Chris Gannon: The fastest way to fail at recruitment? Stop innovating

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Recruitment has drastically changed over the last 10 years. It used to be that a recruiter solely sat on the HR Recruitment badgeside of the table, but in a hyper-competitive landscape, recruiters need to think more like marketers, and align themselves with sales and marketing within the company. In this new era of recruiting, where companies are feverishly competing for the top candidates, recruiters have a role to make their company stand out from the cluttered market. The recruiter’s new objective: Redefine, and refine, the candidate experience. Marketers call this the “UX” for user experience. Well for me, it’s all about the CX — the candidate experience.

A decade ago, I could give a poor candidate experience and no one would know. But now, someone can tweet about it, write it on Facebook or give a bad “interview review” on Glassdoor. Seconds later, I’ll have my CEO breathing down my neck asking why we gave that candidate a terrible experience. And so I have to constantly ask myself, “what are we doing wrong, and what can we be doing better?”

To be truly innovative in the marketplace, my company, Reward Gateway, which delivers an all-in-one employee engagement platform to showcase benefits, discounts, reward and recognition and communications, is breaking down our entire candidate experience from start to finish. We’re focused on ways to attract, engage and retain our employees, which has led to countless hours brainstorming everything from how candidates perceive us to what media they track us on, right from initial introduction to hire or rejection. As the Group Director of Talent Acquisition, I’m tasked with considering the multiple paths a candidate can take on their journey with Reward Gateway, and how it affects the candidate experience every step of the way.

So what have we looked at? Here are a few ways we’re innovating our recruitment strategy, focusing solely on the candidate experience:

1. Our Website.
There are multiple external sources out there that have information on your company. A few include Glassdoor, Indeed, Angel List, and Crunch Base, but so many companies overlook the most obvious source of information: their own website. Over the next quarter, we will be overhauling our entire career section so that it doesn’t just talk about our culture and the role that candidate might step into, it’ll show them. When a candidate is researching Reward Gateway we want them to feel that they have a full understanding of not only what we do but also who we are. Highlights will include; our Diversity Statement, full virtual tours of our offices and some special profiles of the passions that make Reward Gateway unique.

2. Our interview process. We identified a few key issues in how most companies handle their CX. These included candidates not finding a job that they’re the exact fit for, nerves getting the best of a solid candidate, unqualified interviewers giving poor interviews, and abysmal handoff after an offer is actually extended. Here’s what we’re doing to attack these issues:

Open interview process: If a candidate can’t find the job they are looking for, at best, most companies direct them to send their resume to [email protected] This is not only impersonal but it greatly restricts the black hole master on the other side of the wall from understanding who and why this person is applying. At Reward Gateway, we partnered with a company called Hirevue and are in the final stages of developing an open video interview that any candidate can apply to. We asked our employees around the globe to submit their best questions centered on our core values then carefully selected the ones we feel give a candidate the best chance to truly represent the value they can add to the company.

Welcome postcard: Everyone is nervous on an interview, even those people in sales. We wanted to make sure our first impression during the interview process was a positive one, no matter what office the candidate walked into. So we developed a welcome post card, which is given to every candidate when they come in and has a simple and disarming message. We felt this little gesture goes a long way.

Internal interview training. At the end of the year we will be kicking off our internal training on all things recruiting and interviewing. There will be multiple levels (think bronze, silver, gold) and it will be mandatory for every manager that wants to take part in the hiring/interviewing process.

Post-offer welcome pack. Every recruiter is guilty of going a little ghost on a candidate from time to time, even ones that have signed offer letters. So not only are we internally holding ourselves more accountable but we’ve built a candidate welcome pack that will include such items as a video welcome from your team (we get excited when we hire new people) to a map of all the hot spots around our offices globally. Before you even step foot in the door on your first day, we want you to know you’re part of our team, and you should feel that way, too.

Candidate “funnel.” Remember how I talked about taking a cue from sales and marketing? We realised that some candidates will take a different style of nurturing after we engage them. This journey is unique to both the needs of the candidate and our company whether the candidates are hired or not. That’s why we’re introducing boom! for candidates. It’s a play on our own internal communications hub, boom!, which is built on our SmartHub® technology. They’ll find insider access to Reward Gateway, like our fortnightly video updates or leadership blogs so they can see how open and transparent we are about our culture, and the business. That way, candidates can decide whether or not we’re the right fit for them if and when our job conversation continues. We’ll also include candidate-driven content, like interview advice and CV clichés to avoid, so they have value-driven content to come back to. We’re even going to give them six months of access to one of our core products, a discounts platform, which will familiarise them with our product, and give them a great perk for bearing with us as we figure out if they’re a fit for a job down the line.

As recruiters, we need to be constantly innovating and delivering new value to our candidates. By shaping innovation around your company’s values and goals, you can start to piece together a much better candidate experience, both for you and for your potential hires.

“I’d like to see at least a third of undergraduates going down the degree apprenticeship route in the future,” concludes Lambert. “You are never going to replace the great value of going to a university, living away from home and the life skills that this engenders. But for young people who think the large amount of debt that university will bring is simply too much, degree apprenticeships will allow young people to get a degree that would otherwise be out of reach.”

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