Why You Should Care About Candidate Experience as Much as Customer Experience

Tom Gimbel
Marketing News
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Key Takeaways

​What? Marketers should be caring about their job candidates' experiences as much as their customer experience.

So what? Marketers can't attract top talent to their organizations without applying the practices they use every day to engage customers.

​Now what? The best way to get someone to buy (or hired) is to get them to interact with your brand by being visible where they are, advises contributor Tom Gimbel.

Marketers strive to create positive customer experiences to attract new customers and keep current ones engaged and happy. Whether it’s promoting a product or service, the goal is to make a positive lasting impression, and this applies to recruiting as well. Marketers can’t attract top talent to their organizations without applying the practices they use every day to engage their customers. Here’s how to make sure that your candidate’s experience is just as positive as your customer experience. 

1. Know what talent you want and target them. If you want the best and brightest coming out of college, then target top-tier universities both big and small, and recruit on campus. Host college days at your office or have an internship program. If you’re looking for experienced, involved professionals, join associations specific to your line of work or your industry, and attend their events.

Creating a targeted recruiting strategy to make your brand and company visible where your ideal candidates live and interact isn’t dissimilar to creating a marketing plan, and researching and analyzing your target market. The best way to get someone to buy (or hired), is to get them to interact with your brand by being visible where they are.

2. Create a good “in-store” experience. When candidates come in for an interview, they should feel welcomed and comfortable. Greet candidates when they walk in the door. Smile. Offer coffee or water. Ask to hang up their coats for them. Introduce them to other employees walking in the halls. Give them an office tour, ask about their commute—and genuinely care to hear their responses.

Candidates are there for an interview, but they should still feel relaxed. They should feel your culture right away. Think about how you’re treated at an Apple store. Employees greet you, ask how they can help, and work with you one on one to offer personalized service. That’s the approach you should have with candidates.

3. Be authentic. Don’t try to sell the company as something it’s not. Don’t tell a candidate that the office is laid-back if it’s fast-paced. If employees work beyond the usual 9 to 5, tell candidates that. Talk about the dress code. Set expectations before an offer is even on the table.

The best example of this in marketing is a product example: If you buy Rogaine because you want to grow your hair back, but after three times using it, it does the opposite, and more of your hair falls out, you wouldn’t be very happy. In fact, you’d probably feel deceived. That’s how candidates feel when a hiring manager explains the role, and then they are hired to do something completely different, or the culture is described one way and, in reality, is completely different when they start.

4. Be considerate. Value every candidate’s time. Explain whether there’s an immediate need for the role, and give candidates a timeline for the interview process. If you’re not sure, say that. Be honest and manage expectations.

When candidates come in for an interview, don’t make them wait. Look at your experiences as a consumer and think about how it applies to the office. If you have to wait 20 minutes for a drink from Starbucks, you’ll probably be frustrated by the time it gets to you. Candidates will feel the same way. Be accountable and stick to your timeframe.

5. Be a resource. Every person who interviews with your company should walk away with something. Don’t just send candidates out the door if they’re not the right fit. Offer resume advice. Give them feedback on the interview. If a person’s wardrobe is unprofessional, tell them that. Offer tangible takeaways so that they can become a more competitive candidate.

Marketers strive to ensure that their companies do the same thing, whether it’s through content marketing and providing relevant information to customers or through sales reps. If you walk into the shoe department at Nordstrom with the intention to browse, employees will still help you figure out the best options for you. They offer suggestions so that you’ll know what to look for when you are ready to buy. Do the same for the people you interview. Candidates will likely share their experiences (both good and bad) with others: Make sure it is a good one.

This article was published in the January 2016 issue of Marketing News. 

Author Bio:

Tom Gimbel
Tom Gimbel is CEO and founder of LaSalle Network, a recruiting and staffing firm based in Chicago.
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February 28, 2016

Thanks for shining a spotlight on the Candidate Experience. Couldn't agree more that it's a crucial touchpoint for any brand/company. I've got plenty of stories -- and know many colleagues who do -- about firms that completely turned us off during the course of the interview process; many for failing to do something as simple as a follow-up email or call to close the loop about a recent interview or possible hire. Seems that the HR dept's responsiveness is "low hanging fruit" for companies to get right. Steve

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