It’s been interesting to take part in a number of discussions recently around the candidate experience and also to see the number of organisations who are placing this right at the top of their resourcing agenda in 2012. Dr John Sullivan included the candidate experience in his Top 10 Predictions for 2012 on ERE.net and Matt Alder, recently described this as one of the megatrends for next year at the UK Recruiter conference. All the noises are pointing in this direction and a number of blogs and Linkedin groups are emerging to encourage more peer-to-peer debate, but there are principally two things that stand out for me:
- What defines a good candidate experience?
- How is it being measured?
Tackling the first of these points, there are clearly some basic principles that need to be in place, but people will articulate a good candidate experience in different ways. Basic communication between recruiter and candidate is, of course, important but it also extends to behaviours adopted by the resourcing teams, employees and all the touch points that the job applicant might come into contact with during the application and recruitment process. This should also evaluate alignment with an organisation’s EVP and with a large volume applicants – many of whom are going to be rejected – this is a sizeable task.
The second point is related to the first. How do you measure the ‘candidate experience’ or indeed the job applicant experience? How are organisations measuring this important part of their employer brand and also are they tailoring this feedback to ensure their operations are in line with their EVP? If you look at the essential employer branding research that organisations invest in this will be (or at least should be) around the following:
- External Perception: This includes job seekers (both passive and active), employees with other organisations and all those who will have an opinion on and can influence the employer brand. Social platforms and community engagement channels also should be monitored for regular assessment and feedback on employer perceptions.
- Candidates: Candidates are those people who potentially could apply for a job with the organisation and they are an important and influential group. Understanding why they might apply and what the motivating factors are behind their decision making is a very important aspect of understanding your positioning as an employer in the minds of the calibre of people who are right for your organisation.
- Applicants: Those who have made the decision to actively apply to your company for a job are actively engaging with the organisation. This is a tremendously important group, not least because in most cases the majority will not be successful and will be going back out into the market place talking to their peers, friends and future colleauges about what that experience was like. Future conversations at the next job may often include a response that says, “I applied for a job with them once,” followed by an appropriate evaluation of their experience. The behaviours demonstrated by the resourcing team should reflect the organisations values and EVP through the way it communicates with applicants at all stages. Evaluating their feedback on an ongoing basis is vital.
- Employees: An organisation’s culture and brand should be driven from the people within it. This evolves from its vision and values, but should be embraced by the people who work there. This isn’t just about one off research projects, but regular evaluation and sense-checking in an accessible manner.
- Alumni: People will leave and what they say about you after they have left is as important as what they said about you when they joined.
We live in a feedback society and job applicants are as keen to give their feedback on their application experience with an organisation as they might be on other interactions they have as consumers. At the Reconverse event last week focused on the candidate experience, research showed that 89% of recent job applicants polled in a survey said they hadn’t been asked for feedback, but 84% said they shared their experience with friends and family and through social networks.
What gets measured, gets done as the old mantra goes. So the over-riding question for the discussion table is for organisations focused on delivering a great candidate experience, how are they measuring it and if they aren’t measuring it how do they know if their efforts and interventions are having the desired effect?