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What Makes a Great Candidate Experience?

Hosted by: Expedia

Expedia hosts ChapmanCG in London

ChapmanCG co-hosted a Talent Acquisition leaders think tank session at the offices of Expedia last month to discuss what makes a great candidate experience.

Attendees were present from Shell, Facebook, Credit Suisse, American Express, Verizon and Expedia, with members of the global recruiting team from Asia, Latam and the USA.

During a structured discussion, the group assessed their companies approach and personal experiences to candidate experience with a focus on candidate research and application, assessment and selection and finally the offer and on-boarding process.

Key takeaways included:

Research and application

  • Many of those in attendance were moving towards video JDs, puzzles and other innovations to attract candidates and improve their experiences.
  • Hackathons are becoming increasingly impactful in the Tech space to create new ways for applications and selection.
  • The growth of the mobile app has made the application process easier and response times shorter. Finding a ‘one size fits all’ solution is still not possible and this area appeared to fragmented and varying approaches still.
  • Creating recruitment programmes targeted at the undergraduate and graduate level that leverage employee-alumni as campus ambassadors for university hiring.

Overall, there is a driving need to see the candidate as the customer and sometimes this mind-set is lost when the focus is solely on metrics and process improvements.


Assessment and selection

  • Most agreed that candidates were keen to know the interview process and timing at the onset rather than discovering later that the recruitment process lasts longer expected. Transparency on this element can be impactful.
  • Video interviewing is markedly on the rise as it is cost-effective method that maintains a personal touch and can be moved quickly with global locations.
  • The attendees mentioned the need for better thought-out job descriptions and candidate questions to help filter and reduce the number of unsuitable candidates applying. Additionally, more want to let candidates know if they are a fit online. Video job descriptions and recorded manager summaries for positions were discussed but not being used yet.
  • There is a drive for Recruiting Co-ordinators to act as a type of concierge in some firms, where the focus is on candidate experience and interactions. Included in this is ‘candidate breakup training’, how to decline candidates with the perspective that unsuccessful candidates are future customers–and could be potential employees at a later date.
  • Some companies are surveying candidates in real-time throughout the hiring process to get a ‘feel’ for areas for improvement.
  • Hiring managers are attending interviewing training courses (in some cases up to 2-day programmes) and are receiving accreditation. Organizations are even going so far as to create diverse interview panels for each role.
  • Recruiters must strike a balance between preparing and “over” preparing candidates.
  • There was talk about success when using these new online tools:
    • Sunstone (CEB) — A good tool for CV matching
    • HackerRank was being used for tech hiring

Overall, there was plenty of discussion about the use of technology to help make the assessment and selection process more efficient as well as a means to increase candidate interactions. With gamification becoming more prevalent in the assessment process, organisations are wondering if this the future.


Offer and on-boarding

  • There has been a shift to Recruitment teams (instead of HR) managing the offer process in most circumstances.
  • Pre-boarding is becoming the way forward and we see more pre-boarding apps on the market (or built in-house). A lot of organisations have accepted that the gap between offer acceptance and the start date is not always managed well and there is significant room for improvement.

In summary, most companies in attendance were focused on cost and employee efficiencies and therefore admitted to overlooking the candidate experience. However, everyone agreed that taking the time to consider the perspective of the applicant can change the dynamic of your hiring approach.

The future seems to point towards more technology to support virtual interviews, testing to help guide the decision of hiring the right candidate, and a “back to the basics” approach by adding a personal touch to the process so that all candidates have the right experience, regardless if they are successfully hired or not.

Our next London HR leaders Roundtable will be in October 2016.

Ben Davies is a Managing Director with ChapmanCG and leads the firms EMEA business.


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