If you’ve started to hear “The Candidate Experience” as much as you used to hear “seat at the table,” you’re probably like me and starting to grow just a bit weary of it. It’s admirable to want to do right by our candidates. Why wouldn’t we want to treat them just as well as we treat our customers? In fact, they probably are…or will be…or could be…our customers. And I understand that every interaction with the organization – particularly with the proliferation of social media – has the potential to impact consumer and employment brand. I get that. But I think improving the candidate experience in any measurable way may not be the highest and best use of an organization’s resources. And even if you set out after it, I think most will find it’s ridiculously illusive.
So I made it my purpose to sit in the 2nd Annual Candidate Experience Awards session a couple of weeks ago at the HR Technology Conference in Chicago. I was hoping to hear something that changed my mind on this.
Sadly, I didn’t.
There was a nice panel of this year’s award recipients. All of them had interesting things to say. None of it was rocket science. And the biggest travesty: most of the things that were lauded as “leading-edge” are things that we should all be doing anyway. In a nutshell, ‘Candidate Experience’ as it’s defined today comes down to communication and transparency. It’s about how we set expectations around what a candidate should experience from the process and then how we communicate with them during that process. But this isn’t about some amazing “Experience.” It’s about “Courtesy.”
- Everyone who submits an application should get a response from your organization thanking them and acknowledging that it was received.
- Said acknowledgement should set the very clear expectation that your organization hears from countless applicants and practicality precludes you from contacting each and every candidate directly. It should commit to keeping them apprised throughout the process, though.
- The next communication they receive should indicate the disposition of their application – and that should happen in a reasonable amount of time. Either they move on to the next stage – in which case you tell them what to expect next. Or they don’t – in which case you tell them ‘thank you very much and keep in touch’.
- Give them as much information about your organization as you can muster. There is no reason to hide anything. If they don’t like something about it, they probably aren’t going to last there anyway.
- As they continue to move through the process, rinse and repeat.
- And, listen: if you have a live conversation with them at any point along the way, you should have a live conversation explaining your position on their candidacy without exception. And that needs to happen pretty quickly after you meet with them.
Most of you are doing this. Are you doing it consistently? That’s maybe the most important question. You need systems, controls, oversight, and accountability to make sure you remain committed to this. Do this well and your candidates will feel the courtesy they deserve. And that’s probably the only experience they really need.
Image Credit: rockygirl05