Recruiter with CandidatesIt’s been a tough year for jobseekers. Which means, in turn, it’s been a tough year for the recruiters that help them. As unemployment numbers finally rebound, and attitudes from employees seemingly long trapped in companies or positions wherein they don’t engage, are um…evolving, employees/candidates/applicants are starting to realize that they’re people too. And survey says? They’d like to be treated as such!

Part of the issue that’s stumped candidate experience experts for so long is how much to engage with a candidate and for how long? And what differentiates an applicant from a candidate? At what point does the candidate experience cycle actually begin? Improved Experience points out that while there’s no definitive answer for this, there are obvious points where HR PRofessionals SHOULD be measuring outcomes:

Solicit feedback from job seekers about both experience and perception as they navigate your selection and hiring process. Gather quantitative and qualitative data from internal and external candidates at critical points such as application, interview, offer, and onboarding.

Solutions attempting to address every spoke of the candidate experience wheel have popped up through out the market, which experts like PepsiCo’s Chris Hoyt advocating pre-candidate engagement via social media:

Through Facebook, PepsiCo is not just merely publishing news about their products but involving and encouraging their fans to talk about their experiences being an end consumer,  getting suggestions and product reviews  and engaging them by asking trivia or fun questions like’ When it comes time for a break in the day, are you more likely to sip on a drink or snack on some chips?’

That’s all well and good for big brands with huge hiring needs, but what about the one or two person HR department in a small to mid size company? Smartphone ready apps, teams of engagement experts and contiguous tech integrations that seem to happen seamlessly aren’t exactly available to everyone. However, with freemium services, WYSIWYG social media editors, drag and drop interfaces, and marketing tool “hacks”, there are ways for smaller shops to improve the experience of candidates too.

But once the job has been found, does the jobseeker, like a bride, as blogger Lucy Thorpe puts it, “ride off into the sunset?” This brings us back to the initial question, when and where does the candidate experience start…and when does it stop? Well it varies, but as candidate engagement expert Gerry Crispin of CareerXRoads states: “However long you expect the applicant or candidate to spend on your process,” (and that could be finding the right job, creating a login, uploading their resume, navigating the online application process, getting timed out at specific intervals, creating a password and unique username and reformatting their resume to work with your system) “that’s the amount of time you should spend getting back to them.”

A daunting quote and task. After all, some of these systems take 45 minutes or more to navigate! And that’s precisely the problem states Jobsite’s Felix Wetzel, all the tools, videos, engagement and “good feelings” in the world, won’t replace what candidates really want, which is to be treated with respect and notified when and if they’ve gotten the job.

Let’s remember that positive candidate (and consumer) experience is achieved by following the old mantra of “solve my problems AND make me feel good”.  There’s a good reason why it is in this sequence: If the problem isn’t solved, all the good feeling in the world is not sustainable.



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