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The phrase “candidate experience” has proved to be one of the most significant HR buzzwords in recent years. And if you’re even remotely dedicated to great hiring practices, you know that it’s not a fluff buzzword (I’m looking at you, “low-hanging fruit”) – but a very important factor of an effective recruiting strategy.
Everyone’s talking about it, and we know what it is and why it’s important, so now we’re going to explore how to take your already good candidate experience and turn it into a great one.
Good is the enemy of great.
–Jim Collins, Author of Good to Great
To learn more about how we can reach that seemingly elusive “great” candidate experience, we caught up with Danielle Weinblatt, President and Chief Product Officer at Entelo, who revealed some of the company’s successful practices.
Greenhouse: As Saul Weiner, Head of Recruiting & People Analytics at OneMedical, mentioned during your OPEN 2019 conference session, “Good isn’t good enough” when it comes to creating a positive candidate experience (CX). What is something unique that your company does that has really elevated your CX?
Danielle: I agree with Saul, as I usually do across a myriad of topics. In the war for top talent, it is not enough to marginally go above the industry standards. I believe that you must personalize the candidate experience. To do this, we use our own system to set up candidate journeys across each position, so candidates are constantly receiving status updates and communication from our team. We also pride ourselves on speed, post the initial screen.
Candidates shouldn’t be surprised if they’re asked to come in for an in-person interview the same day as their video interview at our company. We believe that speed is one way to show respect for a candidate’s job search and how critical this hire is to our company. Lastly, we are incredibly transparent. Not every job or culture is right for every qualified person. I make sure that we are honest with candidates about the ups and downs of working for our organization. These activities have helped us to establish open lines of communication at every step of the process and ultimately taken our candidate experience to the next level.
Greenhouse: One thing that came up in the discussion was the importance of understanding the candidate journey. How do you continue to provide a great experience at every candidate touchpoint, even as your company grows and changes?
Danielle: You need to remember that a candidate journey is merely a conversation with a candidate, so I think about the journey as a dialogue about our company. What does a candidate need to know to make an informed decision? That helps us design each touchpoint. What do you do when you meet someone for the first time? You welcome them to the process. What do you do if it’s taking a while to get back to someone in a timely fashion? You let them know that you need a bit more time, but you’ll be in touch soon. We do all of this and more. We don’t just build candidate engagement products for our clients. We also use them ourselves to ensure candidates are kept in the loop at each step and that the interview process is as seamless and well-coordinated as possible.
More recently, we have had an opportunity to share exciting news during our hiring process. We are constantly growing and evolving right now. I’m excited to share that in August, ConveyIQ was acquired by an amazing HR technology company called Entelo, which provides a unique opportunity to deliver a new level of candidate experience: one that begins at the first touchpoint during the sourcing process and extends into the employee experience. Because we build products that we believe in, we will be using this new source-to-hire platform to invigorate and streamline our own recruitment and candidate experience when it comes out next year.
Greenhouse: Whose responsibility is it to create an outstanding CX? The executives? The recruiters?
Danielle: A great candidate experience is the result of a collective effort among the Business and Talent Acquisition. Because the people you hire will ultimately shape the future of your company, there is no other way to operate. The people you hire will also hire, and those people will hire the future of your company. You want to make sure that you scale the right way. A good example of this was the early days of Airbnb, which is a ConveyIQ and Entelo client. Airbnb’s CEO Brian Chesky interviewed every candidate who was hired at Airbnb until they were 500 people!
If you care about success as an executive, you care about who you hire, which means you need to care about your hiring process and thus, your candidate experience.
There is a lot that recruiters can do in their daily practices that ensure that candidates feel valued, but some of that thoughtful work is wasted if the rest of the company doesn’t support those efforts. This includes hiring managers, interviewers and, of course, the execs that set the tone for the whole organization – everyone needs to be aligned.
Greenhouse: We all agree that collecting candidate feedback is essential to improvement. What do you think is the most important KPI for CX measurement and how do you measure it?
Danielle: Results cannot be sugar-coated and a recruiter’s job is to hire quality candidates. I think organizations should consider plotting the x and y-axis of time to hire vs. conversion percentage from on-site interviews to hire. You can also add a z-axis and review those metrics against changes in your Candidate Satisfaction Score.
At our company, we administer candidate feedback surveys that measure everything from the strength of communication to company culture and interview preparation. This data is compiled, weighted and analyzed to produce an overall Candidate Satisfaction Score.
We can then look at Candidate Satisfaction rates across departments, roles and teams to get an understanding of what is working and what is not. I am happy to discuss in greater detail with those who reach out to me directly.
I would consider adding color to those metrics with focus groups over time, and longer form surveys on candidate experience such as the one that the Talent Board administers. It’s best to go straight to the source – your candidates – to see how well you’re doing. Gerry Crispin, Principle and Co-Founder of CareerXroads, and his team work with companies on CX measurement, and this may be worth exploring as well if you want to truly invest in understanding your process.
Greenhouse: Fill in the blank with one word. “If you want to take your CX from good to great, you need to be ________ .”
Danielle: If you want to take your CX from good to great you need to be bespoke. The only way you can do that is by automating many of the tasks that consume 90% of your time. Differentiation only comes from personalization.
Looking for more great tips on all things Talent, from candidate experience to hiring for tech roles? Watch the featured sessions from this year’s Greenhouse OPEN conference.