As with many things in the HR and recruitment space, the comparison of candidates to customers is sometimes debated. Of course they both impact the bottom line (in one way or another), but are customers always candidates and vice versa? Hold that thought. Regardless of your answer and reasoning, the fact of the matter is that both customer and candidate experience are important and can greatly influence purchase and application decisions. And it’s also true that you can’t fake either one, so you have to get it right.
A Word on Customer Service…
It seems as though companies often forget that their customers are more than demographics – they’re actually people! Obviously this should not be a revelation for you, but it is something to give more thought. As a brand, is it reasonable to expect consumers to continue coming back to your products or services if they have a negative experience? Of course not. And in the day of social media, they’ll likely go a step further and tell everyone in their network that they won’t be using you anymore.
…and How it Relates to Candidate Experience
This same situation holds true for job seekers and the organizations for which they apply. The sad but true scenario is that close to half of applicants say they never receive a response back when submitting an application, which is bad enough. Add in the 45 minutes to an hour they spent going through the application itself, on top of customizing their cover letter and updating their resume, and you could have yourself a real problem.
Unfortunately, some of these issues can’t be fixed overnight. They require new strategy, technology and implementation (and possibly even approval). However, there are a few things you can do to start improving your employer brand image, despite those still in progress.
3 Simple Customer, Candidate Experience Improvements
1. Be helpful. If your application process is complex and confusing, obviously that’s an area to focus on. But in the meantime, be as helpful and patient as possible with job seekers who do have questions or difficulties. You may not be able to change the process, but use platforms like social media and video to respond to applicants and walk them through each step.
2. Be friendly. Applying for a new position can be scary for job seekers who may be unsure about their career path, goals and your organization. Don’t shy away from making friends with your talent community and providing that personal touch. Ultimately, everyone wants to feel like they matter.
3. Be genuine. The authenticity word is thrown around a lot, and the more you “try” to be authentic, the more you fail. The key to providing a great customer or candidate experience is to have a real passion for your company, job and people. Be real, be empathetic, and your community will thank you.
We all know that providing a great candidate experience is important, so you tell us: what other improvements can be made right away?
Image: Kate Ter Haar/Flickr