Improving Recruiting Function Performance by Systematically Managing the Candidate Experience

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Dr. John Sullivan's presentation from the ERE Expo Spring 2010.

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Improving Recruiting Function Performance by Systematically Managing the Candidate Experience

  1. 1. Improving Recruiting Function Performance… by Systematically Managing the Candidate Experience Convincing the CFO to fund your CE program ERE Spring March 17, 2010 © Dr. John Sullivan www.drjohnsullivan.com
  2. 2. Dr. Sullivan’s current books On-boarding HR Strategy Productivity Metrics Recruiting Employee referrals Employer Branding Recruiting tools
  3. 3. My three goals 1.  To make you think… and to realize once and for all how bad you actually treat your applicants 2. To provide you with ammunition, so that you can make a convincing business case to the grumpiest CFO, so that they will provide you with the necessary funding to improve your candidate experience 3. To answer all of your questions 3
  4. 4. Please feel free to interrupt to ask a question or to provide your own experience at any time. 4
  5. 5. Candidate experience topics 1.  A definition of “a candidate experience” 2.  Quick indicators that you might have a problem 3. What are the characteristics of great customer service 4. The 12 elements of a great candidate experience 5. Possible program goals and targets 6.  Making the business case for a great candidate experience 7. Some action steps to consider 8. Additional questions 5
  6. 6. The long term cost of a “bad candidate experience” A quote… demonstrating that they never forget 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 6
  7. 7. What exactly do we mean by the “candidate experience” 7
  8. 8. The definition of a “candidate experience” Definition 1. The perception of how well both new hires and rejected applicants were treated by the firm during each “touch point” of the recruiting process 2. The process begins with researching the company and its jobs, and ends with their lasting memory of the total experience after the decision is made 3. The candidates perception, whether pos. or neg., will invariably be rapidly spread to others 4. CE may impact future product sales, your employer brand, retention rates and the ability to attract top-quality candidates in the future 8
  9. 9. “Snapshot indications” that you have problems 11 obvious signs of a bad “candidate experience” 1.  Job descriptions are painfully dull (worse than the real job) 2. Your website has only positive information 3. No CRM software in use 4. No personalized acknowledgment of every app. 5.  Schedule multiple interviews during their workday 6. Can’t track the status of their application on-line 9
  10. 10. “Snapshot indications” that you have problems 11 obvious signs of a bad “candidate experience” 7.  You lie to them in your rejection letter about the actual reasons why they were rejected 8.  You don’t search the Internet to find out what they are saying on Twitter 1 min after your interview 9.  An average recruiter requisition load of 40+ 10. Don’t track if an applicant is also a customer 11. You literally tell them… “don’t call us, we’ll call you” when they want to know their status 10
  11. 11. The key to developing your own great candidate experience… is to benchmark and learn from the very best non-HR customer service processes 11
  12. 12. Who are the very best customer service firms? Benchmark firms 1. The DMV 2. Zappos 3. Amazon 4. FedEx 5. The Ritz-Carlton What makes their customer service so great? 12
  13. 13. Who are the very best at customer service? What elements make their service so great? 1.  Rapid response 2.  Flexible to your needs, not rigid 3. They are honest 4. They listen 5. No unpleasant surprises 6. They solicit feedback and change as a result of it 7. They keep you updated 8. If they can’t do something, they explain why 13
  14. 14. Be careful. You need to set your customer service levels based on the the level of investment that an applicant to your process must make 14
  15. 15. Identifying the equivalent experience to benchmark What are the 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 interviews15
  16. 16. 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.” 16
  17. 17. Identifying the equivalent experience to benchmark What other “application experience” requires the same level of investment on the applicant’s part? 1. Ordering a Starbucks coffee 2. Visiting someone’s house 3. Your kids applying to their “dream” college 4. The mortgage loan application process 17
  18. 18. Finding an equivalent employer brand to benchmark  BTW – when developing your employer brand, you can only learn from those brands that require the equivalent level of “decision investment”  Obviously not Starbucks, Disney or Nike  But instead, the same high level of investment in the decision that you put into picking your kid’s college or where to invest your 401k pension money 18
  19. 19. Let’s now use the loan application process as a guide… to identify the kinds of customer experiences that all applicants expect 19
  20. 20. Identifying the equivalent experience to benchmark Loan application steps are the same as job apps. a. Research the firm b. Prepare an application c. Schedule and participate in an interview d. An assessment process where the candidate waits e. An offer is made f.  Actions after the acceptance/ rejection 20
  21. 21. Identifying the equivalent experience to benchmark Using loan application steps as a guide, at each step, what would an applicant’s expectation be? The first application step is… a) Research the bank What you should expect – 1.  Information that is easy to find… with no lies or omissions 2.  A reasonable chance of getting a loan (no loan freezes) 21
  22. 22. Identifying the equivalent experience to benchmark Loan application Step Two b. Prepare support documents, fill out the forms and apply What to expect – 3. No surprises – Explain the process and what factors you are assessing them on 22
  23. 23. Identifying the equivalent experience to benchmark Loan Application Step Three c. The interview What to expect – 4. Schedule – Find out when is the best time for you 5. Listen – Allow them to comment & ask questions 6. Answer questions - Answer applicant’s questions rapidly and honestly 7. Focus – Managers will devote time to the process and be focused during interviews 23
  24. 24. Identifying the equivalent experience to benchmark Loan Application Step Four d. The assessment process, during which the candidate waits What to expect – 8. Updates – To provide progress reports/ updates so you know where you stand and what time is remaining 24
  25. 25. Identifying the equivalent experience to benchmark Loan Application Step Five & Six e. An offer is made f. Actions after the decision to accept/ reject What to expect – 9. Feedback – Honest feedback so they can improve 10. Complaints – Have a complaint procedure 11. Measure – The bank gathers data on… loan applicant satisfaction, their future revenue contributions and what they say on the web 25
  26. 26. Based on what we’ve learned from the loan application example… there are the 12 key elements of a great candidate experience 26
  27. 27. The 12 critical elements of a candidate experience 1.  “Touch point” – Identify each major one 2.  Info – Provide current transparent information that they desire… with no deceit or hiding 3.  Real chance – Only post jobs where outside applicants have a realistic chance 4.  No surprises – Explain the process and tell them what you are assessing 5.  Wasted time – Respect an applicant’s time and interview availability 6.  Listen – Allow them to comment and ask questions on a periodic basis 7.  Answer questions – Answer an applicant’s questions rapidly and honestly 27
  28. 28. The 12 critical elements of a candidate experience 8.  Focus – Managers must devote time to the process and be focused during interviews 9.  Updates – Provide progress reports/updates 10. Feedback – Honest feedback so they can improve 11.  Complaints – Have a complaint procedure 12. Assessment – Gather data on applicant and hiring manager satisfaction, product purchases and web comments 28
  29. 29. 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” 29
  30. 30. “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.” 30
  31. 31. What are the goals or targets of a program designed to improve the candidate experience 31
  32. 32. The goals of a great candidate experience program Over-all goals of a great candidate experience: 1.  Excite candidates about the job 2.  Calm candidates, so they perform the best 3. Build trust, so they believe what we say 4.  Sell them, so they are more likely to say yes 5.  Increase our image as a great employer 6.  Increase sales 32
  33. 33. The three levels to aim for The three levels of a candidate experience to target 1. Employer brand ambassadors – At this level, they become your evangelists and a referral source 2. Neutrals – At this level, they say little & soon forget the experience 3. Lifelong enemies – At this level, they become a lifelong enemy and proactively spread the word against you 33
  34. 34. Making a compelling business case for improving the candidate experience, at least in key jobs Let’s start with direct revenue losses 34
  35. 35. 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 35
  36. 36. Now let’s shift to significant recruiting and retention impacts 36
  37. 37. Reasons for improving the candidate experience Negative recruiting impacts may include: 1. The #1 reason why candidates reject offers is… 2.  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 3.  Reduced employee referrals – as employees hear how their highly regarded colleagues were treated, referrals will nose dive (23%) 37
  38. 38. Reasons for improving the candidate experience Negative recruiting impacts may include: 4.  Top performer mid-process dropouts – the greatest impact will be on those in the highest demand, including top performers, innovators and game changers 5.  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. As will “soon to be qualified” candidates that were rejected merely because they didn’t have quite enough experience 38
  39. 39. Reasons for improving the candidate experience Negative recruiting impacts may include: 6.  The loss due to candidate’s word-of-mouth – friends, family and colleagues of a poorly treated candidate will now never apply themselves 7.  More hiring mistakes – confused, tired , surprised and frustrated applicants just don't perform as well during interviews 8.  Higher interview drop out rates – because employed candidates can’t easily schedule during normal work hours 9.  Higher website drop rates – they aren’t authentic 39
  40. 40. Reasons for improving the candidate experience 16 negative recruiting impacts include: 10. 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 11. Loss of quality recruiters – recruiters will be frustrated and the powerful relationships that your top recruiters built up with candidates will be lost the minute that the candidate experiences the abusive process 40
  41. 41. Reasons for improving the candidate experience 16 negative recruiting impacts include: 12. Fewer global hires – a fragmented process may confuse some candidates that are already unfamiliar with Western hiring processes and it may actually offend candidates from some cultures 13. Loss of career counselor referrals – career counselors at universities may stop referring 14. Weakened corporate culture – because the recruiting process conflicts directly with the values of integrity, transparency and honesty 41
  42. 42. Reasons for improving the candidate experience 16 negative recruiting impacts include: 15. Legal issues – having a confusing experience that doesn't consider individual candidate needs might result in an adverse impact among certain protected groups (ADA) 16. Loss of recruiting budget – when executives hear of your negative impacts, they’re likely to reduce your recruiting budget 42
  43. 43. Reasons for improving the candidate experience 17. Decreased retention rates  Because your current employees will find themselves working alongside weaker new-hire replacements, they will have less reason to stay  In addition, 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 43
  44. 44. Reasons for improving the candidate experience Other reasons to improve include: 18. As the power shifts, it becomes a necessity 19. It doesn’t really cost any more to do it the right way 20. CRM is easy to learn 44
  45. 45. And finally, some action steps to consider 45
  46. 46. Some action steps to consider 20 Action steps 1. Make an individual accountable 2. Calculate the cost of offending 3.  Prioritize jobs 4. Ask candidates what they expect and their job acceptance criteria 5.  Proactively reduce the number of applicants that have no real chance (list absolute minimums, list knockout factors, list success rates etc.) 6. Realize that global experiences must vary 46
  47. 47. Some action steps to consider 20 action steps 7.  Involve customer service in the design process 8.  Educate applicants about the volume, so they expect less 9.  Learn CRM and its related software 10. Use technology to save time and money 11. Develop an anonymous complaint process 12. Have a process for asking anonymous questions 13. Do postmortems on failures 47
  48. 48. Some action steps to consider 14. Use mystery shoppers to identify problems (Publix) 15. Avoid “death by interview” 16. Capture their e-mail early on… so that you can ask pre-application drop-offs “why?” 17. Thank them and consider a small gift (Checking acct) 18. Survey them 6 months later to identify problems 19. Track and widely distribute ranked “CE” metrics and reward those that exceed their goals 20. Create an applicant “Bill of Rights” but also tell candidates what you expect of them 48
  49. 49. Did I make you think? How about some more questions? www.drjohnsullivan.com 49

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