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Before I talk about my main takeaways from this year’s Candidate Experience Awards Symposium (#TheCandEs), I just wanted to recognize and express my admiration for how much this awards program has grown over the past four years. I remember it when it was a small session at HR Tech and that it’s grown into a valuable standalone conference and event is an incredible testament to Talent Board founders Elaine Orler, Gerry Crispin and Ed Newman.

I’d also like to congratulate all the 2015 winners of the Candidate Experience Awards. Without you, there would be no program. Thank you.

Now onto this year’s conference …

If there was one common theme that permeated throughout the Candidate Experience Awards Symposium, it was the need to be “human” in the candidate experience. Whether it was Molly Fletcher’s keynote on creating authentic relationships, Heath Padgett sharing his story of working 50 jobs in 50 states, China Gorman’s ending keynote on the obligation we have to society as employers, or the numerous panels that shared the important tactics leading companies are using to engage candidates, there was a huge emphasis on how we can make recruiting less transactional and more personal for candidates.

So there it is: just be human. It’s that simple. But how do we do this, and more importantly, how do we do this on a massive scale? Organizations receive thousands of applications monthly and are constrained with limited resources and budget ― so how do we provide the level of authentic attention to each and every candidate?

In my next few blog posts, I will be writing about the core concepts in making talent acquisition more human. First up today is a tremendous quote from Molly Fletcher’s presentation.


Where Should I Spend My Energy (and Why Should Candidates Spend Their Energy With You?)

One of my personal favorites at the event was the first keynote by sports agent Molly Fletcher. She talked about how she has built one of the most successful sports agencies through building meaningful relationships with her clients. The whole keynote was great, but one quote really stuck with me:

At the end of the day, it’s about how we spend our energy, less so our time. That’s an important distinction, as it brings passion into the equation. The application of energy vs. time in talent acquisition is two-fold:

  • First, we need to understand how our energy can best be used in our talent acquisition strategies.
    • What is the best use of our recruiters’ energy?
    • Why should recruiters care about what they do?
    • Where is our energy wasted?
  • Second, it’s incredibly important to think from a candidate’s point of view as we build our employee value proposition and brand. Asking questions like:
    • How do we make the world better?
    • What do employees achieve at our organization?
    • What proof points (stories) can we provide to prove this?

If we can answer the question “Why should I spend my energy at our company?” both for our recruiters and candidates, then we can begin to use that energy most effectively as organizations.


Here is my takeaway to-do list:

  1. Figure out what makes you “special.” Basically, what is the true value that you provide the world, and why do your employees care? If there’s anything I learned from Molly, it is that you need to truly care about the cause you are promoting. Talk to your recruiting team and come to a hypothesis.
  2. Then talk to candidates and employees. What do they value, and what resonates with them? Interview and begin to see the trends in the value that you provide. Does it match your hypothesis? Create a value proposition for employers that meshes your recruiter, employee and candidate point of views.
  3. Use this value messaging in your strategy. Identify all your touchpoints with candidates and ensure you answer “Why you should spend your energy with us?” throughout all this messaging. This should be in your job ads, email campaigns, recruiter calls, hiring manager interviews and other content candidates come across. Ensure this message is woven throughout your candidate experience.
  4. Measure the effectiveness of your strategy. Is this messaging converting more candidates (and the right candidates)? Are candidates more informed? Are your Glassdoor ratings improving? Are you getting more referrals? There’s a lot that can be measured, but come up with the key indicators that reflect the impact of this value messaging both on your brand and in converting the right candidates down the talent acquisition funnel. Consistently measure the impact of understanding your candidate value proposition.


I love this question so much and the way that it is distilled into the key concept of why you do anything in life. So I ask you: “Where will you spend your energy?”

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