Remember the good old days when it was HR who expected a thank you note from a candidate after the interview? Well a convergence of events has flipped the tables and now some companies have found that sending thank you notes to candidates is a good way to acquire top talent.
With highly skilled employees in short supply and open positions increasingly difficult to fill, smart companies are paying attention to what their employment brand means to potential candidates. That means the candidate experience is getting long overdue, but well-deserved attention. For those companies that continue to dismiss its importance, be prepared for an arduous and expensive journey to attract, engage, and acquire new employees.
Where should you start? Take some advice from the candidates themselves.
When asked how companies can improve the experience for job applicants, 34% of candidates wanted improved communication, according to the recruitment research company Qualigence International. Another 28% asked for more human contact and 14% wanted to be notified if they weren't selected for a position. All of these comments speak to the fact that every interaction that a business has with a candidate contributes to their overall impression of the company.
Red Hat is an example of a company that does a great job of managing candidate expectations. Not only do they outline the entire process, but they also tell the candidate what action to take within each step. Bonus points to them for also communicating this in a fun, friendly way, giving potential candidates a glimpse of their company's culture, too. This approach works both ways–by communicating its application process clearly, it will save the human resources department countless time fielding unnecessary calls and emails.
Manage Every Interaction
Not surprisingly, Google does a very thorough job of explaining every aspect of their corporate culture, hiring process, types of jobs available, and what to expect along the way. In fact, they define it pretty succinctly with their web copy: Do cool things that matter. By putting so much information out there, it already gives potential candidates an idea of what it's like to join their team. Even if Google automates some of the admin aspects of this process, they use a lot of video tutorials with smiling, approachable human faces and show images of their office space so the overall impression is very inviting. And as one of the world's most highly recognized brands, Google needs to ensure that every interaction is a positive and professional one.
Tell Your Story
Dropbox is another example of a company with a well-defined brand that extends to the hiring process. One scroll down their jobs page tells their story and offers a good look into what it's really like to work there through actual accounts by current employees. Just like Google's career pages, Dropbox's site is full of cool pictures of their workspace and the happy folks who work there.
Old Dogs Can Learn New Tricks
When it comes to first impressions, Nordstrom speaks directly to its potential candidates with relevant images and lots of enthusiasm. Right from the career page, applicants are greeted with bold, smiling faces and a friendly, “Hi, We're glad you're here!” As you scroll down through the career options, it's evident that Nordstrom understands and respects current and potential new hires and showcases them on their career pages. Not bad for a company that was founded in 1901.
The bottom line is that your recruiting and hiring process should reflect the same attention and care as that given to marketing customers. Jobseekers are forming an impression about your company right now, often before they apply and with every interaction after. Make sure that you're sending them the right messages consistently and promptly.
Ira S. Wolfe is a nationally recognized thought leader in talent management and an expert in pre-employment assessment testing, workforce trends, and social media. Wolfe is president of Success Performance Solutions, a pre-employment and leadership testing firm he founded in 1996. He is the author of several books, including Geeks, Geezers, and Googlization; The Perfect Labor Storm 2.0; and Understanding Business Values and Motivators. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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