Is your organization delivering an award-winning candidate experience? For Deloitte and Alexander Mann Solutions – two of this year’s CandE Award winners – the answer was a resounding yes. In our recent live webinar, Talent Board sat down with talent leaders from these two organizations to discuss things they do differently, as well as where they are in their journey and what they will be doing next in 2017.

Check out some of the highlights below.

Talent Attraction

You’ll never find the top talent you’re looking for without the correct talent attraction and sourcing strategy. Here are some key tips to bear in mind while you’re devising yours:

Be authentic

Candidates always have one question prominent in their minds: “what is it really like to work there?” To answer this question, try employing social media or email campaigns that use authentic homemade footage, such as showcasing a day in the life of an employee, or a video introduction to the candidate’s recruiter. And don’t forget to skip the jargon – instead, stick to simple and concise language.

Content that feels very glossy, manufactured and very corporate doesn’t engage with an audience in the same way it used to.”— Lisa Forest, AMS

Partner with your audience

The best way to produce content that’s relevant for your audience, is to ask them what kind of content they would like to see.

We always partner with somebody, such as a student, to help guide us…We shouldn’t assume that this just applies to the junior end of it, it also applies to executives.” — Lisa Forest, AMS

Show them how they fit

Your candidates may know and like your brand, but with larger companies, such as Deloitte, it can be very confusing to candidates to visualize where they fit in such a large, complex organization. Try providing dedicated information and clear visual representations of what it’s like to work at your company, such as Deloitte did for their campus candidates.

We recently launched “Explore Your Fit” which is a tool to help our campus candidates learn about our business areas and determine what may be a good fit for them based on interest and experience levels.”—  Bennet Sammann, Deloitte

The Application Process

You’ve heard it time and time again —  time to apply matters. But perhaps what matters even more is how that time is spent. “Candidates will give you the time for application if they feel the time is valuable, if the questions you ask are related to the job,” said Elaine Orler, Chairman and Cofounder of Talent Board.

Lisa Forest of AMS agrees. “I always look at things from the point of view of a consumer,” she says. “After 5-15 minutes I’m already bored, I’m done and I don’t want to log in again and choose a password 17 times. We need to find a way to gather the right information that’s practical for our organization, and balance that with having a really personalized and simple process, so candidates don’t feel like dropping off.”

To sum up: take a walk in your candidate’s shoes, and deconstruct and reevaluate your process to determine what is really worthwhile asking.

Interviewing & Selection

According to the 2016 CandE Data, over 60.25 % of candidates went through phone interviews; 32.50% of candidates had an in-person interview with one interviewer, 26.85% had an in-person interview with multiple interviewers one at a time, and 23.28% had an in-person interview with multiple interviewers all at once. With such a wide variety of interview methods being used widely today, it’s more important than ever for organizations to set up their candidates for success for their particular interview process.

We have a process by where we give people tips on what they need to do for a phone interview ahead of talking to us. Everything from the research they need to do to the environment they need to be in, even how they need to treat it as a face to face even when they are not. Clear, concise questioning and answering is really really important”— Lisa Forest, AMS

Turn the Tables

Giving your unsuccessful candidates the opportunity to evaluate your interview process is an often untapped source of insight on what can be improved in terms of candidate experience. In the past couple of months, Deloitte has launched their own candidate experience survey, which is sent to anyone who had at least a first round interview. We are hoping this will give us a more holistic picture to share with our leadership team.

Once we have the results, we’ll analyze them and pull out some key stats and share those with our recruiting leaders and business leadership. We encourage our leadership team to help influence behavior by recognizing team members, because a lot of time when the candidate is completing a survey, they’ll say my recruiter was X, Y, Z and the recruiter won’t see that feedback. So that can provide some recognition, and allow us to evaluate the whole start to finish candidate experience process.” — Bennet Sammann, Deloitt

Offer / New Hire

Remember that a great candidate experience doesn’t end with an offer. Your pre-boarding and onboarding are critical periods in which to establish the tone of your organization’s relationship with new hires. Even the little things matter, says Lisa Forest (AMS), “Once you make me an offer, get me my paperwork on time. If you don’t, that doesn’t make me feel particularly wanted and like you value hiring me.”

“Concierge-level service”

Recently Deloitte implemented the new role of Onboarding Specialist to ensure a smooth onboarding experience once the offer has been accepted. “It really helps the recruiter focus on recruiting new talent, and provides the candidate with an expert resource that can help them with all of the paperwork, the background investigation, etc.,” says Sammann. “It can be very cumbersome, sometimes confusing for candidates when they are trying to wrap up their current role and make that transition.”

Keep it consistent

Not only must the onboarding experience be positive, it must be consistently so. “It’s all well and good having a candidate that comes through and has a positive experience,” says Forest. “But when they sit next to someone else who had a negative experience, that can be equally damaging.” To provide this consistency across the board, utilize technology that supports intuitive automation, which can provide the communications that candidates crave throughout the onboarding process.

The candidate you say no to today could end up being the perfect candidate for another role down the line, or perhaps become a future client, stakeholder — or maybe even your father-in-law! For this reason, proper screening and dispositioning is crucial.

Harness the power of your silver medalists

The runner ups are usually a true culture match due to their getting so far in the process, and therefore it is extremely worthwhile to stay engaged with them as an organization.

We have a framework by which we communicate with [these candidates] via forums, sharing thought leadership articles —not just corporate messages. We have advocates that take responsibility for communicating with various pools of talent. That targeted content is really important.” — Lisa Forest, AMS

Stay Transparent

Just as your candidates expect a transparent look into your organization and their potential role, so do they expect transparency in the event that they are not selected for the position.

When we say no, and I think this is a differentiator, we don’t sugarcoat the reasons why not. We try to be honest and brave about the feedback, and make sure that’s really transparent to the candidate so that nobody has any misconception and we have had an honest conversation.”— Lisa Forest, AMS

This kind of honesty not only paints your brand in a more trustworthy light, but allows your candidates to seek improvement so they might better fit roles in the future.

In Summary

With so many organizations recognizing the impact and influence of candidate experience, both positive and negative, the game continues to change. The above tips can help your organization support the entire talent acquisition life cycle while also embracing the right platform, tools, and practices.