Revisiting the Candidate Experience

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This is my second blog post on the candidate experience. If you read my first one, you know that the candidate experience is being talked about a lot on both sides, and the talk is NOT good. Most industry experts will tell you that, for the most part, the candidate experience today is nothing short of horrible.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve met with both senior HR leaders and students from various colleges, and they’ve both expressed their frustration. At a seminar I attended this month, a Senior VP of HR at a large, very well-known company said this about the candidate experience: “It makes me ashamed of our profession.”

And just this week there was a great article on ERE.net entitled: Talent Acquisition Steps That Enrage Not Engage which included some very frustrating but very true stories of candidates being abused by the organizations supposedly wooing them.

You may ask yourself (as I often do): If both sides agree that the candidate experience is so horrible, why doesn’t it get fixed?

I think it all (still) comes down to resources. Let’s use Jane the Recruiter as an example:

Jane is a smart, dedicated recruiter who takes a lot of pride in her profession. She’s decided she’s going to make the candidate experience better by starting in her own little corner of the world. Of course, because it’s 2011, Jane’s entire department is stretched thin, and she always seems to be juggling a hundred things that need her immediate attention. This morning Jane’s hiring manager says he needs a Tax Accountant. Internal candidates and the people in their TAS don’t really fit the bill, so the position is posted on a large job board and some niche accounting sites (and of course it gets picked up on indeed.com, search engines, etc.) By the end of the week Jane has over 500 responses, and less than one quarter of the respondents are even remotely qualified.

Okay, now it’s your turn. How can Jane be a brand ambassador for her organization and ensure that those 500 people have a good candidate experience? Suppose all 500 received a “thank you for applying” mass email after submitting their resume, and another mass email when the process ends. Does that really qualify as a good candidate experience?

As you can see, there really isn’t an easy answer to this problem. On one side, you have a recruiting department that is extremely lean and is working without the right resources/tools, and on the other side you have candidates who desperately want to join/rejoin the workforce that are flooding the market. I think as the economy continues to improve and recruiting becomes more candidate-driven, the candidate experience will have to get better, but even then it’s going to take awhile.

Recruiters: How about you? What steps are you taking to improve the candidate experience?

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About Tony Rosato

Tony Rosato, Alstin's Vice President, Client Development, is the most well-traveled member of our team and one of the nicest guys we know. Sharing his 20 years of industry experience with prospective clients everywhere, Tony's Type A personality is powered by premium iced tea (but never chocolate).