I’ve noticed a lot of noise lately from numerous different sources about the candidate experience. Overall, it seems that people are increasingly recognising that certain aspects of traditional recruitment processes can be both onerous and demanding, and cold and impersonal. And that’s not good for the organisation and its bottom line.
Of course, the idea that offering a great experience to jobseekers and candidates during the recruitment process makes good business sense is nothing new. 73% of talent acquisition leaders surveyed for the Aptitude Research Recruitment Marketing Index 2017 identified improving the candidate experience as their number one priority when choosing recruitment software, while 38% of participants in LinkedIn’s 2017 Global Recruiting Trends report said they’d invest more in candidate experience if budget wasn’t a barrier. And yet, Indeed’s Senior VP for Marketing told attendees at Indeed Interactive 2017 that “almost 90% of people who rated their candidate experience poorly were never asked for their feedback”.
Candidates evaluate their experiences at every step of the process, from sourcing, screening, assessing, interviewing, and hiring to onboarding, with every touchpoint and communication (or lack thereof) rated by the jobseeker along the way – sometimes very publicly – and with implications directly linked to the bottom line.
An article in Marketing Week last October reported that poor candidate experience cost Virgin Media £4.4m in 2014. Citing a study by employer branding agency Ph.Attraction, it claims that “more than 130,000 candidates applied to work at Virgin Media that year, 18% of which were existing Virgin Media customers. However, as a direct result of poor candidate experience more than 7,500 candidates cancelled their subscriptions and switched to a competitor, resulting in millions of pounds in lost revenue”.
Of course, employers don’t set out to create poor candidate experiences. It’s more the case that hiring processes have not kept up with new technologies and the expectations they create. I’ve been heartened by the increased emphasis on solving this problem that I’ve seen in the last 12 months. Here are a few recent examples.
The “application black hole” is one of the biggest frustrations cited by jobseekers. AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants are receiving quite a bit of attention as a solution to this issue, and early signs are that when correctly enabled, their role in keeping candidates informed and answering basic questions throughout the process can be very positive.
Business Insider reports that “AI has reached a stage in which chatbots can have increasingly engaging and human conversations”. The chatbots can talk with applicants on employers website, but also through various social media such as Facebook chat, WhatsApp, and Slack, guiding the applicant through the application process and offering a convenient and familiar means of communicating with a prospective employer before meeting an actual human being.
Laborious application processes are also a big turn-off for candidates who’ve become used to the speed and ease of the “shopping cart” process. Seek’s “8 second applications” upgraded mobile app, launched earlier this year, connects with cloud storage systems to enable candidates to attach documents via mobile and apply for jobs or update their CVs anytime, anywhere, using their mobile device.
McDonald’s millennial-targeted recruitment process includes a Snapchat lens which enables prospective employees to send in a photo of themselves in a McDonald’s uniform. “Snaplications” then prompts “Snaplicants” to send a 10-second video submission to McDonald’s Snapchat account, after which they have the opportunity to enter a more formal interview process.
Gamification and simulations are increasingly being used to connect with talent during the recruitment process, including job simulations and game-based assessments. Organisations like Unilever are combining gaming elements with video interviews to provide a more engaging (and potentially less biased) screening experience. And of course, a multitude of companies are using game-based assessments like Revelian’s Cognify and Theme Park Hero to assess applicants’ cognitive ability in an immersive and enjoyable way.
It’s still about humans
Companies using new technology to their advantage, while continuing to focus on providing an authentic human connection to prospective employees, will deliver the best candidate experiences.
HR technology tools, whether for automating communication, enhancing application processes, objectively assessing candidate skills and characteristics or streamlining contract and onboarding paperwork, are simply that: tools. They’re about freeing recruiters and HR professionals to do less data processing and therefore have more capacity to focus their time and expertise on connecting with candidates on a personal level. Which is, ultimately, what a great candidate experience is all about.
About the Author
Kate Phillips joined Revelian in 2015, continuing a 20+ year career in B2B marketing which has spanned the HR and recruitment sectors internationally, as well as government, media, transport and construction.
Kate holds a Master of Management, Bachelor of Business and Certificate IV in Training and Assessment.
In her current role, Kate is responsible for Revelian’s international brand and marketing strategies.