This year I had the absolute privilege to help The Candidate Experience Awards as a member of the CandE Council. It’s been 3 years now and as someone who has followed this program since inception, it’s absolutely tremendous to see how much it’s grown in such a short time (credit is due to founders @GerryCrispin, @ElaineOrler, @newmaed).
Also want to give a shoutout to Denni Oravec (@DenniOravec) and Mary Beth Shields for helping to manage the day-to-day for the program as well as the fellow CandE Council members and judges (see Twitter list.) Not to mention the companies who applied!
Now onto the awards and sharing some of the key insights from participating companies.
The Candidate Experience Awards has seen tremendous growth over the years and this year was no different. This marked the largest group of companies focused on the candidate experience to date and some interesting numbers overall. Here’s a rundown of the overall breakout:
Through these participating companies, the CandEs captured over 46,000 candidate responses (with Pepsi leading the charge at over 6,000 replies!) From this candidate data, the CandE judges were able to select the 64 overall winners as well as identify those with distinction.
In the list of winners, you’ll see common brands you know well and ones that are a little less mainstream. You’ll also see large organizations (25+ Fortune 1000) side by side with smaller ones. However, the one major attribute they all have in common is that they are dedicated to improving the candidate experience and engaging better with their candidates.
You can find the full list of all the 2013 winners here (shout-out to partners CDW and McGraw-Hill) And while all the winners are equal in terms of providing a great candidate experience below are the winners with distinction (who the judges thought had best overall stories to tell):
All the companies above demonstrated excellence in their candidate experience and were marked highly by the candidates that were applying to their organizations not only by the application process but a variety of other factors that affect the overall candidate experience.
Through conversations with the winning companies and attending the conference session, there were a number of key themes and insights that I would like to share that have enabled these companies to excel in creating a candidate experience that’s a step above. The key here is to understand that every company is different and faced unique challenges in their recruiting environment so while the below are great takeaways it’s really important to determine and incorporate what works for your unique situation.
*Please also note that these are broad strokes on these company stories and not meant to be a full re-telling
Candidates are Customers: While this was evident last year as well, a big trend seen over the candidate surveys is candidate’s feeling connected to brands before applying. Over 50% of candidates feel they have a relationship with the company before the recruiting process. And in most instances, this is them engaging with this brand as consumers. The big takeaway here is that recruiting is not seen as a separate piece of the brand in the minds of the candidate so it’s important to understand all interactions whether with marketing, sales, social, product or recruiting affects consumers opinions (and potentially buying patterns) of the company itself.
Be Transparent: By setting expectations up front with candidates, organizations can greatly reduce the uncertainty that comes with looking for the next opportunity. Many of the winners leverage their process to ensure that candidates understand what they are getting into when applying so they are rarely surprised by the overall process and time horizon.
Be Targeted: While the overall candidate experience needs to be understood first, the second step is ensuring customized experiences and engagement with the different targeted candidate populations organizations are looking to recruit. This can be military/veteran, campus, engineers, diversity or other important recruiting pools. And the key here is having content, messaging and processes that resonate with the specific groups you are trying to attract.
Don’t Forget About Internals: While a lot of the focus of candidate experience programs is external candidates, internal candidates are an integral part of any candidate experience initiative. It’s important to look at this process as potentially unique to how you work with external candidates and ensure that internal candidates are progressing in the organization.
Develop Relationships Early: It’s obvious that organizations competing for top talent need to get on them early and create meaningful relationships with each in order to recruit them later. But how do you do this and bake it into your process? It’s really a combination of identifying talent, timely communication and content to keep candidates warm and engaged with your organization.
Continued Evaluation: Candidate Experience is not a one time project but is a continually evolving process to consistently improve the overall experience and engagement with candidates. So organizations need to begin putting mechanisms in place to capture candidate feedback so they can analyze and continually improve their process and strategy.
There’s a lot of great learnings and ideas here to help organizations improve their candidate experience. As an organizations, it’s important to first think about your strategy and determine the key touch-points you have with candidates. And then use ideas like this to begin implementing meaningful initiatives towards improving the overall experience.
The Candidate Experience Awards committee is hard at work analyzing the data captured through the candidate surveys. From this painstaking process, they will create a report white paper with lots of great insights on what candidates are looking for from employers, new methods to better interact with candidates and general best practices that you can test and utilize in your own strategy.
To receive a free copy of this white paper when it’s published, register for a copy at the link below:
Originally posted on the SmashFly Recruitment Marketing Blog.