Check out part one of our candidate empowerment series and learn how to reshape the candidate experience.
Candidate experience has come a long way, but it still has a long way to go. As an industry, we should be proud that the period of time between first reaching a candidate and them being part of the company is nearly unrecognizable from what it was 20 years ago when candidates had no choice but to be okay with the lackluster (often times that was even a stretch) experience employers offered. However, there’s definitely room for improvement. In part one of this series, I mentioned that a staggering percentage of candidates still report that the experience leaves much to be desired. While the traditional candidate experience trend brought a number of great changes to the way we do things, it also revealed a need to revamp the candidate experience and welcome candidate empowerment. This is what I like to call candidate experience 2.0.
Candidate Empowerment Is the Next Phase of Candidate Experience
Exercising candidate empowerment means acknowledging that candidates desire to be part of the hiring process and allowing them to. Rather than being on the receiving end of your engagement efforts, assessments and decisions, they want to be active participants. The traditional candidate experience is far too one-sided and not interactive enough for today’s candidates. Part of that is due to the natural evolution of candidates becoming accustomed to a tailored experience and wanting more, but it’s also a sign of where we are as a society. The adoption of social networks and people-driven websites (those whose content is curated by the masses – for instance, Yelp, Reddit, Glassdoor reviews, etc.) has given us more knowledge to be able to make educated decisions and more of an expectation to be in control.
For recruiters, there’s an enormous opportunity to answer this call and empower candidates. There are numerous ways you can do this, starting with these key areas:
Traditionally, it’s been the job of the recruiter to reach out to candidates not only to make initial contact but also to engage throughout the process. However, that doesn’t mirror how our candidates interact with the rest of the world. They’re actively engaging through email, social networks and phone, but the thought of reaching out to or following up with a recruiter might intimidate them since this has traditionally not been an expectation. Any healthy relationship is a two-way street, including the candidate-recruiter relationship.
How do you shift the roles here? Encourage them to reach out through your social channels, careers page and in conversations and then engage when they do. Use interactive tools, such as a live video stream (Meerkat, Periscope), live webinars or Twitter chat. The key is to choose a medium that allows for two-way conversations. Lastly, use a talent network that gives them a place to confidently engage with you.
It’s a scary proposition to say that a candidate should be the one making the choice of whether or not they get a job, but in many ways, that’s how it should be. Empowering candidates to make this decision leads to better job fit and more engaged employees down the road. Yes, the decision is ultimately up to you, but they’re also evaluating the company culture and whether or not they can do the job well. The tools you provide them with to make these decisions can create a candidate that is no doubt a great fit when you make the final call, meaning less hiring regret on both sides. These tools can include pre-interview self-assessments and skill assessments, robust and easy-to-access information about company culture, clear job description and expectations and even a job match meter.
These are just two of many areas in which we can empower candidates and help them feel more satisfied with their experience.