Improve Recruiting with Tailored Candidate Experiences
Reading time: 6 mins
Candidate experience is the first window into the internal workings of your organization for many people. It impacts who you can hire and how those you ultimately hire view themselves within your company, and it should be viewed similarly to how companies approach employee experience. In this environment around The Great Resignation, where companies see employees seek new employment at higher rates, candidate experience becomes even more critical.
We spoke with Cliff Jurkiewicz, VP of Global Strategy at Phenom, about the concept of candidate experience recently. Phenom works with clients to improve and automate recruiting and candidate outreach. For Jurkiewicz, the model for providing meaningful candidate experiences is their experience in their daily lives.
“An important piece of candidate experience is making sure you are always looking at what candidates are doing as consumers and trying to replicate that because the habits are already built-in,” Jurkiewicz says. “You don’t have to retrain, just build on that and deliver.”
How Companies Can Do Candidate Relationship Management Better
Every company wants to create that excellent candidate experience, but many fall short. What are those companies doing wrong? It starts with the approach, according to Jurkiewicz. He says organizations tend to start with the assumption they can leverage the same product and service marketing principles for recruiting.
“There may be some overlap there, but people aren’t products,” explains Jurkiewicz.
Companies also often struggle telling concise stories, he adds. For example, there isn’t a long time to capture the attention of a potential candidate visiting a career site—he estimates 8-12 seconds—so an organization needs to convey why it is a great place to work in a very short time. Jurkiewicz says taking an “outside-in” approach can help companies relate their stories concisely by thinking of the candidate relationship of how your organization is going to help them find meaningful work, rather than the traditional thinking of simply trying to find one person for one role.
That leads to the big recruiting question for many companies: Do you have an attraction problem or a conversion problem? Jurkiewicz says most have the latter, meaning they are getting potential candidates to see their recruiting site, but those visitors often leave without further engagement.
It’s not uncommon, he explains, for a company to get 100,000 hits to their job site but only 2,000 applicants. This low conversion rate leads them to try point solutions that may help boost conversion but ultimately cause data stream issues because they don’t fully integrate with your core recruiting solutions. Without that data, you won’t know where your process is succeeding, where it is struggling, and where potential candidates are ejecting.
Taking a more holistic approach to the candidate experience, rather than plugging gaps here and there, will help lead an organization to a more lasting and successful process and help them identify technologies that integrate and provide the right data to make the best decisions.
Tying Candidate Experience to Employee Experience
That new mentality of trying to guide an employee to where they may fit best in a company leads to an interesting idea that Jurkiewicz posits: Organizations should design candidate experiences not for those who are going to get the job, but instead for those who are not going to get the job.
Typically, the first email that a candidate receives from a company is a rejection or no communication at all. In that case, they are never coming back, says Jurkiewicz. However, suppose the application process is personalized no matter the applicant, and the overall experience is positive even for those that get rejected. In that case, that sends a good message to those that eventually do get hired. According to Jurkiewicz, they have a good relationship with the company from before they enter the door, which leads to greater talent retention.
In addition, those rejected may still leave with a good impression of the company, which means they may return to apply for future roles. So that relationship has not been lost entirely.
Strategies for Improving Candidate Experience
Solving candidate experience is more than just installing the latest technology, Jurkiewicz says. Once turning on a new product happens, the real work begins—or should have already started. That’s the change management and adoption part of the equation. That’s evaluating where you need to change from the perspective of process, skills, and resources to improve your candidate experience.
“All those angles have to be considered because we want those candidates who are knocking on your front door to feel passionate about the work you are offering and feel that connection. That requires change,” says Jurkiewicz.
He adds that change must come at a consumable and scalable rate. So often, when companies change at a rapid pace and something goes wrong, they blame the software and say it doesn’t work. Jurkiewicz says that’s typically not the case. The reality is there was just too much change happening at a pace the organization couldn’t handle, and processes ultimately broke down in part because of a lack of adoption.
How Companies Benefit from Improved Candidate Experience
Jurkiewicz points to one Phenom client, an airline, which rolled out a chatbot with artificial intelligence to automate interview scheduling. This automation saved many back-and-forth emails for recruiters and candidates, instead allowing candidates to schedule interviews without an email at all.
This automation put serious time back in the hands of the airline’s recruiters—they estimated 2.5 days of work each week was spent on interview scheduling and now can be put towards other recruiting efforts, a total of 24,000 hours saved last year.
“That was time that they were able to put back into recruiting functions,” says Jurkiewicz. “It’s people connecting with other people versus managing systems.”
Additionally, Jurkiewicz has observed clients on the SAP’s recruiting modules double lead generation and raise conversion rates—the rate at which a visitor to the recruiting site applies to a job—from 9-16% up to 75-85%. This jump is attributed to better candidate experiences often driven by automation.
What Does This Mean for SAPinsiders?
With employees looking around for new opportunities at a greater rate, your organization needs to be able to not only provide great experiences to retain your current staff but add talent that may have been previously unavailable. That’s where extending your employee experience to the candidate level becomes essential—to set a positive tone and not only attract candidates but convert them into applicants and employees. If you are looking to build great candidate experiences, consider the following from our conversation with Jurkiewicz:
– Build candidate experiences for those that don’t get the job. Applying to a job and receiving only a rejection letter can leave a sour taste in a candidate’s mouth. However, building an experience that guides candidates to the best opportunities and gives them a tailored feel could leave them with a more positive feeling even when they don’t get the job. If they feel better about the candidate process, they will feel better about your organization overall and potentially re-apply in the future.
– Be concise and remember candidates are people, not products. Candidates will click to and from recruiting pages in a hurry—spending only seconds to see what a company is offering. That means your page needs to tell a story concisely, and that tailored process needs to begin immediately upon their visit. If they feel guided to a role rather than screened, they are more likely to apply.
– Automate where you can for serious results. How manual is your talent acquisition process? How many emails do your recruiters send? Automating tasks such as interview scheduling can save significant time and give your recruiters more opportunities to connect with clients rather than spending upwards of 60% of their time making schedules work. In addition, more attention for the candidates from recruiters will lead them to feel valued and happier about their recruitment process.