Candidate Experience: Death by Automation


Earlier this year, we posted an article titled, ‘Death by Candidate Experience.’ Quite a morbid title and we’re continuing the theme with version 2.0, ‘Death by Automation.’ Tech is great, where would we be without being able to sit on our sofa and order Wagamama’s from the comfort of our own home on a Friday night at the mere touch of a button? (Mine’s a ginger chicken udon just FYI).


Tech is also great when it comes to recruitment. If the human input is correct that is. I’m going to explore a couple of examples of what not to do and give you some very easy ways to provide a great candidate experience throughout the recruitment process.


I’ve spoken to 2 candidates in the last couple of weeks, who have told me some pretty awful an unexpected stories about leading, award winning organisations in our local area who are ‘hot’ on people and experience. Candidate A applied several times to Company A as Candidate A was extremely keen to work there. The final ‘rejection/computer says no’ email read: ‘Dear >> INSERT NAME HERE <<<,’ I’m not even kidding. No name. After several very tailored applications to receive a generic email, not even a quick call to recognise the efforts you’ve put in and that you must be very interested in the business I think, is bad enough but to see the lack of attention being paid to your name for me, is a bit on the very poor side. Award winning business, for people related stuff. Candidate A’s opinion about said company has changed somewhat to say the least and they’re not even sure whether they would want to work there after all after the poor experience they’ve had. I’m sure I’m not the only person Candidate A has told this story to either…


Candidate B, applied for role with Company B and got an interview! Yippeee! Fantastic! 1st interview came and went but so did the tumbleweed as Candidate B waited for feedback. Aha! Someone from Company B explained the businesses was having an office move and apologies for the delay. Apology accepted and Candidate B held tight, eagerly awaiting further feedback. ‘We acknowledge your application withdrawal,’ was probably an email Candidate B was not expecting to receive as part of the long awaited feedback. That’s where it ended, no call, nothing. Candidate B has not been able to get a response from anyone within the internal team at Company B. An award winning business, relying heavily on automation.


I’m making a couple of points.


1. Tech is great but don’t rely on it 100% for everything. Your recruitment process needs to have some human input.


2. Candidate experience is PARAMOUNT. Both of these candidates have now had their view on these businesses altered significantly because of this experience. Attracting talent and the general recruitment process experience led and despite the market being awash with great talent at the moment I urge you to not let this pass you by.


You can have the most expensive marketing campaign, the most amazing product BUT, if you do not do the basics in candidate experience you will fail to recruit the right people and attract talent to your business. People talk and they talk fast. A quick email or call to thank the candidate for their time goes a million miles but you cannot reverse a bad impression.


So what is ‘Candidate Experience?’


HR Technologist defines candidate experience as ‘the perception of a job seeker about an employer, based on the interaction during the complete recruitment process


Simple steps that we suggest taking to build a robust candidate experience journey:


1. Attracting Talent/Job Searching/Job Application: The digital world now means candidates see your business before applying. Social media, your website, Glassdoor, the list is endless. Ensure your channels exude who you are, what your culture is like and please, make it easy for people to apply for roles. Your careers page should be fuss free, easy to navigate and always acknowledge an application


2. The C word: So much of our client and candidate feedback at Circle states that communication was brilliant and people knew what was going on, when it was happening and why. I cannot stress the importance of even an email to acknowledge or thank someone for their time or application. If someone has been unsuccessful, please let them know and if you’re letting them know via automated email, please ensure their name if present and correct. It’s the most frustrating thing for a candidate to have their applications unanswered and it’s fairly miserable for your name to be >>INSERT NAME HERE<<


3. Engaging candidates: If someone has been successful and has an interview for 2 weeks’ time, don’t just assume that they’ve stopped their job search because they have an interview. You need to keep communicating with them to enhance their engagement and give them a good impression. This can be reminder emails or an email about who they’re meeting and some background into them and their roles within the business. Something simple, but it goes such a long way.


4. Interview prep & interviews: You must explain your process to candidates (and recruiter if you’re working with one). Ensure you have a structured interview process and framework that aligns to the job & person spec but more importantly, your company values and culture. Candidates put a lot into their interviews so explain before hand when they can expect feedback. Even an email to say thank you and you’ll have feedback within 24 hours is good. Don’t let them go 2 or 3 days without hearing anything. If you’re working with a recruiter, ensure you’re on the same page as you saying one thing and your recruiter saying another, looks messy.


5. Post interview & on-boarding: Feedback is so important, sending someone an email saying ‘thanks but no’ is not great and remember, you want them to have a good impression of the company. At Circle, for if candidates are unsuccessful when they reach the shortlisting phase, we send them a detailed report as to why they weren’t successful and suggestions for improvements and even suggestions for other types of roles or suitable environments. If you’re making an offer, this is where the rest of the on-boarding begins. Thought it started here? Nope, you’ve been on-boarding this candidate (now employee) as soon as they heard about your company. The C word comes in again, communicate, communicate, communicate. Explain how they will receive their contract, what will happen on their first day, who will greet them. If there is a month gap in between acceptable and start date, ensure you’re building that engagement and revealing more about your company culture. Newsletters, team information and profiles, team drinks, videos, company updates. Go to town on this stuff. The more you can get out the way before their first day the better, try automating contracts and other documents using an e-signing tool.


The benefits of creating a good candidate experience are phenomenal. A good reputation means people will want to work with your business, it’s a no brainer.


For more information about how Circle can help your business develop a robust candidate experience or on-boarding strategy that aligns to your culture, get in touch on 01225 685 888.


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