Your Candidates Are Also Your Customers

According to Brandon Hall Group’s talent acquisition research, nearly 50% of companies identified “improving the candidate experience” as their top priority. No surprise since candidate satisfaction directly impacts employer branding, quality of hire and retention efforts. It seems simple: when your candidates are happy, you are more likely to attract top talent.

So, why are so many companies still struggling in their efforts to improve the candidate experience? One reason is that many of these companies do not have a strategy in place or a way to measure their success in this area. Also, they are still relying on antiquated technology and tools that do little to improve candidate interaction. Clearly, candidate experience is still an area of great opportunity.

Last week I attended HCI’s Strategic Talent Acquisition conference where I participated in a panel discussing strategies for improving the candidate experience moderated by Joe Essenfeld, CEO of Jibe. Heather Tinguely, Program Manager, Global Talent Labs, Microsoft; and Semi Trotto , Executive Director, Talent Acquisition, Bristol-Myers Squibb, were also on the panel and shared their expertise and best practices for driving a strategy around the candidate experience.

Below are a few of the themes and key takeaways from the session:

  • Candidates are Your Customers: Above all else, organizations must change their mindset about recruiting candidates. They must put the same rigor and investment into the candidate experience that they put into their customer experience programs. For many industries (such as professional services, retail, hospitality, and healthcare), candidates are potential customers.
  • Measurement Matters: The idea of measuring the candidate experience is still very new for most companies. In our talent acquisition research, over 50% of organizations are not measuring and those that do, only measure at a single point in time. Evaluating the candidate experience should happen in real-time and continuously throughout every stage of talent acquisition.
  • Don’t Forget the Small Stuff: Heather provided a great example of how Microsoft includes very small initiatives in its candidate experience movement. For example, candidates are given a yellow name badge when they come in for an interview. Every employee at Microsoft is encouraged to greet these candidates, welcome them and wish them luck.
  • Invest in Innovative Technology: Research indicates that the most common tools for improving the candidate experience include talent communities, mobile solutions and social media. As new solutions providers continue to enter the talent acquisition market, investing in technology that provides a positive candidate experience must be paramount. Organizations are beginning to rethink their traditional talent acquisition systems and move forward with more innovative providers.

We are excited to launch some of our research on the candidate experience this summer. Stay tuned….

Madeline Laurano, VP Talent Acquisition Practice and Principal Analyst, Brandon Hall Group

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