Aaron Schwartz, Senior Manager of Employer Insights at Indeed, outlined how to energize the application, interview, and onboarding processes to attract and engage job seekers.
Schwartz began the first thought leadership presentation of the day at the 2018 CHRO Leadership Forum held in San Francisco on November 7 with the statement, “Many of you in this room have told us that what’s most important to you is the candidate experience, and that’s what we’re going to talk about,” he said.
“From the job-seeker side, the job search is an emotional journey. The emotional journey begins when someone realizes they’re not really enjoying their job, which is perhaps why we get the most traffic on Indeed on Monday mornings around 11 am. And, on that journey, job seekers want it to be humanized. We can’t forget that side,” Schwartz noted.
“Employers go through this emotional journey as well. We call it ‘the journey of anxiety and confidence,’ because employers fluctuate between these two emotions throughout the hiring process. The peak anxiety point for both employers and job seekers is what’s called the black hole. A job seeker applies for a job, and then it’s crickets. On the employer side, a lot of time is spent researching a candidate and then doing outreach. Again, crickets. What can you do to make hiring a more positive experience for everyone involved?” he asked.
“The hiring process is a two-way street. Not only are we evaluating candidates, they’re evaluating us. Both sides are anxious and excited, and both want more human connection. There are three stages that encompass everything a candidate experiences: applying, interviewing, and onboarding. At each stage, it’s important for employers to consider their biggest wins and their opportunities for growth.”
Schwartz advised that companies use their career site, social platforms, and
employee advocates—including former employees—to connect with job seekers before they apply. The considerations that prospective applicants report as most important are 1) sharing the company’s values or resonating with its mission, 2) positive reviews about the company, and 3) feeling passionate about the company’s products or services.
“We need to be sure the application process is seamless and easy. A study showed that a third of applicants won’t invest more than 15 minutes in the application process. So, after the candidate applies, be sure to respond promptly. The same study found that 54% of candidates said hearing back from a company quickly makes them feel more connected,” stated Schwartz.
Regarding the next step, interviewing, Schwartz stated that the more employers empower candidates, the more positive this experience will be for them. Indeed found that 91% of candidates who received detailed information prior to their interview rated the interview experience 3 out of 4 stars. Interestingly, 76% of candidates who were given information prior to the interview but weren’t selected to move forward in the process still rated the experience 3 out of 4 stars. Those who rated the experience 1 star received no preparation.
Other items to keep in mind in the interviewing process:
- Once a candidate arrives on site, all company employees should participate in shaping that individual’s experience—from the security guard on up.
- Keep candidates engaged in conversation after the interview.
- Request feedback on your hiring process from rejected candidates to keep the talent pipeline open.
Lastly, there’s onboarding. Schwartz pointed out that nearly half of job seekers say it’s important to them that the recruiter keeps in touch with them after they’ve been hired, and 87% of employers say it’s important for them to keep in touch with candidates after they’ve been hired. An unorganized or incomplete onboarding process can cause employees to rethink their decision to join the company just when they should be the most enthusiastic. Some 86% of new employees decide whether to stay with a company within the first six months, and 31% leave during that time.
The three main reasons people leave a company within the first six months are:
- The job didn’t align with the job description
- Insufficient training during onboarding
- Coworkers aren’t helpful
In summary, the main point for each of the three steps of the candidate process are:
- Applying—Streamline the application process, and respond promptly and creatively.
- Interviewing—Prep candidates prior to the interview, and treat them as valued visitors on site.
- Onboarding—This process should be pivotal and ongoing.
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