The talent market has been on a wild ride for the past 3 years. Have you- or a colleague- been impacted by a lay off? Chances are, the answer is yes. And, HR Job openings (according to Indeed) are down 45% this year. A friend recently told me data (unsure of source) showed 50% of people who lost their job in September 2023 were within HR, Talent Ops or Talent. NUTS. So, competition is tough to land a new HR gig - more candidates, less opportunities.
Many talent experts have fallen into a position that’s somewhat foreign to us… we have become candidates. Potentially for the first time in a long time, we’re on the active market, applying, interviewing, testing the waters of greener grass… and what do you feel?
We feel all the things. But let’s pivot our emotions for a second… let’s get excited.
Let’s become curious… a bit nosy. Being a candidate provides an opportunity for talent leaders to reassess our personal principles. Experiencing an interview process as a candidate is such a different experience than when we’re running the show… and the silver lining is that it may build our confidence, or teach us new approaches to talent attraction that we will want to implement in our new shop. A self aware talent leader can become humbly aware of opportunities within a process that they may soon be responsible for improving OR we may decide it’s so much of a dumpster fire it would be better for us to bow out. (We’ve all been there…) ✌️
“Come on Kaitlyn, stop being so optimistic, this sucks.” Yes friends, it does. But, optimism is my superpower, and I believe the way we approach our challenges is character defining. Therefore, if this is too much glass half full for you, I’ll see you on the flippity flip. (you can find me on LI here)
If you’re still with me… let’s reflect on the How vs What of a Talent Process.
Every ATS/Career site has the basics, right? Submit your name, number, resume.. Some have gotten… well… complicated… but we can always count on the basics. That’s the What. As a 13+ year HR/Talent veteran, shame on me for assuming automated “Thank you for applying” and “The role has been closed” e-mails are the norm.
They are not.
This is part of the how.
How we make candidates feel, How we communicate, How we prepare candidates for an interview process. How we decline them… it creates a feeling. We all know the saying…
people don’t remember what you say but how you make them feel…
When a company chooses (this is a choice as most ATS’s have the functionality) to not automate a “Thank you for your application” email, or a disposition message when a role is closed, the perception is that the feelings of the candidate and transparency of the process is not a priority. Why not?
Why should you (a Talent Leader, CEO, CHRO) care about how candidates feel? Well, my favorite thing to tell my team is “a great candidate experience is your best recruitment tool”… a bad candidate experience is your best shot in the foot. What would you do if you interviewed for a job 2 months ago and haven’t received any update? Probably share with at least your significant other how surprised or annoyed you are, right? Candidates are potential customers- and their experience with your recruitment process may be their first experience with your brand. It’s critical and worth investing in.
If you’re a gainfully employed Talent Leader reading this- can you confirm your team has implemented these 2 core touch points: 1) application 2) role filled, please? It’s surprising how many companies don’t. Brownie points if you customize the messaging outside of the templated ATS e-mails. But hey, we will take a copy paste over crickets anyday.
Already there and looking for a way to level up to excellent? Have you implemented a candidate experience platform like candidate.fyi? At my most recent Series A Startup, we not only automated emails (thank you for applying, interview confirmation, role is closed etc), we provided every active candidate a unique candidate.fyi link granting them access to see the process, interview tips & tricks, team introductions, and expectations for being a candidate with us. Our offer acceptance rate skyrocketed! (Upwards of 100% some months!) And our external referrals started to role in.
Because. We. Cared. About. Every. Candidate. Experience.
For our team, it wasn’t about what it was about how. How can we prepare them? How can we empower them? How can we challenge them? How can we solicit feedback? How can we make them want to work here even if this role isn’t perfect for them?
What have you experienced as a candidate that is memorable? Good or bad- we want to know!