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It seems everywhere I turn lately (and let’s be real, for a long lately), the talk track focuses on the mysterious “candidate experience.” It’s everyone’s top challenge to solve. To me, it’s like a mystery wrapped in a John Carpenter horror movie. We just can’t seem to get this right.

But luckily the movie’s not over yet. With the right strategies, we can go from slasher flick to heartwarming underdog-turns-hero story. It’s possible; all it’s going to take is a little recruitment marketing genius and some good ol’ fashioned willingness to change. So, instead of being the girl who twists her ankle running away from the monster, it’s time for us to be the brave lady with the bat chasing after it!

Let’s look the candidate experience monsters in the eyes, pull out our recruitment marketing tricks and take them down once and for all.


The Black Hole: Talent Acquisition’s Own Frankenstein

Plain and simple, the scariest monster of the candidate experience is our own creation – the black hole. If we could fix this one thing, the movie would flood with light and the credits would roll. As big and scary as this one is, it’s also one of the most complex to fix. The way things stand, when people show interest in our companies – whether a potential candidate joining a talent network (CRM) or completing an application (ATS), it’s like we lock them in a dark and scary house, uncertainty and silence around every corner. We have created two traps for candidates to fall into, never to hear from us again. The result? We continuously create our own monsters: angry, hopeless people who were once eager to work for us, only to transform into howling, Glassdoor-ranting, poor word-of-mouth-spewing brand detractors. What else would you expect after sending a perfectly normal human to a black hole for 3 months? (According to the 2016 Candidate Experience Report, 47% of candidates were still waiting to hear back from employers two months after they applied.)

What if, instead, we gave them a light switch? Something to confirm their existence. The black hole is a big thing to take down, so don’t be afraid to start small. The thing to remember here is that candidates opted in to your brand for a reason. They want to hear from you! So, send them something. Nestle Purina is great about this; They send quick, useful content like advanced notice of job openings, reminders to complete profiles and more to their talent network. These types of communications may seem small, but they go a long way when it comes to making sure the candidate is acknowledged and isn’t left alone in the scary black hole!

Nestle 4


The Confusion of Foggy Employer Brands

Another recruiting nightmare keeping me up at night is the generic employer brand. Is it just me or is every employer out there innovative, team-first, and customer-focused? When we use these buzzwords to define ourselves, we all sound the same, and we clutter our candidates’ minds. We make searching for the right company like wading through a dark, foggy swamp with no clear direction in sight. When we are all innovative, none of us are innovative. When we all use our internal speak externally, we alienate the candidate. The way we talk about ourselves is not real.

Instead, we need to be clear and differentiated, and then we need to go the extra mile of showing people EXACTLY what we mean. For example, if you say that a career at your company is going to change the world, show candidates exactly what that means. Show them an employee who is actually changing the world. Show them that changing the world is really freaking hard – it’s an uphill climb, it’s relenting. Thermo Fisher Scientific does a great job with this. By profiling real employees and their work on the career site, they have created a brand around stories that is personal, and more importantly, unique. In 2018, you can’t just spew your talent buzzwords and hope for the best. If you do, you are leaving candidates in a fog, being hunted by Predator. Instead, be clear and show them, across channels they use. Use video. Use employees. Use text. Use strong subject lines. Work it!


CTAs: The Creepy Old House at the End of the Street

If we turn on the lights in the black hole and we clear some of the fog around our brands, we finally need to tackle the last piece of the horror show that is the candidate experience. It’s a big, boarded-up house with no windows and one door. That door is in front of about 16 other doors that are boarded up. There is no way into this house other than through that one, challenging door. What am I talking about? Simple. Calls to action. Right now, most of our candidate experiences are driven to apply (that’s the one door with all the obstacles behind it). And a lot of the time, even though you’re determined to get through all those doors (because you really like haunted houses and ghosts, I guess), you end up just falling through the floors into a black hole (uh oh, do not collect $200 on your way back to the beginning of this all).

Whether it’s a careers blog or a talent network form, we need more ways to let people in (or at least to let them see what’s inside!). We need to invite people to peek in the windows and look around the place before we ask them to unlock a really tough door and commit to entering this big, scary house. We need to make it inviting and easier for people to unlock a side door, wander around for a bit and just check things out. This is an essential way to be a little more inviting until you can actually fix that old house altogether. By providing information instead of pushing talent to apply, we create candidates who are more educated when they’re actually ready to apply.

If CVS Health were a house, it would be the opposite of this scary boarded up one. Alongside the job search on their careers site, they have a CTA to join the talent network. This placement is perfect for the candidate who is just beginning the job search and may become quickly overwhelmed by all the career areas and open jobs. Having the CTA, “Not ready to apply? Join our talent community,” removes any fear the candidate may be feeling and enables them to opt in to the brand without applying. Think of this as a wide open front door inviting candidates to walk right in and make themselves at home.


CVS Talent Network


Here’s the truth: These horrors will impact your business. Roughly 61% of people will share a negative experience with their friends, according to Talent Board. More powerful still, 48% of those who have a negative experience will take their business elsewhere. There are hard financial impacts to a bad candidate experience. And while these candidate experiences are scary, they can be fixed with some recruitment marketing tricks by the brand and treats for the candidate. Great recruitment marketing can take a financial nightmare for your brand and turn it into a windfall.

To learn more tips and tricks, head on over to Transform Academy. Brush up on your skills and learn some new tactics to make sure you aren’t causing fear for talent or your CFO in the new year

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