Optimizing the candidate experience has taken on a new urgency as employers realize a truism about top talent: These people have many choices. They are contacted by recruiters all of the time. One of the key ways these highly sought-after candidates decide among potential employers is to evaluate their experiences in each organization's recruiting process.
Top talent are good consumers. They look before they leap. They test drive new cars before making a purchase, and they take employers out for a spin before accepting an offer.
Unlike with cars, however, top talent can't climb into an employer's organization to get a feel for its culture and values. So, what do they do? They use a surrogate: the organization's recruiting process. They believe their experiences in that process will provide an accurate picture of what their experiences will be like if they go to work for the organization.
As a consequence, organizations are scrambling to find ways to optimize their candidate experiences. A lot of money is being spent and effort invested in discovering and implementing the best practices for engaging candidates during recruitment. That's all positive and well worth doing. Organizations must not, however, overlook the very simple yet powerful secret to experience optimization: authenticity. More than anything else, what attracts top talent is an organization that walks the talk.
Walking the Talk
Top talent are almost always passive. They are seldom drawn to specific job openings, but they can be – and often are – attracted to specific employers. What creates such a magnetic pull? The organization's employment brand.
When it's well crafted, an employment brand neatly summarizes what it's like to work for an organization. It creates an expectation about that experience by expressing the employer's culture and values, and that expectation is what activates the passive candidate and moves them into the recruiting process.
Once there, the candidate has only one criterion for measuring the quality of their experience: Does it match what the employment brand led them to expect? Was the brand an authentic representation of what they see, hear, and do in the process? If so, the organization and its employment opportunities are likely to get the consideration they deserve. If not – well, top talent has a lot of other choices to consider.
So, here's the key to an optimal candidate experience: Create an expectation that comes true.
First, develop an employment brand that is more than a cutesy jingle or opaque declaration written in corporate bureaucratese. It should, instead, be a powerful expression of the key attributes that define what's special about working in your organization.
Second, design every aspect of your recruiting process to illustrate and reinforce the attributes expressed in the brand statement. As much as possible, every interaction and procedure should mimic your organization's employment behaviors and practices.
In a world filled with misrepresentations and half truths, authenticity is one of the qualities top talent most values in an employer. The single best way for an organization to demonstrate its authenticity is to create an expectation that comes true. That is what leads to an optimal candidate experience.
TAtech: The Association for Talent Acquisition Solutions is the global trade association for the talent acquisition technology industry. Collectively, its members power or operate more than 60,000 sites worldwide and provide state-of-the-art products and innovative services for virtually every facet of talent acquisition. Join the dialogue by attending the TAtech Conference Expo this fall – connect with the real experts in talent acquisition technology!