Claudia Faust | HRExaminer Editorial Advisory Board Member

Claudia Faust, Founding Member, HRExaminer Editorial Advisory Board Member

Claudia Faust joins the HRExaminer Editorial Advisory Board this week with a post about candidate experience. As a recruiter and leader of corporate recruiting organizations for 15 years, Claudia Faust brings her passion for people and analytics to hiring and retention. She has recruited and managed staffing organizations for globally recognized brands such as T-Mobile USA,, Microsoft, Sprint PCS, and Burger King Corporation. In 2006 Claudia founded Improved Experience to provide business intelligence diagnostics for Human Resources and staffing leaders. Full bio

Who doesn’t have an opinion about candidate experience these days? If that person exists in HR, I sure haven’t met them yet. After all, candidate experience is a good thing, right? It’s important, right? And ensuring that everyone has a great experience is the thing to do, right?

Baloney. Here’s the truth, folks: Experience happens. To everyone, whether you intend it or not. A great experience is a good thing; but a planned experience is better. I’ll go a step further: poor experience, when executed as part of an intentional strategy, is much better than a good experience that happens accidentally.

While most of us don’t deviously plan for the horrible experience of others when we create and implement hiring and onboarding procedures, there are times when that strategy can be effective.

Consider a company in which initiative and collaborative influence are key drivers of success.  An interview scenario that lets you watch an unsuspecting candidate respond in real-time to situations requiring those skills makes a lot of sense. I know a hiring manager who purposefully keeps candidates waiting for interviews until they approach the receptionist to ask about the delay.  He wants to see up-front who keeps the “project” of the interview on task, who waits passively, and how long they tolerate the situation before speaking up.  Over time, this manager has honed the test to determine that the best hires for his team ask about the delay within 10 minutes of arrival. Interesting to know that about someone on the first date, don’t you think?

Experience, whether it relates to candidates or customers, is a combination of process, communication, and hospitality.  In hiring, these elements vary from one employer to the next depending upon compliance issues, business culture, and a host of personal preferences related to those who create the process and interact with job seekers. But let’s be honest, shall we? Candidate experience exists because a business is hiring. So it isn’t really about the candidate after all; it’s about an employer’s ability to collect information, manage expectations, and make decisions in a way that positively influences revenue and profitability.

Candidate experience is best designed with a single end in mind: competitive advantage for your business. How you implement that strategy – the clarity with which you attract and screen candidates, the expectations that you set and deliver along the way, and how or when you say “Thanks, but no thanks” – that’s what creates the experience.

The bottom line is that candidates are HR’s version of customers: some you want, and some you don’t. Those really smart folks over in Marketing spend entire careers learning about customer preferences and how to influence decisions that increase loyalty and revenue. HR is just waking up to the concept that this can be applied to talent communities to improve the quality of candidate selection and retention. I say it’s about time.

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  • Gerrycrispin

    Great perspective and points you made Claudia. Especially your opening phrase that it isn’t about pleasing everyone. I would argue that ‘pleasing’ isn’t even an attribute that can be tagged to the candidate experience regardless whether your perspective is the bottom line of the firm or the quality of the decision that the candidate must make about their career.

  • Claudia Faust

    Gerry, well said that “pleasing” candidates isn’t the point at all. I like to think about the business case for candidate experience like this:

    There is ample research demonstrating the link between business revenue/profitability and customer loyalty. There is also strong research showing the affect of employee loyalty on customer loyalty. The employee relationship is established with candidates – and the strength of that relationship can be easily measured in attrition rates (behavioral loyalty) and engagement (emotional loyalty) in the first year of employment.

    You and Mark have been leading the cry in the wilderness about the importance of understanding and managing this aspect of hiring for years. It has nothing to do with “nice,” and everything to do with strategic advantage for business.

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Heather Bussing is a returning contributor to our HRExaminer Editorial Advisory Board. Heather has practiced employment and business law for...