Leading brands are starting to turn a corner towards candidate centricity. If you begin the journey now, you will be placing your brand miles ahead of competitors.
It was over 100 years ago that Henry Selfridge coined the phrase “the customer is always right” – yet it it’s one we’ve heard time and time again since. Although Selfridge’s message still rings true today, in 2016 we’re aware that it pays off to value our customers. So, why have even the world’s most successful brands drawn the line there? It’s time for leading brands to think on a broader scale, and start to devise candidate experiences with real consideration.
In a recent survey, Rullion found that only 3% of those asked could say that ‘quality of candidate experience’ was one of their recruiting metrics. The surprising reality is that even the world’s most successful brands have been missing a trick; they’ve been focusing more on customers, and letting candidates (who are often also customers) fall into the abyss.
While working with Virgin Media on their recruitment process, we found that a significant amount of their unsuccessful candidates were also customers. In fact, we found that 18% of Virgin’s were candidates were customers and following poor candidate experience, it didn’t take long for these customers to begin the search for similar services elsewhere. Strikingly, approximately 7,500 of the total number of applicants switched to a Virgin Media competitor afterwards.
The ingredients of a great customer experience and a great candidate experience are closely interwoven. With that in mind, I was interested to delve deeper and explore how we can start making the transition to achieving candidate centricity.
Finding candidate centricity
If we shift perspective and think about the journey of the candidate, it becomes much easier to realize the importance of valuing our candidates. When you’re on the recruitment side of the process, it’s easy to forget that your candidates have taken time out of their day and chosen to interact with your brand over your competitors, just like your customers do on a regular basis.
Think back to your past experiences as a candidate. I’m almost certain that you wanted a simple journey that takes you through the process as efficiently as possible, providing you with useful feedback wherever possible. It may sound obvious, but most brands just aren’t giving their candidates the experiences that they’d want themselves. We all know the feeling of thinking a job interview went well, being rejected and just to make matters worse, not receiving any valuable feedback. It’s pretty soul destroying, right? So, if we are striving to be high-quality brands, we can’t show our candidates this lack of thought and care.
The primary goal of all aspirational brands should be to ensure that your candidates want to tell the world how great their experience with your brand was. If they didn’t get the job, what were the bonuses of their experience? Did they like the staff they met? Did they feel inspired by a glimpse of your brand culture? If their experience from beginning to end was enjoyable, unsuccessful candidates may be disheartened, but they’re likely to reapply in future…and spread the word.
Crafting your candidate experience
So, where do we start? It’s imperative to craft an experience that ensures candidates are guided smoothly along the journey with consideration and ease.
Mapping your candidate’s journey enables you ensure that your candidates are always moving further along the process. Each moment of the process matters; candidates shouldn’t stop still at certain points to rethink their decision. If your candidate experience is up to scratch, they should always be looking around the corner, hoping to move closer to the finish line and work with your brand.
There are four key elements of candidate experience mapping to follow. At Ph.Creative, we implement these to help our clients achieve a better candidate experience process. So, let’s take a look…
Just like your customers, you need to identify how your candidates will feel every step of the way.
The way candidates feel influences the rest of their decisions. You can’t expect candidates to continue along the journey unless they feel comfortable, assured and valued every step of the way.
What are your candidates thinking? As a brand, you should be helping them through their journey by keeping in touch where possible and letting candidates know how far along the process they actually are. If you’re placing yourself in the shoes of your candidates, they should never be left to chase up feedback themselves.
Whether it’s a short personalised email to let them know, or a more technical process, it’s essential to keep your candidates in the loop.
How smooth is your candidate experience? It’s simply not worth risking the loss of high-quality candidates because your application process put them off. You’ll kick yourself afterwards, so it’s worth getting it right from the beginning.
Place yourself in your candidate’s shoes. If you wouldn’t be happy filling in the application, the chances are, they won’t be happy with it either. If high calibre candidates are unsuccessful first time around, you want to keep them closer to your brand than further away. So, if they’ve been eased along the process, they’re likely to reapply in future, and keep in contact.
Fundamentally, to stop high calibre candidates from falling away into the abyss, your candidate experience must be memorable. In the war of talent, it’s only going to get busier, so it’s imperative to stay ahead of the game.
This means it’s key to leave a lasting impression. The candidate journey doesn’t stop the moment a candidate leaves an interview or receives some feedback, high-quality candidate experiences show candidates consideration afterwards. These moments of magic are what really sets brands apart.
Whether you’re a customer or a candidate, we all like to feel as though brands have gone the extra mile for us. Whether it’s a free gift or an unexpected message on social media, your brand should be devising the best, most suitable way to sprinkle some magic on your candidate experience.
If you achieve this, there’s no doubt that your brand will be ingrained in your candidate’s memory, elevating you up to the top of the ladder.