Why Can’t the Candidate Experience Be More Like This?

candidate, candidate experience, hiring, sourcing

If you are female, under 40, live in the United States, you have probably seen advertising or been targeted by the shoe company, Tieks. Tieks is an American footwear brand founded in 2008. The company is headquartered in Los Angeles and sells its shoes, exclusively through its website. Tieks feature a split-sole design, allowing the shoes to fold in half.

What is Tieks and What Does It Have to Do with Recruiting?

Because Tieks only sells online and not in stores, its marketing has to be on point which means plenty of social media activity on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. The company also uses retargeting. Photos and online ads of Tieks shoes seemed to follow me around for months after I made the decision to place an order.

Last year I took the plunge and ordered my first pair of Tieks. Starting at $175 for a pair of ballet flats, I was skeptical but decided to give them a try frustrated with my throw away Target pairs of flats that left me with sore and blistered feet during my travels to client sites and conferences. The Tieks experience they provide is almost more impressive than the shoes themselves. Last week, I ordered two more pairs of Tieks in a metallic gray and a blue color, and after processing the order, the notification below immediately arrived in my Facebook Messenger. And I thought to myself, why can’t the candidate experience be like this?

From the moment you engage Tieks, they are fun, flirty and colorful. My Pinterest feed seems to be peppered with mentions of Tieks meaning they have done a great job with advertising, engaging the community or working with online influencers and bloggers. I tend to think it’s a combination of all three. Plus, there is one more important factor outside of a quality product. They create an experience even before you place your order.

Upon placing my order, I received several types of communciation from them from Facebook Messager as shown above and several emails updating me on the status of my Tieks. I placed the order on Sunday, June 12th. My shoes will be arriving on THIS Tuesday. I don’t feel like they’ve over-communicated. I do think they have done a great job of helping to maintain my excitement since placing my order or for a candidate in applying for a job posting. How many times do you as a talent acquisition team engage, communicate or message your job seeker who has applied for the job to give them an update? Remember that only 50% of candidates have any type of communciation when they apply even if it’s automated like Tieks.

What is the Tieks Ballet Flat Experience?

When my Tieks arrive today, they will arrive in a beautiful packaged blue box topped with a flower. My 7 year old daughter will use the flower as a floral headpiece and tell me she’s a fairy princess. The package contains a handwritten note from a person who was responsible for putting my order together. Sharon tells me thank you and to enjoy. She encourages me to contact them if the shoes are too small or there is a problem. I know they mean this because I had to return my first pair because I ordered a size 10. They sent my replacement shoes even before I had returned the ones that did not fit. The new shoes arrived the next day.

Did I mention the package the shoes arrive in is lovely? It’s small, classy and reminds me how versatile and luxurious these little ballet flats really are. I wish that completing a job application or I-9 paperwork made me feel the same way.

The Tieks folks have thought of everything and know that maybe those shoes are coming off at the end of a long day walking at the SHRM Annual Conference or while traveling Rome or San Francisco. Each Tieks contains a small bag that you can  put your shoes in and literally fits inside a clutch or crossbody purse. These guys want not only make an impression but am led to believe they actually care about me as a customer. They are anticipating my every need.

It’s All About the Experience – Candidate, Employee and Customer

My order arrives and Tieks immediately messages me on Facebook and sends me a quick email update and again I think how seamless this felt. The shoes are fabulous and live up to the hype, but I wish more experiences in the workplace felt like this including new hire onboarding, the recruiting process and employee development. I wish that employers cared as much as a company who I spent $370 with because I know I am giving them more than $370 worth of productivity as a new hire. I wish that employers were willing to invest in technology or commit to a philosophy where candidates receive consistent and timely feedback whether it be in Facebook Messenger, phone call, a text message or via email about the online job application.

I believe that a single five star Glassdoor or Indeed review is worth more than $370 and yet this American based shoe company with the colorful retargeting ads and blog reviews that seem to be everywhere on social media cares more about me as the consumer than an employer where I will spend 40+ hours working every single week. My number of hours worked probably amounts to the same amount of time I will spend in my new Tieks shoes because they are so comfy and seem to go with everything including.

Yes, I really do think we as recruiters, business leaders and HR professionals can learn a little something from the Tieks candidate customer experience. The candidate experience and recruiting expectation bar may be low, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t wow our candidates and show them we appreciate and are excited for them to be our employees. Tieks, you have my business and I am working on implementing your customer philosophies at my company.

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.

Reader Interactions


  1. Shennee says

    Hi Jessica- Great post as always. I’m familiar with these shoes, but do not own a pair yet… I’ve got a lot of current experience with just how awful the candidate experience is. My husbands been in two interviews, and it’s just a huge failure.Employers really need to get it together!



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