What is the “Candidate Experience” — and Does it Really Matter?

Posted by Mark Jackson on Tue, Nov, 13, 2018 @ 08:11 AM

 

Business people waiting to be called into interview at the office

Candidate Experience

There’s a lot of talk currently about the importance of the candidate experienceJust what is the candidate experience? Does it matter?  And if so, how can you make it better?

  

What is it?

Not surprisingly, the term “candidate experience” refers to the overall experience employment candidates have with a potential employer. It includes the candidates’ impressions and perceptions of a company’s hiring process including the job application, screening methods, communications, and the interview.

 

Does it Matter?

In a word — yes. The candidate experience matters enough that there's even an annual Candidate Experience conference to recognize leaders in this art. Here are just four of many reasons why companies should take the candidate experience seriously.

 

  1. Bad news spreads

Applicants who have a bad experience with a company often don’t go silently back into the job market — they spread the bad word. A recent industry survey found that 33% of candidates with a negative experience intended to share the news publicly through social media.

 

  1. Candidates are also customers

Alienate a candidate and it might dip into your profits. A recent Talent Board survey found that just under 40% of those with a positive candidate experience said they felt more inclined to buy from the company, regardless of whether they were actually hired. Conversely, 30% of those with a negative experience said they would now purchase fewer of the business’s goods or services.

 

  1. The good ones might get away

A positive candidate experience leads to better hiring. It’s that simple. Need evidence? Organizations that invest in a strong candidate experience improve their quality of hires by 70%. And, 90% of candidates claim that the candidate experience they receive can change their minds about a role or company.

 

  1. It will cost you real money

A bad candidate experience can be costly enough that there’s a  Candidate Experience Resentment Calculator to demonstrate potential lost revenue stemming from bad candidate experiences.

 

How Can You Improve It?

Improving the candidate experience is not overly difficult, but it does take planning, time, and effort. Here are three area to consider:

 

  1. Recruitment Marketing

    Yes, there’s really such a thing as recruitment marketing. Really, it’s just a formal term for the strategies and tactics a firm uses to find, attract, engage, and nurture talent during the pre-application or recruitment phase. Recruitment marketing might take the form of employer branding, educational and promotional videos, or career sites.

     

    The best-executed recruitment marketing involves a company’s marketing department — an Aberdeen study found that best-in-class companies are 68% more likely than all others to involve the marketing department in employment advertising tactics. The same study found that recruitment marketing reduced the overall cost of the hiring process by 20% or more for 24% of companies.

     

    1. Recruitment Messaging

    Today’s workforce includes three generations — and to reach each of them, companies need messaging that resonates with the intended audience. Take the time to hone your company’s recruiting message — it should reflect your brand and speak to the needs and interests of your candidate pool. The right messaging works — Johnson & Johnson reworked their recruitment messaging to be highly specific and saw their talent pool improve by 54% and new hire turnover drop by 23%.

     

    1. Conversational Recruiting

    Here’s another trendy term — conversational recruiting. Conversational recruiting emphasizes two-way communications throughout the recruiting process — and we’re not just talking phone chats here. Candidates expect to engage potential employers from where they live – which often means from their mobile devices, and meaningful “conversations” might take the form of text, video screening, and candidate surveys to recruit for talent and have meaningful interactions along the way.

     

    The candidate experience is a critical component in a company’s overall recruiting strategy. A good candidate experience results in a number of tangible benefits, while a poor candidate experience can diminish a company’s chances at hiring and retaining top talent. We’ve got additional ideas about how you can improve your company’s candidate experience – contact us to start the conversation. You can also check out our Best Practices Guide - 4 Key Steps to Successful Talent Acquisition

Tags: Sustainable Recruiting, employment branding, recruiting software, recruiting strategy, HR, recruiting, talent acquisition, hiring manager, ATS, Hiring, candidate experience, employer brand, employee engagement, applicant experience, applicant management

5 Tips to Launching an Effective Learning Management & Employee Development Program

Posted by Mark Jackson on Mon, Jul, 31, 2017 @ 15:07 PM

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Are you considering implementing a formalized employee development program? It is an investment that’s likely to pay off. Organizations with a career development program in place enjoy up to 250 percent higher productivity. And the benefits don’t stop there. Reduced turnover, higher employee engagement levels, increased innovation and improved risk management are some of the additional benefits companies realize when they implement a formal training and career development program. Training also serves as a recruiting tool – you’re more likely to attract and keep good employees if you offer them development opportunities. 

If your company doesn’t have a training and development program in place, it may seem daunting to get started. But it doesn’t have to be. Here are five basics to keep in mind as you work to implement an effective and efficient employee training and development solution in your organization. 

1. Consider it an investment

There is a tendency among business owners and executives to view employee training as an optional expense — and that mindset can prove very costly to your organization in the long run. The moment you think of employee development and training as just another expenditure, you’ll neglect it. Instead, think of it as an investment that can prove extremely valuable for the long-term success and growth of your organization.  

2. Remember you’re planning a program, not an event

A training program is more than just a series of unrelated courses or workshops. It should reflect your organization’s goals, as well as the needs of your staff. What's important is that your staff training program has some reason behind its structure. An unrelated series of presentations or activities might have some value, but it will benefit neither the staff nor the organization as much as a training program that forms a coherent whole. Spend the time to outline and flesh-out your course offering, aligning it with your business needs and goals. Document the desired outcomes of each course and determine how you will measure and track those outcomes. 

3. Involve your staff

Make a point to involve staff members in the planning and implementation of your training program. The people who actually do the work are usually in the best position to figure out what their needs are. Ask questions, gather input, and structure training opportunities that meet employees where they are and take them where they want or need to go. Training breeds commitment, and committed employees are happier and more productive. 

4. Incorporate the basics - but don’t stop there

Companies often decide to implement a training program to address compliance matters (think OSHA or Department of Labor), manage risk ((think sexual harassment and diversity training), and/or professional certification or credential tracking (think nurses, teachers or commercial truck drivers) – and these are certainly areas that benefit from a formalized approach to training. Job function training is another common (and worthy) goal of an employee training program.  

As you plan your training program, consider broadening it into a full-fledged employee development program. Think of training as a retention tool, helping to instill loyalty and commitment from employees. One idea would be to offer career development courses, enabling employees to prepare themselves for promotion. Staff will be more likely to stay if you offer them ways to learn and grow while at your company. Don't give them a reason to move on by letting them stagnate once they've mastered initial tasks.  

5. Leverage technology

A training and development initiative won’t succeed if it isn’t easy to maintain. Companies often rely on spreadsheets, Word documents and calendar reminders to track employee training. Usually these programs were initiated when the company was much smaller, or was training fewer individuals. A disjointed system like this requires administrators to enter data in multiple locations, making reporting, analytics and data sharing virtually impossible. While this may work when your training needs are minimal, as you grow this system becomes overly labor intensive. 

Employee training, with the myriad of details to be tracked, is an ideal candidate for automation. Not long ago, learning management software was only within financial reach of the largest companies. But now, there are affordable learning management solutions accessible to small and mid-sized companies. Give your initiative the best chance of succeeding by establishing an easy to manage infrastructure that’s both scalable and accessible. 

Interested in more? Check out our Best Practices Guide - 

3 Steps to Achieve Talent Development that Drives Organizational Success 

 

Tags: learning & development, training management, learning management system, employee development, employee engagement, training

Saying “yes” to Employee Engagement - It’s a long-term commitment that starts with recruiting

Posted by Mark Jackson on Wed, Dec, 28, 2016 @ 08:12 AM

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Employee engagement is a workplace concept that refers to how committed employees are to their organization’s goals and values, and how motivated they are to contribute to the organization’s success. Research has shown that highly engaged employees: 

  • Are more customer focused, more creative at work, and take less sick leave
  • Care about the future of their organization and put in greater effort to help it meet its goals and objectives
  • Feel proud of the organization they work for, are inspired to do their best, and motivated to deliver
  • Are much less likely to leave the organization.

Perhaps it’s not surprising then, that companies whose employees express a high level of engagement are more profitable, have greater revenue figures, and have higher levels of customer satisfaction. A company that values its employees and invests in them right from the beginning is laying the foundation for high levels of engagement. Here are some ways your organization can begin building employee engagement during the recruiting cycle.

Meet Them Where They’re At

Social media has quickly become a powerful recruiting tool. In fact, a recent Aberdeen Group survey reported that 68 percent of “best in class” recruiters think social media is “crucial” to their recruitment strategies. Your company’s LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter accounts can help you spread the word about new job opportunities. They also help put a human touch on your organization, providing a way to introduce and showcase elements of your corporate culture and mission.

Respect Their Time

Strive to be an employer that respects candidates’ time and efforts by streamlining the application process. Post open positions to your company’s website and/or an online job board like Monster.com® and Careerbuilder.com®. Make it simple for them to apply to more than one position at a time. And, send an acknowledgement email letting them know that their resume was received. An applicant tracking and recruiting solution, like Cyber Recruiter, can automate and streamline these tasks, integrating them fully into your workflow.

Conduct Effective Interviews

An interview is the first impression for both employer and candidate. It’s not only a chance for you to assess the candidate; it’s also the candidate’s chance to observe your corporate culture. As many as 42 percent of companies now employee video conferencing (solutions like Spark Hire) in the interview process. This is a great way to give both parties that vital first impression without either of you incurring the expense of an in-person interview.

Make Your Proposal  

Once you’ve identified your next hire, make the proposal a good one. Prepare and send an offer letter along with onboarding forms. Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) help speed and automate this part of the process, letting your candidate know you value them and respect their decision-making process. And of course, the applicants that were not selected deserve the same level of respect, so be certain you send them an email or letter as notification.

Prevent Information Overload

On your new employees’ first day on the job, don’t inundate them with paperwork. Much of the necessary information was gathered during the recruiting cycle, and if you’re using an ATS, that data can transfer seamlessly to your payroll and HRMS applications, eliminating the need for duplicate data entry. 

Use that first day instead to make the new employee feel welcome with an office tour, introductions to key personnel, and a welcome gift bag filled with product samples and company swag. 

Striving for high levels of employee engagement simply makes smart business sense. Think of employee engagement as a long-term, evolving relationship between your organization and your employees - one that begins long before the employee starts to work. By building employee engagement strategies into your recruiting methods, you are demonstrating that yours is a company that invests in its most valuable assets.

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For more valuable information about employee engagement and improving the talent acquisition process, check out our best practices guide - 

Best Practices Guide – 4 Key Steps to Successful Talent Acquisition

 

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Tags: company culture, employee engagement, candidate experience, Hiring, Job Candidates

5 Actions That Set Up Your Talent Development For Success

Posted by Mark Jackson on Wed, Nov, 09, 2016 @ 08:11 AM

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Talent development is an intensive and complex process that is worthwhile, if performed effectively, because of the great results you can achieve— reduced turnover, improved productivity, improved succession planning, etc. 

To accomplish these goals, you need to set up your talent development for success. Otherwise you’re program likely will be saddled with confusion, frustration and a lack of focus. Below are five actions to take. 

1. Define the required competencies for each job (e.g. soft skills, technical skills, level of experience) through a benchmarking process.

This is critical for knowing which training materials to create and/or purchase, and to know which employees should be given which training. 

2. Acquire quality, thorough, and relevant training and learning materials.

Whether created internally or from a service provider (e.g. OpenSesame), the quality of your materials has a direct role on the quality of the training—and on the results you achieve. 

3. Use a quality learning management system (LMS) to help you organize the process.

An effective talent development program requires a smooth, efficient process. The process is complex enough that it’s virtually impossible to run well without the help of technology—a learning management system. A quality LMS allows HR, employees, supervisors and training managers to know the status of training activities that are relevant to them, so everyone knows what to do. For example, HR can see the status for all employees, individual employees can see their own status. 

4. Use assessments to identify the skills and competencies employees have, and areas that need improvement.

Assessments show employees’ strengths and weaknesses in key areas, making them great tools for determining the skill and competency areas individual employees need to develop. In other words, assessments help you guide employees’ training for maximum benefit of both the employees and your organization. 

5. Create specific, reasonable goals for talent development efforts.

While these can and should be adjusted over time, having goals gives you a measuring stick for determining if your results are satisfactory or not—and if significant adjustments are needed. 

As you move forward with your talent development program, it’s important to evaluate your results for each of these actions. Have you determined the right competencies for given jobs? Are you training and learning materials of high quality and aligned with job requirements? Is your LMS working for you? Are your assessments helping guide employees’ training? Are your goals reasonable, or should they be adjusted? 

The great thing is, if you get these five actions right, you’ll be on a path to success. Of course, there’s much more that goes into talent development. For a guide that details the keys for successful talent development, download our article “3 Steps To Achieve Talent Development That Drives Organizational Success.”

Tags: training, Employee Training, talent development, learning & development, employee engagement

3 Business Imperatives for Successful Talent Development

Posted by Kimber Crumlish on Wed, Oct, 26, 2016 @ 08:10 AM

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Surveys show that employers are increasing their training budgets in order to meet their talent needs. But money alone isn’t enough to achieve quality talent development results: increased employee retention, productivity and engagement, as well improved succession planning. 

In particular, as an employer, you must meet the three talent development imperatives listed below to get quality results. 

1. You must have significant organizational commitment

Succeeding at talent development requires more than acquiring the right tools and providing quality learning materials.  Many companies fail to create a culture of learning. The consequence is engagement in the talent development process is poor, and so are the outcomes. 

How do you create a culture of learning? Take concrete actions that demonstrate the great value your organization places in talent development. These include:

  • Make training and development for all employees
  • Recognize employees who learn new skills and improve their performance
  • Hire internally
  • Give employees input in the process, and offer and encourage self-learning

 2. You must have patience with training and learning

There’s no getting around it—talent development takes time, and must be ongoing. It’s easy for more immediate priorities to take precedence, and derail training and learning activities. Prevent this by showing your organizational commitment, by insisting that training development activities move forward.

3. You must effectively manage the training process

Employees, supervisors and training managers are all involved in training, and all need to be on the same page about the training process—the current status, next steps, etc. 

This can be terribly difficult for HR and training managers to manage. Management difficulties cause delays and confusion in the process that slow talent development efforts to a crawl, and cause frustration among all involved. These problems are common among organizations that are trying to manage training with paper or Excel. As a result, it’s critical to have the proper training management tools. 

Want to get better talent development results? Read our new article, “3 Steps To Achieve Talent Development That Drives Organizational Success.”

 

Tags: training, Employee Training, talent development, learning & development, employee engagement