New Recruiting Roles: The Candidate Experience Manager

candidate-experience-managerWANTED: Individuals with a passion for finding ways to delight job candidates at every stage of the hiring process.

Key responsibilities include: Walking in a candidate’s shoes to understand the process from an applicant’s perspective; delivering a consistent, transparent candidate experience from start to finish; communicating with and responding to candidates quickly and at regular intervals; soliciting feedback from candidates about their experience; and implementing changes based on candidate responses to improve the process.

In case you missed it, the recruiting industry has undergone an evolution, especially when it comes to connecting with candidates. Gone is the dismissive “Don’t call us, we’ll call you” mentality of yesteryear. No longer do recruiters simply find candidates, line them up for interviews with hiring managers and then walk away from the process. Now, recruiters are focusing on maintaining a line of communication with candidates through every phase of hiring, from discovery to application to interview to job offer or rejection.

Certainly, the rise in mobile communications and social media as well as improvements in recruitment technology have made this an easier task for recruiters to manage. But there’s another trend that is driving this transformation in how the recruitment function undertakes its mission: More companies have come to realize that, just as the customer is king when it comes to a company’s bottom line, so too is the candidate when it comes to hiring the best people. 

More than just a buzzword, the “candidate experience” is causing a major shift in how recruiting gets done. The reason for this increasing focus on the candidate experience is simple – people talk. And, the worse an experience is, the more people tend to talk about it. According to corporate consulting firm CEB, 33% of candidates that have a bad experience will share that news with friends and 12% will talk about it through their social media accounts. Sites like Glassdoor provide more outlets for candidates to talk about their hiring experiences, both good and bad.

Even after companies have come to appreciate the importance of the candidate experience to improve their hiring practices, however, they find themselves facing another challenge: recruiters are busy people. The typical recruiter’s day is already filled with a multitude of tasks – scouring the applicant tracking system (ATS) for candidates, talking to hiring managers about their positions, placing ads on job boards, scheduling and conducting interviews, following up with candidates – the list goes on.

While advancements in recruitment technology have enhanced a recruiter’s ability to reach out to candidates more regularly, opportunities for candidate engagement can still fall through the cracks. That’s why more organizations are beginning to turn to a new breed of recruiter – the candidate experience manager. 

A quick search on LinkedIn and Monster brings up a number of talent acquisition positions with “candidate experience” not just in the job description but also in the position’s title. Companies from Amazon to American Airlines are bringing on individuals dedicated to elevating their hiring processes from ho-hum to extraordinary. Medallia even has an entire team looking at ways to improve the candidate journey. Working hand in hand with recruiters and hiring managers, these professionals are tasked with ensuring that all candidates – hired or not – have a positive experience with the company.

Critical to this role (and mentioned in the key responsibilities above) is providing feedback to the candidate after a rejection. According to LinkedIn’s 2015 Talent Trends survey, 94% of candidates want to hear why they were or were not selected, yet only 41% report that they typically receive that feedback. Since the hiring process may be the first experience that a candidate has with a company, a candidate experience manager can make sure that communications are not only timely but also specific and helpful for each individual. As a result, even the candidates who were rejected are left with a positive impression and are more likely to apply for another position in the future.As companies continue to struggle to establish a strong employer brand that will help them attract and hire the right talent, we predict that the role of candidate experience manager will play a larger role in the future. As an adjunct to the overall recruiting function, these individuals are helping to transform the hiring process and give candidates the transparent, optimized experience they deserve.

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Candidate Experience