Your Uber is arriving and Amazon is delivering at 4pm – but you’ve no idea if you’ll ever hear back about that job
Applying for a new job is a pretty significant moment.
It means changing what you do with the majority of your time. It means changing the people you surround yourself with every day. It might even mean changing where you live.
With so much on the line, it’s a pretty stressful time – made worse by all the uncertainty. Uncertainty over whether or not you will get the job, yes. But also uncertainty around the process itself and the immediate challenge in front of you.
Did I submit my CV in the correct format? Did my email get through requesting a new interview time? Am I really a good fit? Did the company even get my application?
The simple truth is, we shouldn’t be asking these questions. Candidate experience is failing. In a world where everything is available to us on-demand whenever and wherever we want it, uncertainty is no longer something we’re willing to accept.
Expectation vs. experience
Technology has transformed consumer expectations of experiences with brands: 80% of consumers now say the experience is as important as the products or services. We expect brilliant, every time – and the lines are blurring between industries. The experience we get from the likes of Apple, Amazon and Google, we now expect from our bank or utility provider, too.
The lines are also blurring between different kinds of experiences with brands – including our experience applying for a job. Customer or candidate – it no longer matters. We are all consumers. And we expect the best. But while technology has accelerated consumer expectations, candidate experience has been left behind.
Think for a moment about stepping out the door after an interview.
The first thing you probably do is check your phone. Within seconds, you know your Uber is just a minute away. You know who rang your Ring video doorbell at home 30 minutes ago. And you know your Amazon package is arriving between 4 and 5pm. But you might have no idea when you’ll hear back about the job – if you ever hear back at all.
Brands are failing to take advantage of even basic technology to create the experience that today’s candidates consumers expect. Can your candidates apply on mobile? Do you have a basic recruitment bot for FAQs? Can candidates choose interview slots online?
The gap between consumer expectation and candidate experience is a huge problem. Technology can go a long way to closing it.
The human touch
Great candidate experience isn’t just about technology. It’s about balancing the right amount of tech with the right amount of human contact.
Technology should be used in a way to help and support hiring teams – not replace them. We don’t need more interviews run by robots. Automating processes like interview scheduling frees up hiring teams to curate the candidate experience and add value throughout the process.
That might mean being able to prioritise speaking with candidates on the phone at important moments. Having the time to spend more than five minutes preparing for an interview. Or having the headspace to spend time reviewing and refining the whole candidate experience alongside the rest of the hiring team.
Candidates in control
Creating a great candidate experience is about more than just being respectful to the people who show an interest in working for your company. It’s critical for your business.
Today’s candidates are empowered by choice. Especially the good ones. Unemployment rates are declining in high-skilled economies; global mobility is on the up, and there’s a shortage of skills in fast-moving industries. If you want to hire and retain the best people, your candidate experience has to be standout. The figures speak for themselves: people who are satisfied with their candidate experience are 38% more likely to accept a job offer.
It’s not just your hiring that’s affected by candidate experience, either. Candidates who have a positive experience with your organisation are twice as likely to want to become a customer compared to those who have a poor experience. This is impacting your bottom line as much as it’s impacting your hiring conversion rates.
Add to that the risk of bad news spreading fast and the cost to the business of an inefficient hiring process, and the reasons for taking action are starting to stack up.
The brands getting it right
It’s not all doom and gloom.
Companies like Zappos are combining tech and a personal touch to create a great candidate experience. Their pledge to get back to candidates within three business days of a CV submission, phone interview or face-to-face interview is a good example. And Johnson & Johnson is another brand getting it right, and at scale – simple and effective tech allows them to create a transparent and fair experience that puts the candidate at ease and in control.
Companies don’t have to build entire systems to get going, either. The tech is there and ready to plug in. IBM Watson Candidate Assistant is a digital assistant that uses AI to help provide information and make recommendations for candidates. Integrating with LinkedIn or Indeed is a simple way a lot of companies are managing initial applications. And software like Calendly is a simple and effective way to improve the way you control interview schedules.
Think of your candidates as customers
If I had one message for hiring teams, it’s this: put your candidates first.
Think about every single interaction. Think about how technology can work for you. And think about how you can create a great experience – one that’s simple, personal and memorable – for every single candidate.
The same rules that apply to great customer experience must apply to candidate experience: put the candidate at the heart of everything you do. If enough companies get that right, 2020 could be a transformative year for candidate experience. It certainly needs to be.