A Good Candidate Experience: “There’s really no excuse not to…”

The latest meeting of the Talent Forum discussed the question ‘Does your brand help or hinder your talent strategy?’ Speakers from international employers such as Imperial Tobacco and fashion brand Superdry shared their insight in Bristol on April 30th – discussing the effect that their consumer brands have on their ability to attract and recruit the talent they need.

In a session that covered the recruitment challenges of a highly regulated sector like tobacco to the explosive recent growth of Superdry, the evening also touched on the importance of a quality recruitment process and candidate experience. Indeed the importance of what candidates and employees say about the employer was summed up by a definition of the employer brand offered by one of the speakers “It’s what they say about you when you are not in the room”. With the variety of social media platforms available today it’s also very important who they say it to and how they share it. All the more reason to get the candidate experience right.

When the floor was opened to questions, the topic of candidate experience came up a number of times with the main theme of the event virtually turned on its head at one point. Not so much ‘does your brand hinder your talent strategy’ but instead ‘does your recruitment process hinder your brand?’

Photo by Alejandro Escamilla on Unsplash

One delegate described how one well known insurance company had not bothered to acknowledge a job application, only for the candidate to receive an insurance quote from the very same company in the post a week later. That communication went straight in the bin. Another anecdote discussed a disabled jobseeker who after having applied to a well known retailer didn’t get the courtesy of an acknowledgement – even after specifically mentioning her condition.

Views towards both employers are now negative with a tarnished ‘lack of authenticity’ felt towards them and their brands – and all it would have taken would have been a response. Even a rejection would have at least shown that they existed and avoided the feeling of the great ‘recruitment black hole’.

The reality is that a poor candidate experience undoes much of the reputation, goodwill and profitability inherent in a successful brand. With ATS technology being what it is today, being able to at least acknowledge their existence and improve the interaction between candidate and employer should not be a huge ask for HR. As one delegate put it, “there really is no excuse not to”.