Does our industry REALLY care about Candidate Experience?

I had an interesting conversation with someone following ERE about the lack of innovation in our industry in terms of Candidate Experience. He suggested that if a vendor really cared - they would have someone on staff solely focused on making the technology easier for candidates. After just 1 solid rebuttel's, he stopped the conversation. Cold. Seriously people - you should know by know that I enjoy a good Debate - I learn, you learn, we all win. Anyway...It got me thinking about the conference and the space and asking the question if we really do care about candidate experience.

If you look at the agenda for the ERE Expo and any other conference that I am scheduled to attend this fall - the answer is no. There are no sessions on candidate experience or applicant retention strategies or quite honestly even on talent pooling (yes, super old term - but I still believe in it!). Candidate Experience was brought up in a few sessions - but other than Adidas & Walmart - no one really seemed to have a company strategy built around it. It is nice to talk about. It is nice to think about. It makes us feel warm and fuzzy inside - but we don't really seem to care if we are doing it or not. Well, not really. You see, it is one of those hidden things in our industry that is championed and talked about by large companies (that may or may not actually do it) and agreed upon and validated by smaller companies (that rarely actually do it). Another way I know we don't really care - no one really tweeted about it beyond Fogarty's custom built interview rooms with the ugly table.

So, since there weren't a lot of session - I will give you the Sarah White break down on Candidate Experience that will work for any size company. How do I know it will work for any size company? My mind is always thinking in terms of scalability ;-)

1. Don't have bad job postings. A job description and a job posting are not the same thing. One is HR. One is Marketing. That means one is boring and one is fun. (Ok, maybe that was too far...) I think it was Shally who said to explain what it is like you were talking to his Nana. Give your value add - what makes you better than everyone else.

2. Make it easy to apply. The higher level the candidate the easier the application process should be. If you have people that have resume's applying for your positions use a solution like HRM (yes, I am partial) that allows for a direct email submission - nothing to fill out, no log in to create - just send in the resume and make the software work. If you use another solution - make it easy for them to submit - less than 3 mins MAX. (Pharma companies please listen - your apps are WAAAYYY to long - good people won't do it.)

3. Make it easy to get information. Connect with them on twitter, facebook, blogs (if you can do it right), linkedin, etc. Do a newsletter for candidates you haven't hired that sit in your database. Create a website that has RELEVANT information on it - things they really care about - not a bullet point list about your company benefits. Let them feel comfortable with you.

4. Follow up. This is really simple if you have a good ATS. Pretty simple if you have an OK ATS. Regardless, it needs to be done. Especially if you are in a consumer sales organization where every candidate is a potential buyer. Believe it or not, a candidate would much rather hear a "sorry, you aren't a fit" than nothing at all. For many people, the fear of the unknown is far worse than their fear of reality. So - send an email (automatic message) that keeps them updated on where they are or are not at in the process.

Ok, so it isn't rocket science. But if it is so simple - why isn't our industry norm if it isn't that we just don't really care.

3 more ERE post's this week before I shift my love to #Recruitfest09! Cause I gotta feeling...

Cross posted from

Views: 62

Comment by Phil Haynes on September 15, 2009 at 10:38am
Hey Sarah!
Kindred spirits. I'm a HUGE Candidate Experience advocate and was also at ERE. For your review, here are 41 companies (and growing) that actually DO care about candidate experience -

Every candidate IS either a brand ambassador or brand detractor and my organization is solely focused on helping companies realize that recruiting departments have the ability (if not the energy today) to drive incremental revenue for their companies if they take this concept seriously.
Treating the candidates you bring into your interview process (roughly 15% of the overall applicant population) gets attention only because it reflects directly on the recruiting department's ability to do their job and treat these people well. What is ignored is the 85% of appliacants who never hear from a recruiter and are cast into the black hole of recruiting. My companies are closing this hole forever and are making a difference in their candidate's lives.
Keep up the vigil - maybe together we can get companies to do more than give this subject lip service!


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