May 20, 2010   view past issues

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Perfecting the Candidate Experience

Oops. Sorry about that. Our message about Peter Weddle’s interview with FOX Business News on Monday provided the wrong URL. We apologize to those who visited the site dedicated to the business of breeding foxes. The video of Peter’s interview is now available on the WEDDLE’s Home Page. We hope you enjoy it.

Perfecting the Candidate Experience

Here’s the dilemma facing many recruiters today: you spend countless hours sourcing candidates on social media sites and job boards, you generate a number of truly high caliber candidates, and then you lose control. Your prospects enter the black hole of your recruiting process and before you know it, they’re either turned off or hired away by a competitor. Their candidate experience has let you down.

What should you do? What can you do?

First, it’s important to recognize that the candidate’s experience doesn’t begin when they are interviewed or visit your facility. From their perspective, the event begins the first time your organization touches them. They are engaging with your recruiting process (and often with you), from that first job posting they see or the first message you send into a LinkedIn group in which they’re participating.

Second, it’s equally as important to appreciate the impact those first touches will have. The way you source-your behavior and the kinds of information you provide-sets the tone for everything else that happens. What you do and how you do it create an expectation in the candidate’s mind about what your organization stands for as an employer.

For example, the content of your job posting or email announcing an opening explicitly and implicitly brands your employer. If what you communicate is a typical position description or a summary of a job’s requirements and responsibilities, you have informed the candidate about both the job and your organization. You’ve described the work they will do and portrayed the culture in which they will do it.

That information, however, does more than simply convey the facts. Certainly, it provides the criteria you will use to evaluate the candidate, but just as certainly, it provides them with a way to evaluate your organization. Beneath the explicit message-what you say-there is an implicit one delivered by how you say it.

In this case, the use of a position description or summary is likely to send a negative message. It may make all the sense in the world for you to use such formats. Your staff could have been downsized to the point that you’re doing the job of two or even three recruiters. That situation, however, does not alter the impact on candidates of how you are communicating. They only know how little you’ve said about how important they are, so they will likely understand your message to be that talent is not valued in your organization.

Such a conclusion may be entirely incorrect, but it is likely to be the way candidates interpret your message. From their perspective, you’ve made only a minimal effort to convince them to join your organization. You’ve informed them, but not sold them on your employer’s opportunity. Those who are unemployed or desperate for work won’t care, but “A” level talent will. And, they are likely to decide that there are other organizations where their contribution will be more valued.

Such unintended consequences degrade a candidate’s experience before you’ve even really had a chance to recruit them. As a result, the experience ends almost as soon as it begins. So, here’s the first principle of perfecting the candidate’s experience: put first things first. Get the experience off on the right foot, and you’re likely to see a much better yield at its conclusion.

Thanks for reading,


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