The Candidate Experience is More About Process Instead of People #thecandidate

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A week or so ago I was reading my normal round of HR blogs and I can across a blog entiteld Human Resources: A People or Process Department and I thought to myself — what an interesting viewpoint. For as long as I could remember I have always read blogs about putting the human touch back into Human Resources, but now I totally disagree. Should recruiters be personable? Absolutely. Should there be processes in place to encourage a stronger candidate experience in each HR department? Even moreso.

Since HR departments already struggle with staffing doesn’t it make sense to automate processes such as the candidate experience? I don’t mean automate to the extent that every follow-up has no human element, but create enough processes where candidates feel like they’re receiving enough notifications throughout the process.

Creating Processes from start to finish

Inital Application Submittal

This should be the first point of contact an HR department should have with a candidate. In order to create an optimal candidate experience send out a notification that the company received their resume and they will review it in X amount of days. This let’s the candidate know that you have officially received their email. The automated email should have the contact information for someone whom they can contact if they have any questions. To negate the thousands of emails a recruiter could receive with the questions “When will I hear back” this email should have a timeframe in which they’re receiving a status on their application.

Updating Candidates on Status

One of the things I hate is once I submit my resume and get the automatic reply about them receiving it I usually don’t hear anything else until i’m getting a turn down letter 30-45 days out. When I am in great need of a job and I don’t hear anything about something i’ve applied for it’s not only frustrating, but it’s possible that I gave up on other opportunities because I was holding out for my dream job. If you’re going to decline me right away, just tell me. If i’m not accepted, invite me to your talent network and make resources avaliable in hopes that I might be able to get a job at your company in the future. Don’t just discard me like last nights leftovers. x

If they’re moving on, tell them what’s next

All recruiters and HR professionals should love this part. If you’ve found a candidate that has potential, let them. Follow-up via email or phone and let them know they are moving onto the next stage of the process. This step should be a given as it’s the good news follow-up.

Update on status

Once you’ve identified a candidate and moved them onto the next phase of the recruiting process you’ll want to send them an update on their status after the phone interview, in-person interview, or any other secondary stage in the process. Just keep candidates in the loop with what’s happening and the rewards will be limitless.


Have a third round of interviews? Keep updating candidates on when they’ll be notified if they’ve moved forward in the hiring process.

…and finally….You’re hired!

Each of these phases should have a process attached to it. If there’s some type of routine or automated process the candidate applying for the job will have all the information needed whether they’re going to end up being hired or if they aren’t even being considered for the position. These processes can be as easy as grouping candidaes into different email distribution lists and creating a form letter to let them know where they stand. Once the process is created you’re no longer going to be dinged for a bad candidate expeirence because you’ve communicated with them as much as possible (and necessary!).

In the end, the candidate experience is really more of a process or routine then it is about people. Of course there are some aspects where you must have exceptional people skills, but for mass hiring companies or companies who receive thousands of resumes, this is the future. The technology is out there, use it.

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell (@jmillermerrell) is a workplace change agent, author and consultant focused on human resources and talent acquisition living in Austin, TX. Recognized by Forbes as a top 50 social media influencer and is a global speaker. She’s the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource and host of the Workology Podcast.


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