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Last week, I had the privilege to attend this year’s Candidate Experience Symposium in Chicago. The event was the culmination of a year long process with leading recruiting organizations that participated in the 2014 Candidate Experience Awards.

You can see the winners here.

The conference was a fantastic collection of knowledgeable practitioners and thought leaders and the sessions / panels left the crowd much more well informed than when they arrived.

While I will share my notes on these sessions, I wanted to provide my thoughts on the biggest theme from the conversations and sessions at the conference.

And that was that above all else proper communication was the most important aspect of a good candidate experience. And it was communication to three main audiences.

Consistent Communication with Candidates in Hiring Process

A consistent message across all of the panels and presentations was the need for transparent processes and proactive communication with candidates.

The idea of “closing the loop” came up a number of times and is a great way to think about your communication strategy to candidates. As candidates take actions in your recruiting process (visit your Career Site, apply for a job, interview with a hiring manager, etc.) they should receive an appropriate reaction from the organization whether it’s a customized automated response or a personal communication from a recruiter or hiring manager.

Understanding the type and level of communication at the different stages of the hiring process is incredibly important and it’s companies such as Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Pepsi that understand and practice proactive communication that are rated high for candidate experience.

 

Understanding Communication Needed with Internal Stakeholders

While the communication with candidates is important, communication is also integral internally with your hiring managers and internal business partners. As mentioned by Lockheed Martin’s Marvin Smith, we need to remember that our hiring managers are ultimately the clients for the talent acquisition function and the better we understand their needs and communicate through the process, the better the experience will be for the business and the candidate as well.

But what does this communication look like? One piece of terminology that is gaining traction is the idea of a “Talent Advisor”. This is a person in the talent acquisition organization that is focused on understanding the needs of the business, building strong relationships with candidates and hiring managers and ensuring that the hiring process is one that provides a seamless experience for both sides.  There is nothing worse than a disconnect when a candidate talks to a recruiter and when they talk to a hiring manager. Synergy is key.

Ensuring Proper Communication with Employees (and Alumni)

The fact that came up time and time again is that the candidate experience isn’t just a one-off experience but lasts the full lifetime between the candidate and the organization. And it’s the organizations that focus on remaining connected with both hired candidates and those that are not hired that truly impact their business results through the candidate experience.

And key to this strategy is your interactions with former employees, your alumni. Ensuring the parting process and terms are reasonable, providing ways to keep in touch and finding ways to engage to potentially bring them back to your organization can be a huge boon to your employment brand and overall reputation as an employer.

Communication is Integral

If you haven’t thought through your communication strategy for talent acquisition, it’s time to start. Begin thinking about the proper reactions and messaging that you should strive to provide at each step of the candidate experience from the initial connection through to the final decision you make in the hiring process. It should be timely, consistent and continuous to provide real value to your recruitment marketing strategy.

Candidate Experience

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