“In our industry most activities for a better candidate experience are scratching the surface. They are well meaning but they don’t change the process, they don’t change the piping.” - Felix Wetzel

Do you want to improve the candidate experience? Change the process. Change the piping. Change the candidate journey.

Among the many reasons Amazon has become a consumer juggernaut is the way it has restructured the supply chain to deliver products at incredible speed with hardly any errors, and its no-questions-asked return policy.

We are now used to liberal return policies and next-day delivery, to the point where consumers now expect them as a standard and are now adopted by many other retailers. Changing the process and piping lead to a changed consumer journey and therefore an exceptional consumer experience. Amazon isn’t unique. Virgin did the same for air travel. They all understood frustrations we humans experience in their specific industry sector and they had the vision and the guts to make changes to the fundamental processes and the underlying piping. Not only for exceptional consumer experience but paired with the ability to scale their businesses significantly and whilst maintaining standards and culture.

What’s happening at the moment?

In our industry most activities for a better candidate experience are scratching the surface. They are well meaning but they don’t change the process, they don’t change the piping. They take features that worked well in the consumer space, say ‘one-click purchase,’ and literally translate it to ‘one-click apply.’ This seems to initially speed up the candidate journey but unless the underlying processes and piping haven’t been changed as well, it the unintended consequence of slowing the process even more so. The reason?

Talent Acquisition teams are not equipped to deal with the influx of activity and the increasing lack of information. Instead of an increase in the speed of application, it slows as another loop has been introduced: recruiters have to go back to the candidate to ask for the traditional resume, so they can process them through the existing system. That’s not only frustrating for the candidate but also to the recruiter and puts a stake in the heart of growth and scale. There are other examples, from social media engagements, talent pooling and employer branding that often introduce more complexity instead of representing a simplification.

What requires fixing?

It starts with understanding frustrations and listening to expectations. We all know them, we all have read several white papers and listened to many a keynote about candidate frustrations.

Just in case you need a reminder:

  • 70% of candidates expect to be contacted about a role they’ve applied for within seven days. This expectation does not include automated responses acknowledging that information has been received.
  • 41.4% of candidates expect to wait no more than four days between an interview and a job offer. An additional 38.6% expect this to take up to nine days.
  • 57% of candidates want to talk directly to their future boss. Only 24.8% of candidates want to speak with a company recruiter, 13% with an external recruitment consultant, 5% with a colleague.

(Source: Pocket Recruiter survey in November 2018, sample size 1000)

Compare the above about what’s happening on the ground in your company. Are you anywhere close to meeting the expectations? Are you anywhere close to exceeding them and delighting candidates?

What can be done?

  1. Understand that talent acquisition and talent management is a two-sided marketplace with the Talent Acquisition team being the platform and conduit between the candidate and the hiring manager.
  2. Have a good hard look at your current processes and create a new process flow that is built around addressing the frustrations mentioned above.
  3. Consider how this can work at scale and how this can also create a positive for the Talent Acquisition team and the hiring manager community.
  4. Once this is set, choose technology that helps you deliver the new process. Shy away from any tech that wants to enforce their process on you. It is doomed to fail.
  5. Morph your culture to help you deliver it and to change in accordance with the changes you’ve introduced.

The good news?

In my travels with Pocket Recruiter through the industry, I experience several companies that are actively pursuing this change. Interestingly, many of them changed their set up: Parallel to and in conjunction with but not subordinate to the traditional Talent Acquisition team a Talent Acquisition operations team is working on the changes to process and piping. They are different from the well-meaning but often ineffective innovation teams as they are focused on performance and productivity enhancements through execution. The difference in approach is also apparent from the difference in people: They are not recruiters that have an interest in technology and have grown through the ranks. Instead, they are solutions architects, engineers, business analysts and program managers without any Talent Acquisition or recruitment background. They bring different skills, fresh perspectives and higher resilience. Maybe that’s what was needed all along: a fresh breath of air.

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