We’ve heard it said over and over again: It’s a job seeker’s market. Companies need to hire talented people to fill new and innovative roles. Employees have the ability to be picky about the jobs they choose, so the onus is on the companies to really make an excellent first impression with their recruiting strategies and throughout their hiring process. The candidate experience sets the tone for future engagement from both the candidates you hire and the candidates you don’t.
There is one experience I will probably never forget. I sent my resume to a particular company, and had a phone interview just a few days later with a C-level executive. We had what I thought was a great conversation. I felt like we established good rapport, and we had some shared experience in our backgrounds. We had a few laughs that weren’t awkward, and I was feeling quite positive about the interview. We ended the call with clear action steps. My interviewer was to connect me with other individuals on the team to schedule another call within the week to continue moving through the interview process. Great!
I never heard from that company again. Ever. Not even a rejection email. Ouch.
I’ll never know where I went wrong in that interview. Or if I went wrong at all. Maybe the company decided not to hire anyone. Who knows?
What I do know is that candidate experience matters. Out of all the experiences I’ve had as a job candidate, none stand out so well as this one. Numerous studies by marketing experts have shown that people are far more likely to share a negative experience than a positive one. What’s worse is they’re not sharing that negative experience with the company and offering suggestions for improvement. They’re sharing it instead with friends and family and colleagues, often through social media channels. The company might never know it has an unsatisfied customer, but everyone else does. In this situation, it becomes easy for a company to lose control over its employer brand and image.
When it comes to a candidate's experience, talent acquisition experts must remember that their processes and procedures are being evaluated by the candidates just as much as the candidates are being evaluated for the position. It’s becoming easier and easier for candidates to share both positive and negative experiences. Sites like Glassdoor and Indeed are just as important to a company’s brand as its logo and website. Candidates will infer what it’s like to work for you by what it’s like to interview with you, and by what others have told them about you.
It’s a frightening prospect indeed, but employers are not at a total disadvantage. Just as the technology for sharing experiences is blossoming, so are technologies and trends that enable companies to craft a truly unforgettable experience. Video interviewing now allows for immense flexibility. Candidates don’t have to use up valuable vacation time to go on interviews. New, innovative application systems mean candidates don’t have to continually re-enter the same information multiple times. Predictive analytics allow employers to really see whether a candidate will truly be a good fit.
Learn more about the importance of the candidate experience by replaying "6 Best Practices For Achieving ROI On Your Candidate Experience Strategy," our most recent webinar. Also, participate in WilsonHCG's annual candidate experience week, in which we spur conversation among industry leaders and share best practices.
Randi Kenney is the Online Content and Community Manager for the HR Strategy & Talent Acquisition Practice at the Human Capital Institute. Prior to joining HCI, Randi has worked in marketing strategy and communications, public and media relations and project management for a variety of industries including manufacturing, financial/banking, nonprofit and consumer franchise/retail. Randi also has experience in enterprise-wide software implementation and training for B2B sales organizations. Randi's experiences in marketing and IT have demonstrated that interconnectedness and visibility are vital to an organization, and seeks to help HCI members embrace those principles as part of their HR and overall company strategy.