The candidate hiring experience

Focusing on the candidate hiring experience can yield great results for your brand's perception.

Focusing on the candidate hiring experience can yield great results for your brand’s perception.

It’s All About the Experience

Customer experience. User experience. And now, the candidate hiring experience. It seems the topic buzzing around the boardroom these days is all about the ‘experience’ and for a good reason: ignoring it can cost a business their hard earned position in the market. Companies who possess an expertly planned and continually refined brand experience (which includes customer/user touchpoints and falls under the realm of branding) reap the rewards of loyal customers and an increase in sales through new business referrals.

To put it simply: take care of your customers and they will take care of you. On the flip side of that coin, if the experience an individual has with a company/brand leaves something to be desired or is just plain awful, that organization can most certainly anticipate some form of backlash online of offline. To think that experience isn’t important is foolish – no business is immune from losing customers. Even those that believe their brand or business is “the only act in town.” Savvy industry disruptors are seizing the opportunity to capture niche parts of the market not being served or not being serviced well.

A good example of this is the rate at which customers are ditching traditional cable and satellite television service providers and opting instead for service alternatives such as Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, and Roku.

Still believe experience isn’t as important as business strategists and analysts report it to be? Just ask Comcast, a major cable service provider that’s seeing its customer base decrease. There are numerous accounts of their brand experience being so shoddy in the eyes of the consumers that over on Reddit, there is a page dedicated to helping Comcast customers “cut the cord” once and for all. It would seem the monolithic provider doesn’t even bat an eyelash at the ongoing exodus of its customers, opting instead to ignore the issue. Perhaps Comcast and other giants of industry can afford to do this, but not all businesses and brands have this luxury. Does yours?

Brand Experience & Candidate Hiring Experience

The same principles behind the overall brand experience are also being applied to another area of business operations that carries great weight but is often overlooked is the candidate hiring experience. Traditionally, this touchpoint has been left to human resources or other business operations departments to manage, but is now coming under closer scrutiny.

Communications, PR, and marketing departments understand that the experience from a company and brand standpoint must be accounted for from all touchpoints – including potential new hires. This brand impression is like any other “first impression”; you’re left with one opportunity to make it positive and lasting. As a result, HR/operations is being held to a higher standard for their process delivery.

In years past and even today, many companies choose not to use this area of business operations to their advantage, but things are changing and for good reason. Top talent can be choosy when it’s time to consider a move or to put down roots. As a result, companies are investing heavily in more human-friendly applicant tracking software, working with human-centered customer experience firms and human capital/people capital strategy consultants to define/refine and deliver exceptional candidate hiring experiences.

You can take this strategy directly from the playbooks of the world’s most admired businesses who make Fortune’s Best Company to Work For list and the slew of buzzowrthy startups who have exceptional talent beating down their doors: get your candidate hiring experience down to a science!

These businesses know that each interaction matters and should be carefully considered as you build or rebuild your system and processes for talent management. The best organizations treat each potential candidate with dignity and respect. Even the biggest players in the market take the time to follow-up and follow through and to the candidates, that makes a difference.

Improving the Hiring Process

If your company is interested in reviewing its recruitment process and gathering metrics to build KPI’s to improve the performance of the HR/talent acquisition departments, consider partnering with a mystery applicant firm or deploy your own review. This was something that our company opted for.

After our initial deployment, we gained valuable insights into our processes and used this information for planning longer-term goals. In addition, we improved where it made the most sense to yield quick results through small and painless changes with little to no cost involved.

However, all the research and planning will mean nothing if the people responsible for the experience aren’t all on the same page. And that starts with keeping this one factor in the front of their minds: a job search, whether passive or active is never easy and can be a very emotional experience. Invite them to reflect back on their own collective experiences and career paths. Chances are, your team all has a story or two of their personal hiring experiences as a candidate that they will never forget – for better or worse.

This year, consider taking the steps towards making your candidate hiring experience a memorable and positive one that will guarantee that even the unhired candidates will sing praises about it and your company.

If hiring talent for over 20 years has taught us anything, it’s that great people can come from anywhere and you should never burn a bridge that you may have to cross again. Organizations everywhere have a huge opportunity to make the hiring process more people-friendly and human again; and it has been long overdo.