Customers Need Not Apply | Candidate Experience Affects Your Brand!

How much money does a poor candidate experience cost a company in lost sales and brand erosion? Can an organization be truly committed to amazing service and be really bad at candidate experience?

1. Let’s start by defining Candidate Experience by looking at its big brother, Customer Experience.

Customer experience (CX) is the sum of all experiences a customer has with a supplier of goods and/or services, over the duration of theirrelationship with tha supplier. This can include awareness, discovery, attraction, interaction, purchase, use, cultivation and advocacy….from Wikipedia.

So, let us replace customer with candidate or applicant and “supplied of goods and/or services” with Companies hiring process and we have a good idea of what we are going to try and tackle here.

Candidate Experience (CaX) is the sum of all the experiences a candidate/applicant has with a companies hiring process, over the duration of their relationship with that company.

It is important to make something clear. Candidate Experience encompasses the entire recruiting and hiring process. It also includes the people who do not get hired.

First off, I don’t live in a vacuum. I am a part of the problem and I want to be involved in the solution. Ask any in-house recruiter for a big brand company about candidate experience, they will most likely say the same thing.

Too many unqualified people apply to the job openings I manage. Therefore, there is NO Way I can get back to all of them, it’s just a losing proposition.

Guess what, they are correct. I have been fortunate to work for some of the powerhouses in their respective industries when it comes to customer service (USAA, Zappos, Rackspace). And without giving you exact numbers, I can tell you that only about 1%-2% of people who apply every get hired. Think about that for second. If 100,000 people apply in a given year, 99,000 have to be rejected.

That 99% who took the time and effort to go through all the questionnaires, forms, assessments, and redundant application forms we make candidates go through. FYI – for everyone that is not in HR, we aren’t trying to make the process painful for people. We just are afraid of being sued and don’t have the budget for a UI or UX person.

Now What? I’m talking to you Hiring Managers.

Take a really good look at your application process. When is the last time your leadership team has anonymously gone through your external hiring process? What about going through your competitors process? Now think about all the times recruiters are asked to open a job and post it only to be told a month later, “never mind”. Think of all the fathers, mothers, sons and daughters who took the time to apply. And for what?

We need to change the way we think about this process!

Imagine a company that would publish fancy product pages and promote this product page for all the world to see. This product was so expensive that a loan application was part of the buying process. Now imagine that company taking down that product page 90 days later without warning. An generic email template is sent to the hundreds of people who took the time to reply to the promotion and filled out the entire loan application letting them know that there was actually no real product produced in the first place. Of course this email is sent from an anonymous email address that has (Do Not Reply) on it.

Now imagine this company doing this exercise hundreds of times a year.

Let the Healing Begin

The first step is to admit you have a problem. It really doesn’t matter why the process is broken (that topic deserves its own blog post). Let us start the discussion on solving this problem.

Good Questions for Organizations to ask themselves:

1. What does our rating on Glassdoor have to do with our brand & bottom line?

2. What percent of your applicant flow are current or potential customers?

3. What metrics are in place to measure Candidate Experience? (Not just the candidates that interview or get hired)

4. How can we turn the 99% of people that don’t get the job into raving fans?

Ok, my rant is over – Me write pretty one day! So sorry for any misspelling and the 6th-grade grammar errors.

This topic has a lot of moving parts and I realize that I did not cover everything. I hope this was valuable to you and I would love to hear your thoughts.

The blog post represents my opinions only. Leave a comment.