8 Talent hunters share how they create a great candidate experience

In case you haven’t notice or weren’t at the recently concluded ATC2019, candidate experience seems to be making a comeback, with many of the presenters focusing on this topic as they took to the stage.
So we thought this is the perfect opportunity to share what some your peers are doing to provide a great candidate experience during their hiring process.
What do you think? What are you doing to create a great candidate experience? Use the comment section to share your thoughts!

Alana Bennett
Head of Employee Experience at oOh! Media

My number one tip is understand what problem you are trying to solve. You want to make sure you are focusing on elements YOUR candidates are saying are broken.
So before you start designing the actual experience, spend some time collecting feedback from your candidates (those that were successful and unsuccessful) and use this to understand the “moments” that you need to win to help shape the experience you design.
Once you have done this, ensure you are getting feedback to validate the changes you have made to make sure it is delivering on what you had aimed to achieve.
Repeat this process annually. No experience should ever sit stagnant, you should be optimising each year.

Cathy Riach
Employment Brand & Partnership Manager at BAE Systems Australia

First things first, you need to determine what “good looks like” and what constitutes a great candidate experience.
For us, that meant using the independent benchmark data provided by The Talent Board as part of the Candidate Experience Awards. Through that data and research, we could clearly see what mattered most to candidates and how we measured up.
Then, what it really boils down to is treating people like people – not numbers or just names on resumes.
Put yourself in the shoes of the candidate and with that lens, look at your standard emails, the level of feedback you provide and the way you provide it.
Consider the interview approach and the level of engagement you have throughout the process. How would that experience feel? Good? Bad? Indifferent? Would it compel you to want to work for us?
If not – commit to change and get on with it!

Rob Papworth
Group Manager, Talent at MMG Limited

When I first joined MMG we were only two years young and in a candidate market we were up against the icons of the mining industry.
I genuinely felt indebted to every person who took a leap of faith and joined us, so much so that I personally hand-wrote a thank you card to every person who accepted an offer of employment. I probably wrote and distributed thousands of these cards over the next five years to new hires in Peru, Laos, DR Congo, South Africa and Australia.
It just felt like the right thing to do at the time as the Head of Recruitment for an emerging company and the responses I received were fantastic.

Sandra Touma
ANZ & SEAA Talent Acquisition Manager at Unilever

A personalised recruitment journey for each candidate! Your candidates need to know that you have their best interest at heart.
For instance if you know that your candidate is looking for a position with people management skills and you foresee that the role is more of a standalone position then you need to be honest enough to call it out. The same if a candidate was unsuccessful in securing a role.  You need to have an open and honest conversation with empathy.
Truly listen to what is being said and clarify any areas you may need further insight. Be brave and don’t shy away from feedback.
Whether a candidate gets the job or not, they are likely to be a consumers so treat them with respect. Be kind, genuine and be you. Most importantly, remember they are human too and are evaluating you as a brand ambassador.

Sarah Blanchard
Head of Talent Management

My top tip to creating a great candidate experience is very simple – Deliver on the commitments you have made to candidates at all times.
This applies to calling when you said you would call, sending company info/IPDs when you said you would send, and providing feedback when you said you will provide etc.
More and more frequently, in particular where we see volume recruitment, the process may be completely automated. However, let’s face it, we are not all there yet and much of our Talent Acquisition cycle, in particular where more senior roles are concerned, we have significant human interaction throughout.
Ignoring the basics means not only do we directly impact the candidates engagement to the immediate opportunity, but we impact their engagement to our brand and the chance to convert them to a consumer of our products long term, which hurts the bottom line.

Denise Pereira
Talent Acquisition Sourcing Specialist at Coles 

As strange as this sounds, I generally try and find common ground through topics on food.
Not everyone is in to sports or the weather but everyone loves food. I have seen so many candidates relax and let loose and the nerves become secondary, which allows them to really bring themselves to the surface.
You should also put yourself in the candidates’ shoes and communicate as much as you can through the process, especially if have already gone through the hurdle of a phone screen and in to your company ‘funnel’ of interviews.
Always try and add a bit of a personal touch to your approach if you can. Clarify your company or clients process from the start, transparency is always appreciated, both ways.

Mark Mansour
National Talent Acquisition Lead at Servian

Treat people the way you want to be treated.
What are the things that I would want as a candidate? Acknowledgment that my CV has been received, an email to say I have been declined, a phone call to close out my application if I have come in and met you.
I have always looked at my own experiences with recruiters, as a candidate, and aimed to be better. I think of the times when I have been verbally offered roles, then been ghosted. Times when applications have been made, and never receiving an automated response.
It is a 101 of human decency, and the way I live my life.

Tim Stevens
Talent Acquisition Adviser at Jemena

In my early working days, I came across this quote: “In the absence of feedback, a customer will make up their own version of reality so keep them in the loop.”
I have continued to apply the context of this quote to this day and how that plays out in the candidate experience space is providing feedback in the timeframe specified.
For example, if a candidate is informed at interview “we will let you know by the end of the week”, then I will make sure this happens.
Whether it is bad news or just a status update, it is still delivering on the promise to the candidate.

ATC2019 is all about exploring high performance Talent functions and the elements necessary for Talent Acquisition (TA) to thrive as we enter the age of intelligence. Get your tickets here
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