Earlier this week, the annual Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Talent Conference and Expo kicked off virtually, and while attendees weren’t able to enjoy the Florida sunshine or visit Disney World’s vast theme park after conference hours, they were able to enjoy the multiple sessions SHRM had to offer online.
The conference was loaded with great tips and strategies for recruiting talent during these uncertain times, and one session that stood out, in particular, was SocialTalent CEO Johnny Campbell’s session, “The 10 Principles Behind Great Candidate and Hiring Manager Experience.” Campbell’s engaging session was very informative, and I’d like to share some of his insights.
CX Must Reflect the Candidate’s Identity
As COVID-19 continues to impact employers and employees alike, that doesn’t mean we should be blowing off potential candidates who are still actively looking for work. The candidate experience (CX) has always been an important part of the recruiting process, but as employment starts to pick back up, how you offer a great CX will stand out most to the top talent you seek.
If you’re trying to create a great CX for jobseekers, it starts with your employer brand. When building your brand, you must start by identifying your company’s clear set of values. Your core principles/values need to permeate every aspect of the CX, Campbell says, and when your values align with those of potential candidates, you’ll be one step ahead of getting them in the door.
Campbell advises that the best employer brand must have a combination of sincerity and personality, and you must build this brand as a reality, not an image. If you present candidates with an unrealistic idea of what it’s like to work for your company and they show up on day 1 and don’t see that “reality,” they’re going to walk out the door, leaving you right where you started.
Satisfy Candidates’ Higher Objectives
When employees ask HR for a raise, there’s usually an underlying motive behind why they want more money, suggests Campbell. It isn’t that they want more money just to have more money, but maybe they need to pay for their daughter’s braces or expensive medical bills.
The logic behind why an employee does something can be referred to as “higher objectives (HOs).” Sure, asking for money is subjective, but getting down into the weeds as to why the employee needs something will help achieve his or her HO.
Campbell says that wants and needs are derivative, but when it comes to creating a great CX, you must be satisfying that HO, and that HO depends on each individual person. In order to show candidates you have their HO in mind, Campbell suggests highlighting these initiatives on your company’s career site. These initiatives can include showing candidates how your company participates in social responsibility programs or showing them how your employees are active in volunteering for their communities.
Set and Meet Expectations
There’s nothing worse than getting your hopes up just to be let down when expectations aren’t met, and that has lasting consequences for the CX. Campbell explains the “Peak-End Rule,” which is basically: When you look back on a particular event in your life, you are generally going to remember the best thing that happened first and then the worst thing that happened during that event. Campbell says to just focus on the “peak” (the best thing) and the “end” (the worst thing), and try to change those two things in order to offer a better CX.
Additionally, Campbell suggests that when it comes to setting expectations, you should look to “meet” expectations rather than “exceed” them. He says when candidates come to expect something and that something isn’t delivered, they’re let down, resulting in a negative CX.
Mistake-Proof the Process
Campbell says that when mistakes happen, it can cause unnecessary amounts of stress, and this statement holds true in all aspects of life. When it comes to recruiting and CX, one way to help alleviate stress is to make the process “mistake-proof.”
Campbell offers a few strategies for helping ease candidates’ stress:
- If candidates are stressed about the interview, share some common mistakes other candidates have made. This can help them learn from other mistakes in order to make their interview more successful.
- If your parking situation is difficult, text candidates the day before to give them a heads-up. This will prepare them for what to expect when coming in for the interview and hopefully reduce some of the stress associated with finding a parking spot.
- If you know it’s going to rain the day of the interview and your parking lot is a distance from the building, text candidates the night before and tell them to bring an umbrella.
It’s small things like these that can help reduce stress and ultimately stand out in the CX. You’re showing candidates you care about their experience and want them to succeed, which will ultimately make them happier in the long run.
Indulge the Senses
This may be one of the more interesting concepts I learned during Campbell’s presentation. Campbell suggests indulging candidates’ five senses throughout the hiring process and shares a few examples on how to nail this step.
He says the airline carrier Emirates sprays perfume on almost everything, indulging your sense of smell and making a lasting impression. While we would say this idea “smells” like an HR nightmare, I can understand the concept and how it can impact CX. While I’m not suggesting you break out Chanel #5 and go to town spraying your entire office, this is one more thing to keep in mind when trying to create a memorable CX.
Campbell also suggests mailing (like, physically going to the post office and dropping a real piece of mail into the mailbox) candidates their acceptance letters. This gives them the opportunity to hold something, touch it, and feel the tangibility of that acceptance letter, rather than just reading it in an e-mail.
At the end of the day, making candidates feel valued and respected will ultimately win over their experiences, but recruiters should be putting CX at the top of their “to-do” lists in order to keep these candidates in their pipelines and keep those bad reviews off Glassdoor. If you have any other interesting strategies for creating a great CX, please feel free to put them in the comments section—I’d love to hear what’s working best for your company!