A Good Candidate Experience: “There’s really no excuse not to...”

The latest meeting of the Talent Forum discussed the question 'Does your brand help or hinder your talent strategy?' Speakers from international employers such as Imperial Tobacco and fashion brand Superdry shared their insight in Bristol on April 30th - discussing the effect that their consumer brands have on their ability to attract and recruit the talent they need.

In a session that covered the recruitment challenges of a highly regulated sector like tobacco to the explosive recent growth of Superdry, the evening also touched on the importance of a quality recruitment process and candidate experience. Indeed the importance of what candidates and employees say about the employer was summed up by a definition of the employer brand offered by one of the speakers “It’s what they say about you when you are not in the room”. With the variety of social media platforms available today it’s also very important who they say it to and how they share it. All the more reason to get the candidate experience right.

When the floor was opened to questions, the topic of candidate experience came up a number of times with the main theme of the event virtually turned on its head at one point. Not so much ‘does your brand hinder your talent strategy’ but instead ‘does your recruitment process hinder your brand?'

One delegate described how one well known insurance company had not bothered to acknowledge a job application, only for the candidate to receive an insurance quote from the very same company in the post a week later. That communication went straight in the bin. Another anecdote discussed a disabled jobseeker who after having applied to a well known retailer didn’t get the courtesy of an acknowledgement - even after specifically mentioning her condition.

Views towards both employers are now negative with a tarnished ‘lack of authenticity’ felt towards them and their brands - and all it would have taken would have been a response. Even a rejection would have at least shown that they existed and avoided the feeling of the great ‘recruitment black hole’.

The reality is that a poor candidate experience undoes much of the reputation, goodwill and profitability inherent in a successful brand. With ATS technology being what it is today, being able to at least acknowledge their existence and improve the interaction between candidate and employer should not be a huge ask for HR. As one delegate put it, “there really is no excuse not to”.

Sourced from: http://www.mysteryapplicant.com/2013/05/01/a-good-candidate-experie...

Views: 624

Comment by Derdiver on May 1, 2013 at 2:06pm

Not to be picky but a "candidate" would be ok with an automated thanks for the resume reply? Thanks but you are not even remotely qualified but here is a thank you for sending me a resume?  Some onus needs to be on candidates as well IMO>


Comment by Laura Purt on May 7, 2013 at 11:17am

Thanks for sharing your views.

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on May 7, 2013 at 11:21am

At what point does an "applicant' become a "candidate"? There's a difference, no?

Comment by Laura Purt on May 7, 2013 at 11:30am

Thanks for commenting Amy. I think when it comes to the candidate experience, regardless of a person's position in the recruiting process, the approach should always be to give them the best possible experience of the company. 

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on May 7, 2013 at 11:40am

I get it Laura, I really do but it's hard to respond PERSONALLY to every single application. What is the litmus test? Derek has a great point, are automated responses - the "yes we got your resume and will call you if you're a fit" enough? Do we have a responsibility to respond to those that meet 50% of the requirements? 80%? Perfect match? I'm just not sure there's an easy answer... it feels good to say we care a lot about the candidate experience, but how do we really DEFINE what a good one is? I suppose if you take a poll of enough job seekers you'll find a wide range of "acceptable" responses from companies.

Comment by Laura Purt on May 7, 2013 at 12:16pm

There's some really poignant questions there Amy, I'm sure they're ones that many recruiters struggle with. I think one of the only ways companies can gain an understanding of what candidates consider to be an "acceptable", or hopefully an exceptional, candidate experience is to gather candidate feedback. This way organisations have a benchmark on which to work from, allowing them to build on what they are doing right and helping pinpoint areas for improvement. HR SaaS tools like Mystery Applicant help organisations do this. 

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on May 7, 2013 at 12:21pm

Thanks Laura - my company does take this very seriously and has feedback tools in place to hear from candidates - pretty impressive IMO for such a large organization. :) I've only been there a couple of months but so far we seem to really put a huge emphasis on this - which I like. It's an important issue for sure, but taking off my "company" hat and just thinking as one recruiter with a lot going on, it's quickly overwhelming. Doesn't mean we don't do our best. :)

Comment by Laura Purt on May 7, 2013 at 12:30pm

It's great to hear your company already has systems in place to measure the candidate experience! I really appreciate how difficult it must be to always provide a great candidate experience, especially in the current climate with so many people applying for every position. It's really interesting to hear about this from a recruiters perspective, thanks for commenting.

Comment by Jen Dewar on May 7, 2013 at 2:37pm

I agree with the article, actually: "There's really no excuse not to...".

Sure, the candidate isn't closely qualified for the job, that's no excuse to treat them poorly. Candidates just want to know where they stand. With all the technology available today, there's no reason you can't send an automated email that simply says, "Thank you for your application. We will be reviewing candidates over the next two weeks, and will reach out to those that most closely fit our needs. We apologize, but due to the high quantity of applications we receive, we are unable to respond to each candidate individually.". If your system allows it, also send a quick email to let them know they're no longer in the running.

Many of these candidates could have been "spraying and praying," but others may have taken the time to thoughtfully put together a resume and cover letter (and go through your tedious ATS) - and they are genuinely interested in working for your company. Those people are probably your customers and brand advocates, and you owe them some common courtesy. Otherwise, you may be hurting your brand - both employer and consumer. They may also be a great candidate - but for another position - and they will never consider your company again. And they'll tell their network not to consider your company either.

I wrote an article with some tips for effective (and easy) communication, at each step of the process: http://www.bright.com/recruiter/articles/get-great-candidates-and-h.... Long story short: just let candidates know where they stand.

Jen Picard

Marketing Director, Bright Recruiter

Comment by Laura Purt on May 8, 2013 at 5:02am

Thanks for your comment Jen.

It is so important to appreciate how actions during the recruiting process can impact an organisation over a number of levels - from talent acquisition, to sales, to the company brand. And as you say, excellent communication between recruiters and candidates is key to providing a memorable experience that will make this impact a positive one. 


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