
  40. 40. Some action steps to consider Understand and listen to the applicants 1. Ask candidates what they expect during the hiring process (also tell them your expectations) 2. Ask them for their job acceptance criteria and “deal breaker” factors, and then provide information on each of them 3. Realize that global experiences must vary 4. Have a process for asking questions 5. Have a process for anonymous complaints 40
  41. 41. Some action steps to consider Individual recruiter actions 1. Develop and use a CRM/ CE checklist 2. Educate applicants about the volume, so they expect less (Google and time to fill) 3. Ask them periodically what they need “more of” and “less of ” 4. Convince managers to interview faster 5. Convince managers to avoid “death by interview” 6. Thank them 41
  42. 42. Some action steps to consider Metrics and information-gathering 1. Search social media and the Internet to find negative comments about the customer experience 2. Search Twitter/ Facebook 30 minutes after their interview to find out what they are saying 3. Survey them 6 months later to identify problems 4. Use mystery shoppers to identify problems (Publix) 5. Track and widely distribute ranked “CE” metrics and reward those that exceed their goals 6. Do postmortems on all failures 42
  43. 43. The key lesson to learn is that… When any applicant makes a heavy investment your selection process… you must proportionately raise the level of customer service and the quality of your “candidate experience” 43
  44. 44. If you were applying for a mortgage loan, how would you react if… The bank… lost your application If you called and… no one called back If you showed up for the loan interview and the manager… had not even read your application During the interview the manager was distracted If at the end it the interview you asked how you did? And the only answer was… we will see but don’t call us, we’ll call you If you were rejected and… they wouldn’t tell you what you had to do to improve 44
  45. 45. Candidates deserve to be… treated like customers Because candidates invest a lot in a job search They spend  Hours researching your company and job  Hours preparing their resume  Hours associated with actually applying  Hours of preparation for the interview Plus… travel time and costs, lost work hrs/ pay and missed family time for interviews 45
  46. 46. During what steps of the recruiting process do most candidate experience problems occur? 46
  47. 47. Where do most CE problems occur? Areas where most problems occur 1. Job postings/ descriptions – they are painfully dull and are purposely not authentic (worse than the real job) 2. The corporate website – overly corporate, not authentic and no chance to ask questions 3. Application receipt – no rapid personalized acknowledgment of every application 4. Applicant inquiries – “don’t call us, we’ll call you” attitude, applicant or candidate calls are not returned and questions are not answered 47
  48. 48. Where do most CE problems occur? 10 areas where most problems occur 5.The relationship building process - CRM software isn’t used to periodically communicate and build trust with top prospects 6.Interview scheduling – candidate inconvenience is not weighed heavily enough 7.Pre-interview education – candidates are kept in the dark about the process… including who they will interview with and why and what specifically you are processing them on 48
  49. 49. Where do most CE problems occur? 10 areas where most problems occur 8. Interviews – one-way communications, too many interviews and the same questions repeated 9. Tracking their progress -- they can’t call or track the status of their application on-line 10. After the decision – slow rejection notifications, no honest follow-up on how they did… or how to do better next time 49

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