Heute mal saatkorn. in Englisch. Wie wichtig aus ihrer Sicht die “Candidate Experience” für Employer Branding und Recruiting ist, berichtet die Amerikanerin mit deutschem Pass heute als Gastbloggerin auf saatkorn.
Sarah ist eine “international HR Idealistin” mit über 12 Jahren Erfahrung in Personalmanagement und -entwicklung, Talent Assessment, Rekrutierung und Vergütungssystemen. Als Amerikanerin mit deutschen Pass und britischen Qualifikationen passt sie meistens nicht in den vorgegebenen Kästchen von typisch deutsches Online Recruitingsystemen. Nach einer erlebnisreichen Phase als Entrepreneurin versucht sie derzeit ihr Glück auf der andere Seite des Rekrutierungstisches in ihrer Wahlheimat NRW. Also auf geht’s, internationaler “Candidate Experience Rock’n Roll” mit Sarah. Have fun:
Is terrible candidate experience killing your best employer branding efforts?
by Sarah Makowski, Chartered MCIPD
Each year, companies spend big bucks developing their employer brand in order to attract top candidates. According to LinkedIn, employer branding “is the new black”. Still, there seems to be a huge disconnect between the amount of energy spent attracting great candidates and the amount invested in keeping them. Recently, I was lured in by a fantastic sounding job advertised on social media for a major German company. Just one click took me to their corporate web site, which was gorgeously designed, with fresh, fun bubbles of information flying at me from all directions. Smiling images of happy-looking employees told me: “This is a fantastic place to work! We offer endless advancement opportunities! We would love to meet you!”
My first thought was “where do I sign up?” My excitement came to a screeching halt after clicking the “apply now” button. Suddenly, I was sucked into a technological black hole. Forty minutes, thirty clicks, a new user name, an 8-digit password using special characters and one migraine later, I am still not sure if my application actually went through.
On another site, when my password request received no response, I simply gave up. The job sounded incredible, but the company seems like a dud. I’m not the only one who feels this way. Studies show that up to 34% of candidates give up on their online application halfway through the process. It may be easy to for companies to say “oh well, we don’t want lazy people who aren’t even motivated enough to fill out a form,” but are you really sure about that?
When you need rule-abiding, detail oriented candidates for jobs requiring few qualifications, online tools can streamline the process and help prevent a flood of spam CV’s. But, if you’re looking for passive candidates or creative individuals who can make things happen in unstructured environments, don’t force them to start their career at your company with dreary work on an outdated platform. – Even in today’s economy, companies simply can’t afford to turn off candidates for hard to fill assignments. According to Charlotte Bryldt Thiesen, Employer Branding Manager at Dong Energy, many companies just don’t understand what is important to great applicants. “The candidate is no longer standing there, hat in hand. He or she has become a customer where we as a company must sell the product.”
CareerXRoads introduced the Candidate Experience Awards in 2011 to recognize best practices in recruiting. As part of their research, they sent out anonymous applications to 100 corporations to understand how applicants are treated. More than half the time, their highly-qualified mystery candidate was asked to complete long profile forms and then upload documents with exactly the same information. Almost the same number of companies required registration with their website. Only eight companies asked specific, job-related questions.
The online application process was often lengthy, with little apparent value for candidates. CareerXroads founders Gerry Crispin and Mark Mehler warn, “Delays at any stage of the recruitment process are almost guaranteed to negatively impact candidate reactions – and this is especially true of better quality candidates!”
Corporations should take their recruiting cues from successful online stores. One reason for Amazon’s success is their one-stop-shopping experience makes it fast and easy for customers to finalize their purchases. When online shopping becomes a hassle, customers abandon their carts. The same is true for great candidates.
How can companies make things easier? First, invest in parsing software, so that applicants don’t need to retype their carefully constructed CV’s into your interface. Also, check and recheck your links on a regular basis – you’d be amazed at how many simply don’t work, or only work on specific operating systems and browsers. For candidates, there is nothing worse than plodding through your dismal recruiting tool only to be kicked off the system.
Also, if your company is serious about finding employees with international education and experience, don’t make it difficult for them to let you know about their qualifications. I’m pretty sure that the company with the bubbly website I applied can’t see that I graduated from elementary school, much less university or the CIPD. That’s because I couldn’t tick my American and British qualifications in any of the boxes provided.
Here are my suggestions for improving your candidate experience:
- Individualize candidate experience based on the role. I know that recruiters are often strictly forbidden to stray from standard CI, but creative applicants are turned off by the rigid and monotonous corporate career sites. If you really value innovation and diversity, let your recruiting technology reflect that. Make sure that the applicant can “find” him or herself in your process. Make them feel that they belong in your organisation.
- Introduce brief online assessment methods tailored to the role. This can be as simple as posing a thoughtful question related to the job, language tests, or asking candidates to address small programming or design problems. Get the candidates to spend their time doing something engaging, rather than manual labour. Give them a feel for your corporate culture and the job they will be doing.
- Please, eliminate all questions and language that can be construed as discriminatory. Don’t ask candidates to give information about their marital status and age unless it is truly relevant for the job. For one, you don’t know people’s personal situations. Hiring decisions should be made on the basis of their ability to do the job. Asking me if I am married tells me that you are locked into a Mad Men, dark-ages view of personnel.
- Get a native speaker to check your translated corporate website. One German food company’s English site is translated so badly that any money spent on international branding might as well be flushed down the toilet. This is not the place to save, unless you want to frighten foreign applicants away.
- Ask for feedback on your process – and then act on it. Retailers send out follow-up emails asking for feedback all of the time. If necessary, get a third-party survey source to really understand how your recruitment process is working and to gather important improvement ideas.
- Really examine your user experience, including mobile device compatiblity. Countless companies jump on the social media bandwagon only to fail to make the sale. Use data on views, clicks, tracking sources and hires to understand where your system is going wrong.
The very first thing you should do is to apply to your own system. That’s the best way to see if your applicant management budget is being spent wisely. Make your recruiting system work for both you and your customers – the candidates. After all, employer branding isn’t just about getting people to come to you, it’s about encouraging them to come and stay.