“Candidate experience” is a hideous buzzword. Just respect human beings.

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I want to give The Rock Bottom to people when they discuss “candidate experience.” Little secret here: that’s a buzzword. It means nothing. Well, OK, it means something. What it means is this: a HR/talent acquisition department has a bunch of boxes to check, potentially via a software suite that’s probably largely automated (hence not even human), and they can subsequently show their boss that they “engaged around candidate experience.” In reality everyone who applies wants to slit their wrists with an open Paper Clip, and we all feel increasingly isolated when Widgets Company With Made-Up Growth Numbers doesn’t tell us anything about the process for seven weeks.

It’s really not that hard. This is what a “good candidate experience” would look like:

  • Simple submission process, i.e. your LinkedIn profile
  • Quick email (this can be automated) with some cool stuff about the company
  • Email within three days about the current status
  • If it’s a reject, explain why in semi-vague, legally-defensible terms and invite them to do something else with you, like a local happy hour or some junk
  • Please do NOT say “We’ll keep your resume on file;” we all know that’s a lie
  • Continue to communicate and schedule with the active candidates
  • Do not over-schedule them; no one needs nine interviews for some junior account manager position. All that means is you have analysis paralysis or no clue what the role would even do. That’s all it means.
  • When you hire someone, have the hiring manager call them and offer to meet to discuss the gig and what it might look like in a few years if the candidate accepts and stays.
  • Sell it as a big deal; a new job is the adult equivalent of changing schools, and it needs to be treated as a big deal.
  • Make sure your eventual onboarding doesn’t suck turds.

Again, not hard. Why do we make it so hard? Just dumb shit. Process is very important. Recruiting runs from HR, which is compliance-driven and not innovation-driven. And “we’ve always done it this way,” so why should we change now?

The most paradoxical thing is this. Companies worry deeply about their (1) brand, (2) “brand messaging,” and (3) “employer branding.” Bigger companies spend millions on consultants and ideas around these things. Like literal millions of dollars.

Now riddle me this: what happens to your brand out in the real world when you constantly treat job-seekers like absolute shit, don’t communicate with them, don’t attempt to explain your business or your culture, and automate everything to the hilt?

Well, a lot of that money spent on brand is now being chipped away at to the point of being almost useless. You can still come at me with impressions or market share or quarterly growth and that’s great. I love me some cooked numbers, man. We all do. But if you’re treating potential future employees like absolute garbage before they even get in the door, do you really have a positive culture or brand? I would not say so.

Simplify the process and treat the people right. That helps you, it helps your brand, and it helps you get better people (ideally).

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Blogging, largely about work and how to improve it. How I make (some) money: http://thecontextofthings.com/hire-freelance-writer-ted-bauer/

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