The missing link to Employer Branding
Aaradhya was a Sales manager in a very large manufacturing organization for the past 3 years. She was happy with her job and was not looking out actively for a change till she got an opportunity from one of the ‘Great Places to Work’ organizations in the FMCG industry. She was all excited as the recruitment consultant discussed the opportunity with her and spent the whole weekend preparing for her interview. Finally the day of her first interview arrived. The interview was scheduled for 10AM and she planned to return to work by 2PM. However to her surprise, the process did not begin before 1PM, as the hiring manager was attending an important call. She ignored the delay but was worrying about making it in time to her office. The interview went well and she got through to the next round.
More than a month passed and she did not hear anything either from the consultant or the internal HR. She contacted the consultant and learnt that he had not heard anything from the HR on the next steps. Naturally, she felt hurt and angry but still hoped for some positive news. She entertained her nervous energy by surfing randomly on the internet about the organization when she landed on a companies’ reviews site which contained a database of employees’/ interviewing candidates’ reviews about their organization. As she moved on to the reviews from the interviewing candidates she was aghast to learn about the experiences of the candidates. Majority of candidates who were not selected reported a very negative experience. There was a case when the candidate was informed about getting selected but later he never heard back again from the organization. As she read more and more she turned increasingly negative towards the organization.
A lot of organizations fail to realize this missing link to employer branding. How amazing it would be if organizations not only try to impress their employees but also the interviewing candidates with their professional behaviour and sound processes.
A lot of organizations today have carved out a Strategic HR Advisor role responsible for working on transformation projects, process improvements and change management. Such role holders or any HR Process expert could redesign their selection process to cater to this need.
Roadmap for creating a good candidate experience
Assess the Current State: Identify stakeholders for process redesign. This would involve few members from the Talent Acquisition team and few hiring managers / managers responsible for conducting interviews. This could also involve someone from the HRIS team. Define the role of each stakeholder. RACI framework usually helps in this. Clarify the purpose and expectations to all the stakeholders and map the current interviewing process along with the stakeholders. Identify disconnects in the current process and possible reasons behind them which could be leading to a poor candidate experience. This is an important step and could throw light on key issues such as lack of preparation of interviewers before conducting interviews, failure on part of Talent Acquisition team to keep the candidate updated with next steps or to share the bad news, lack of an automated process to keep the candidate informed. Prioritize the key disconnects and identify solution for each. While the key aim is to improve candidate experience, one must identify the extent of redesign required in the selection process, just in case there are some more sub-process improvements which could be looked at simultaneously.
Benchmark best practices: The Strategic HR Advisor or the Process expert should also benchmark with the market on best practices for creating a good candidate experience. This should be done before conducting the workshop with stakeholders. Taking cue from appreciative inquiry, the Process expert could also discuss further possibilities of improving candidate experience with the stakeholders.
Redesign the process: Based on the impact, available resources and other constraints identify the key changes in the existing process and document the new process. Creating a guideline checklist could also help. Do a quick validation with key stakeholders and communicate the new process to all key stakeholders.
Monitor effectiveness: Feedback from candidates who accept the offer on the interviewing experience, Glassdoor reviews could be used as an indicator to gauge the effectiveness of the process. Take necessary steps based on the feedback received.