The Candidate Experience for the Candidates Who Don’t Get The Job
When I think of “candidate experience” I immediately think of the candidates who are hired. How they interacted with the applicant tracking system? How was the travel and accommodations? Did they have a good interview experience? Did we keep them warm and engaged once the offer was made until their first day on the job? However, what about the candidates that we don’t hire? Do you value their candidate experience as much as the ones who were selected for a position? Okay, I know that’s a lot of questions, but I want you to really think about it. It may be an after thought, but here are a few reasons why you should care.
The first thing to consider is that they may be the wrong fit now, but they might be the right fit in the future. So often people wrongly assume that not being offered a job means that the firm is not interested in them at all, when the case might really be, “we like, you, but don’t have the right role for you now.” No one wants to feel like sloppy seconds. A bad or disengaging candidate experience can be a turn off, even when the right role fit does come along. Make sure that you have a process that allows for some transparency, follow up, and active engagement beyond the interview process. Also people, skills, jobs, and companies change so make sure that your process allows for this. A candidate might return to the company after they have gained experience or leveled up a skill to make them a more competitive candidate. If you blew them off the first time around or gave them them the stink eye when you selected your candidate to fulfill the job, you might be missing out on some key talent. Or worse yet, they may get scooped up by a competitor.
And speaking of key talent, you may find that your no-offer candidate has a strong network of key talent — they may know other people who will be a good fit. In a time where social media and networks are king, the statement “its all about who you know” is just as true for interviewers as it is for companies. People talk — even if they don’t mean to talk. That means people may have glowing praise or jarring criticisms without even meaning to. How many times have you seen a comment or photo on social media with someone who has had an interview — and then all the comments about how it went or what happened? People are writing about their experiences; they are taking photos of their experiences; they are hashtagging their experiences; and their friends are commenting or even re-posting. Don’t you want the impressions that they have of you and your process to be positive — even if they aren’t offered the job? Your reputation and processes could be just a few key strokes and search away. That all lends itself to the overall candidate experience. Consider the impression that you leave with the people who are interviewing, the people who know people who have interviewed with you, or who might interview with you. All those factors could impact your sourcing pipeline — especially if you’re in a niche industry.
The final point that I’d like for you to mull over is that you may have an candidate who may not be a fit for an employee, but maybe a they could be customer or someone that you want to do business with. We just spoke a bit about networks and social media, but what candidate experience really comes down to is relationship building. Don’t throw out the champagne with the cork. You might be making a future (or current) customer or someone you want to do consulting work with.The list goes on. Look beyond your candidate pool as just people who want jobs at your firm to people who want to engage with you and your brand — and there are many ways to allow that to happen other than employment. The candidate experience during the application and interview process can help build or tear down that relationship and possible alternatives.
Want to have a good candidate experience — follow the golden rule and treat others as you want to be treated. But don’t slip — keep your eye on the ball when it comes to the overall process and technology – that’s table stakes and none of this matters if you miss the boat on that. Remember. its a two way street — you get what you give.