Part 2 of 3

Q2. What specific things – actions, activities channels, and technology – have you found that consistently produce a positive impact on the candidate experience?

It’s clear that for all the panelists, communication and the quality of communication has been paramount when considering the candidate experience. Opening up more channels and opportunities to engage with candidates, providing insight and transparency to the application process, letting candidates know if they are successful, and building positive on-going communications – all these actions consistently prove to have a positive impact on the candidate experience.

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What the panel had to say…

Marvin Smith, Strategic Sourcing, Talent Community Strategist, Lockheed Martin:

“One of the basic things that we did was to begin with the recruiter scorecard that we were revising. In other words, hold folks accountable for their experience with the candidates. If we wanted to make candidates our customers we had to start there, and so when you tie that to compensation it starts to make more sense to people. Another thing we did was we expanded the use of live chat to the various recruiting areas of the business. So that when people had questions, they could easily get in touch and that turned out to be really valuable. We also leveraged technology to provide more information about the company that wasn’t specific to a job, so further information about our services, other areas of the business to help their curiosity.”

Jen Powell, Senior Talent Acquisition Manager, Deloitte:

“We are doing lots of cool things with technology and trying to make it easier for candidates to find opportunities and to understand better our culture. And that worked great. But what keeps coming back through feedback about what makes a difference to our candidates is the people that they are interacting with. So the recruiters and client service professionals undoubtedly are getting the most feedback, and generally positive from the open comments that we get. There are many other ways we can use technology, but what it really comes down to is how we are holding our recruiters accountable, just like what Marvin spoke about, but really engaging our professionals and helping them to understand that they are our brand and they are what is making a difference for our candidates.”

Katy Jones, Global Talent & Engagement Manager, PepsiCo:

“For us, I think one of the big actions we took was a rebuild of our career site. Over two years ago we had different career sites for different countries, the experiences were different, they were long, we were losing a lot of people during the process. So almost two years ago we launched a brand new careers site, and a couple of the key things were to allow for full mobile apply, which we didn’t have across the globe previously, it was only available in the US. And as soon as we did that we saw a huge jump in our international traffic, and we found that we were receiving 50% less bounce rate, we had people staying on our job descriptions 30 seconds longer and then also mixing in with local relevancy to the different regions and cultures, and to really give those candidates going on an experience that speaks to them and isn’t just US focused, which is what was happening in the past.”

“Also as far as different channels, we just really put more of a focus on the messaging that we were sending out on our site and through our social channels, and really shifting gears from just pushing jobs, but engaging in conversation, showing them the culture of PepsiCo and that has made a big difference. I know for us a new thing this year is to hold quarterly webinars, and bring in our business leaders and managers to hold discussions with some of our talent pools, again just opening up those lines of communications and giving more insight into what it’s like at PepsiCo, and that’s made a big difference as well.”

Stefanie Thornton, Director of Talent Acquisition, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan:

“So the black hole was something that we heard about over and over again. The biggest thing that we heard was ’it’s okay if you don’t want us, just tell us you don’t want us.’ So we did two things. One was on that initial kick out letter when someone applies: ‘gee, thanks, we received your application.’ We actually put the recruiters name and phone number and email, so that the candidate knew who the recruiter was and it really made it much more personal. The recruiters freaked when we said we were going to do this. But I will tell you, if anything, it has cut down on the amount of calls that come in about ‘can I get the status on my application?’ ‘did you receive my application?’ now they knew someone had it, the messaging was very clear, ‘rest assured, we will provide you with status updates.’ “

“The 2nd thing that we did was look at the disposition letters. We disposition along the way, and we reject along the way. We don’t wait until a position is filled to reject all the candidates that applied because let’s be honest, that could take months. So when we know all of the candidates that are progressing on to the hiring manager review, we let them know that they are not progressing. Same with interview steps. The other thing that we did was in the portal we activated a tool that would allow the candidates to log in and see their step and status of the application at any given time. So they can actually see they’re in hiring manager review stage. With that there is a lot of work on being diligent around dispositioning and communications.”

Chris Hoyt, Partner, CareerXroads:

“I love the live engagement we are seeing; a few companies have committed to and communicated the expectation to candidates that they will actually get back to them in one business day on social channels or via email. They are getting away from the idea that because we have some tools that can automate responses, doesn’t always mean we should. Additionally, organizations are really starting to embrace perception scores; some companies encourage candidates to visit Glassdoor after they have applied. Comcast now as a result of this effort, tells candidates how they did in their interview before the interview is over and explains why they may not be moving forward as a candidate. These are really big steps.”

Q3. What are your best practices when communicating with candidates?
Is it an organizational policy to maintain and build relationships with unsuccessful candidates? If so, how do you do so and what results have you seen?

Communication not only to successful candidates or candidates who are looking to apply is crucial when considering all the people who come into contact with an employer brand. While it’s important to find the right person for the job, it’s equally as important to look after unsuccessful candidates, as it has an impact on the business in a variety of ways.

What the panel had to say…

Jen Powell, Senior Talent Acquisition Manager, Deloitte:

“That’s a really important population, it’s the vast majority of folks out there. The other thing that we are looking at is not just people that have already expressed an interest with a specific role, but people that are just keeping their feelers open, who may not be ready to make a move from their current job. We want to be one of the first to form a relationship with them so that once they have that day at work ‘I’m done with this place’ they already know Deloitte. We are really building these pools of talent communities where we are connecting with them and sharing thought leadership, our employees are connecting with them, so again when they are ready to make a move or there is that right fit that has come up, they are the first on our list. And vice versa.”

Stefanie Thornton, Director of Talent Acquisition, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan:

“We thought about the candidates that we are not moving forward with, and so we decided to set up job alerts within our systems. The system will ping you when those positions you have expressed an interest in become open so you don’t have to keep coming back to the site. We want to stay engaged with those candidates. We were also very careful about how we crafted our no thank you letter. We wanted to make it as positive as possible. There is not a lot you can do with the messaging, you know ‘you didn’t get the job,’ that’s very clear. But what we did was make every candidate communication positive. And so we focused on ‘hey, you didn’t get the job, but there are some really cool things happening in the city this weekend, and check this out.’ And so we have embedded our letters with hyperlinks to things that that are not about Blue Cross, but they might be about a jazz festival. The idea is to still have people feel good about the city that we work and live in, and not necessarily focus on the messaging that you didn’t get the job. We use lots of photos; images, hyperlinks and we’ve made it as a positive communication as we can.”

Marvin Smith, Strategic Sourcing, Talent Community Strategist, Lockheed Martin:

“For us it truly is a journey of the transparency and communication. We often hire before we need to, we call them ‘bluesky’ requisitions. Sometimes that has an impact on the candidate experience, but what we’ve been able to do is really focus on the people involved in the process, even the people that haven’t received an offer. We have been really diligent about making sure we are following up, holding people accountable for their actions. The folks have done a great job, if you look for example on Glassdoor, we are a category leader, and we weren’t before we started this journey. And not only that, we are probably the 2nd or 3rd company overall in terms of getting us accolades for the process, so our recruiters and sourcers are doing something right.”

Part 3 to follow next week, or if you can’t wait that long, feel free to listen to the webinar in full, or take a look at our latest Candidate Experience Infographic to see the data in black and white.