Candidate experience. It's a term that gets buzz in the talent acquisition/recruiting realm. There are numerous articles talking about the concept: how to identify, measure, and/or showcase what works and what doesn't.
Underneath the umbrella of the candidate experience, there are numerous moments (what I refer to as "touch points") that shape a potential new hire's perceptions on whether or not to join the team. It may be an informal conversation with a friend who works at the company, reading an online review, or interacting with an interviewer who keeps glancing at his phone, these touch points are influential in attracting or repelling great talent. When top talent has the ability to choose between a variety of employers, touch points may make the difference between an offer being accepted or rejected. Taking it a step further, a candidate can reject the offer, but still choose to be a long-term advocate or antagonist of the company. With so much at stake,touch points are powerful. Here's a story of an individual and the touch points that helped influence his final decision.
Dave was employed, but looking at exploring new opportunities. After his initial application submission for one of our open roles, we started communicating as he proceeded further in the interview process.
Through our interactions, I determined Dave to be a strong fit for the role. He scored high on the assessments he completed and his responses to my questions were detailed enough for me to be able to effectively follow his thought process. I wanted him to meet with the hiring managers and other employees to get their perspective as well. I invited Dave to come in for interviews and after coordinating the time and day, I waited to greet him in person.
That touch point never occurred. Dave reached out to me a day before sharing a personal tragedy about his grandfather being sick in the hospital. Dave needed to take the time to make sure everything was okay and was going to withdraw from the interview process.
I didn't want to lose Dave. Having already printed out his application (this was before we shifted to a digital platform), I slapped a reminder sticky note on his interview cover page to follow up. I set up an online reminder as well, but the additional physical reminder made it stronger. I let Dave know to not hesitate to reach out if he needed anything.
When his grandfather passed away, Dave took some time to grieve. At one point in our conversation, Dave asked if he could be reconsidered for the role. I quickly scheduled the next steps and throughout the process, turned into a source of encouragement and support for him. Dave enjoyed interacting with everyone and when we extended an offer, he accepted.
On the first day, I asked Dave what ultimately made him decide to accept the offer (chiming in a guess - "it must be the fun culture right?"). Imagine my surprise when his response was "everyone I met was friendly and I like the culture and environment, but it was you." I learned that after Dave's grandfather passed away, he reached out to other four recruiters/talent acquisition specialists (myself included) who he was in the interview process with. When he said "they all ignored me Allan, but you really cared...", it hit me. My touch points with Dave combined with the other touch points he had with the team lead to his decision to join us in the end.
Early on as Dave began to grow in his role, we received a letter from one of the customers he helped. He's already creating positive touch points as he builds long-term relationships with the customers.
It can be easy to get caught up in the "who cares about the candidate" mindset. After all, there are theoretically more people than there are jobs available. However, as the competition for top talent heats up, the employers that reevaluate the touch points they create and their effects on the candidate experience are the ones who will emerge victorious.
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