Improving on Candidate Experience

IMPROVING ON CANDIDATE EXPERIENCE

Work-related learning is a great way for people to gain an understanding of the working world and the traits of a particular profession.  It has been a decade of working under the umbrella of HR, experiencing, and learning from almost all facets of HRM.  I found the HRM as an invincible agent that not only ensures the smooth functioning of any organization but binds all its other aspects to achieve successful business growth. Responding to the technological, cultural, and demographic shifts the HR has evolved itself from a business function to a business partner.  This evolution not only helped HR to improve on basic functions but transformed it into a significant business advisor on various people issues. And people being the most important aspect for an organization, attracting and retaining the quality ones always remains a challenge, whether a start-up or a Forune 500 company.  This shifts the onus to the HR function to develop a thoughtful TA strategy that could bring in people who are a culture fit, stay longer and be more productive. Eventually this leads to develop a group of highly engaged employees who are more productive, deliver higher quality work and make customers happier. The result is a highly sustainable business and a growing organization.

Employees are the driving force behind a company’s operations, hence finding and retaining suitable ones is an important element of HR’s action plan. The hiring team should be able to source people who not only aligns with current requirements but could eventually handle the senior portfolio, and this is possible only when you engage with them and create a good candidate experience. The recruiters, sourcing agencies, HR professionals, hiring managers, or whosoever involved in the process should work in close alignment to create a great experience for candidates at every touchpoint of their journey. Recruiters being the first point of connect should work to create a pleasant and seamless experience for all job aspirants at all stages of the hiring process. In the end, all the promises an organization makes through brand image and interactions will only be impactful if the candidates get a positive experience throughout the hiring process. The role of a recruiter is very significant, to foster a positive experience for candidates, whether they are offered a job or not. My focus has always been a “people-centric” approach when dealing with candidates which helped me develop good relationships even after rejections. Candidates feel good about the company and brand after they see how they are treated. Let us check on some ways to improve on better candidate experience –

  1. Greetings and first statement – As many companies majorly rely on the portals database, phone interviews are common these days and can be convenient in screening applicants and inviting only qualified ones to attend the in-person interviews. When you call a candidate the way you greet and introduce yourself plays the same role as shaking hands in a face-to-face interview. You have only a few seconds to leave an impression not only for yourself but the company and it’s brand. One example could be-

Ex – Good morning Mr. Chris, my name is Adil, and I am glad to connect with you on behalf of company X regarding an open position. Is it a good time to talk?

This allows a candidate to know and understand the caller and to decide whether to continue further with the call or not.

  • Well-Being – It is advisable to enquire about the well-being of the candidate and his/her family, especially during this pandemic time. The corona pandemic has been a strange and humbling experience for all of us, so it is a good opportunity to engage with a candidate on a personal level. This will help build a rapport and instantly shows a human side to both interviewer and candidate.
  • About company – Recruiters should be confident, / and properly informed when it comes to the employer and its business. They should be passionate about their company, the role they are hiring for, and the interview process. Briefing about the employer, it is business, and role to the candidates demonstrate a professional and enthusiastic attitude.  This will also engage the candidate and allow for a more meaningful exchange.
  • About Role – The recruiter is responsible to find out as much as possible about the role. This can be done by developing an honest and realistic job description, inputs from managers, and an effort to understand the role alignment with the employer’s business. A proper understanding of the role helps the recruiter in keeping the candidate informed, engaged, and excited about the opportunity.
  • Being attentive – One of the important attributes of a recruiter is to be highly attentive to his/her candidates by listening actively to their responses and recording them for further usage. Some recruiters will submit candidates and then forget about them, which makes it difficult for them to backtrack. It is important to listen, probe, and record the details of a candidate for better understanding and proper fit.
  • Discussing the organizational culture and values – Company culture is a business’s attitudes, values, behaviors, and goals which define the way people interact with each other and the company make decisions. Communicating the organization’s culture and values clearly and effectively throughout the hiring process is vital to finding suitable candidates. Companies not showcasing them on their website transfers this responsibility to the recruiter to communicate it well in sourcing matchable resources having the same values.
  • Reference request – It is painful for the recruiter to connect a candidate who is perfect but not interested in the job. This is indeed a tough situation for the recruiter but should be handled gracefully by respecting the candidate’s decision. It is time to plant seeds for a further relationship by knowing about candidates’ aspirations, briefing about company and position, and requesting references from his/her network. I prefer to share the JD with such candidates with the intent to reach out to suitable ones through them. 
  • Handling no show and offer declines – The most disappointing stage in the hiring process is the offer decline. Although hard to bear but should again be handled gracefully by being kind and respectful. This is an opportunity for the recruiter to learn more about the hiring process through follow-up and feedback. The feedback can have great insight into why the company is not a good fit or what things could be changed to be a better fit. Perhaps you may have to change a couple of things or may not have to change anything, but once done you will come out with a good employee. I have seen many declined cases turning out to be your best employees with strong follow-ups and necessary improvements, so keep trying. 
  • Closing the call – An important step in the hiring process is to provide an opportunity for the individual to ask related questions and apprising them about further steps. Thanking the candidate for the time and ending the discussion on a formal but sincere note leave a great impression on the candidates.
  • Maintaining a database – Take some time to collect your thoughts and summarize your impressions in notes or some database. You need not decide at this point but recording impressions after any discussion will help you not only in taking a final decision but also to establish a comparison or backtrack candidates.

In today’s fast-paced economy, hiring is not just about filling vacant positions it is about sourcing and engaging with the best available talent. There are often thousands of people who apply to work for an organization each year and the way they are treated goes a long way as to how they feel working for any organization.  So, creating a good candidate experience throughout the hiring process is prudent for any organization. Consequently, recruiters should now be more focused on building relationships with talent rather than on things that can be handled automatically. In the end, candidates are your potential customers, and you must be serious about them by treating them with respect, professionalism, and empathy. Remember we are dealing with humans and a humane touch will always reap good relationships, networks, and a pool of suitable candidates. Because hiring a talented employee not only saves time and money but also differentiates an organization from its competitors.

At HRletes we help you connect with quality, experienced and productive candidates. We assure you that only the most suitable candidates are referred to you. 

HRletes – Serving in your frame

Have you lost job – Time to get one

The Lost Jobs

The outbreak of the Corona Pandemic has been a setback worldwide causing a huge loss to human lives, public health, and the world of work. An estimated 12.2 crore people have lost their jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Almost 75% of the 12.2 crore people were small traders and wage-laborers. As per ILO (International Labour Organization), the world lost nearly 400 million jobs in the second quarter of the year 2020. The job losses in Asia and Africa increased by over 400 million as per estimates. India’s workforce also reported a massive hit by coronavirus with almost 21 million salaried job loss between April to August -20, as per a report by CMIE(Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy). The job losses are not only confined to only the support staff among salaried employees but also includes industrial workers and white-collar workers, it said. About 4.8 million salaried jobs were lost in July and then in August, another 3.3 million jobs were gone,” the CMIE said. The monthly CMIE data reported an increase in the country’s unemployment rate from 7.40% in July-20 to 8.35% in Aug-20. Amongst all the lost jobs salaried jobs were the most impacted ones as per CMIE. This widespread unemployment is a great cause of huge earnings losses, family disruption, a decline in physical and mental well-being, and social withdrawal.

Unemployment and rising Stress Level

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) had a substantial impact on global economies. The majority of people are either affected directly or indirectly through economic fallout.  It has negatively impacted individual employment at a global level. The lockdown included the closure of many businesses forcing the workforce to complete their work, from home. The companies having non-essential businesses where WFH was not possible to have either shut down their operations or reduced the workforce. The insecurity created because of income loss has impacted society affecting the health and mind of many. Losing employment is one of life’s most stressful experiences. Employment brings not just financial stability but also a sense of purpose and self-esteem. It can badly affect our mood, relationships, mental and emotional health. Apart from monetary and financial reasons job is also a way to feel connected to others. Losing a job can be one of life’s most stressful experiences as it results in fear and anxiety. For many people, job loss not only triggers feelings of sadness and depression but also the loss of one’s identity. This brings a lot of stress to all as it can leave us hurt, angry and depressed.  As per a WHO study, 89% of India’s population suffers from stress and as per another survey, 82% suffers from stress on account of work and finance-related concerns. These numbers have multiplied by the sudden pandemic break which badly affected the working professionals in the form of pay cuts, lack of opportunities, and economic downtown.

Job loss not only takes a toll on mental health but also the physical well-being of people. Apart from stress and depression people losing jobs are more prone to sleep problems, ulcers, headaches, and even heart ailments.

Handling stress with a silver lining

The pandemic has made the words anxiety and fears common for people when it comes to jobs and related well-being. Finding oneself out of work had made people feel hurt, angry, or depressed. It is true that losing a job and getting a new one is difficult in a pandemic situation, but not impossible. A feeling of failure and loss of self-esteem is normal but should be temporary, according to health experts, as it could lead to physical and psychological unease. It is important to consider your existence as foremost rather than your career.  People should not feel alone as millions of others are facing the same issue and insecurity at this time. It is prudent to maintain a balance between body, mind, and soul by thinking positively, staying calm and composed. Additionally, below steps can be taken to deal with uncontrollable circumstances of a job loss –

  • Accept the reality by giving time to yourself and adjust to the circumstances
  • Involve with family and friend by revealing the job status and spend time to relax
  • Redefine yourself by pursuing meaningful hobbies, activities, and relationships
  • Stick to a daily routine, physical exercise, and balanced diet
  • Take a sound sleep and stay positive.
  • Create a plan of action for the next job search
  • Think about the things which are under your control
  • List down the things you want to achieve and plan actions to achieve them
  • Have complete faith in Almighty and never give up
  • Spend time in nature

Returning to previous normal

The COVID -19 pandemic disrupted the job markets globally during 2020. Millions of people were furloughed or lost jobs while others adjusted to pay cuts and the WFH environment. But the year 2021 has marked hope for new jobs and hiring trends, allowing people to recover from the loss incurred due to the pandemic. The Indian job market is also improving slowly and steadily with an almost 50% increase in job openings in January-21 as compared to December -20.  The Covid-19 vaccination drive and improving economic indicators have induced employers to hire for vacant and new positions. As per the Employment Outlook Survey, conducted by Manpower Group an increase in hiring activity is expected in the next quarter of the year 2021. About 12% of 2,375 companies who participated in the survey plan to hire more people in the April- June-21 quarter. The survey also estimated a workforce gain for all companies including small, medium, and large businesses with the latter leading the show with 10% of Net Employment Outlook. The Job market continues to improve across India with an increase in job postings as per the Monster Employment Index report which compares the job listing data with specific time intervals. The report highlights maximum growth in job postings as compared to last year in industries like FMCD, Agro-based, IT-Hardware, Software, Banking, and financial services, Insurance to name a few. With all these, we see hiring bouncing back to pre-COVID levels and the market gearing up for new and vacant jobs within the next coming months.

A thoughtful plan of action

Maybe you were not able to land a job in the year 2020 but the new year has positive hopes with the availability of vaccines and improvement in business activities. It is very important to be ready by doing related searches and collecting information about positions and companies. It’s time to build your job search strategy for 2021. Figure out first the type of job and the company you want to work, identify some rough timelines, and build on your application to get the desired one. Identify the suitable job boards and visit the career page of targeted companies. Work on building targeted resumes, update your social media profiles, and strengthen your network. Explore for best career websites, resume review sites, and join interview preparation platforms. At last, never give up, remember you have skill, knowledge, experience, and willing to contribute, something good will happen. 

Feel free to connect in case you are seeking some related support and guidance

Let’s Design Lives

Design Thinking has become a buzz word in the field of engineering and business. Design Thinking is a new concept which aims towards tackling complex issues through a human-centric approach. Because of its solutions-oriented design, many businesses are using it to innovate and develop new products or services. It can not only help in improving the user experience for a particular gadget but also address social problems (ex- water conservation efforts from government agencies, tackling malnutrition problems in children, The Sternin’s work in Vietnam). Many organizations, whether public, profit, not for profit is using design thinking to develop better products and services. But the best aspect of design thinking is that it is not only confined to businesses or social problems but can also be used at a personal level to develop solutions for our day to day problems. Appropriate use of logic, intuition, and reasoning can help us implement design thinking to handle any life situation.

Life is full of challenges, and none of us is exempt. However, life situations of every individual are different, but there are common challenges and conditions which create suffering and end in disappointment. But these are the instances which help us learn and become a better person if we tackle them appropriately. If we see from a development perspective, our life challenges give us an opportunity for personal growth and self-improvement if we embrace them joyfully. We can easily overcome them and become the best version of ourselves by handling them tactfully with patience. We are talking about the application of design thinking in solving our life problems because it helps us identify our problems, brainstorm bold new ideas to make a better impact on our life. This leads to fruitful results making our lives more agile, happy, and contented. Let’s explore how we can align the concept of design thinking with our life’s challenges-

Empathize – This is the first stage where you encounter the situation. It might be any condition or challenge of your life like/ career, love, relationship, business, health, or financial issues. Applying design thinking to the situation, we empathize with ourselves to know why the situation has developed, how and when it is impacting us, and our behavior. In short, we visualize the situation, pattern; identify the relations and implications of the same.

Define – Once we identify the situation we try to identify the incidents which trigger the situation, for example, if I’m not feeling energetic during the day, is it because I slept late, last night, or didn’t exercise today. My fatigue feeling activates my senses to identify any situation that leads to such behavior and can help me avoid such incidents.

Ideate – After identifying the real problem we now can work to find out ways to overcome them in the best possible manner. Here we can brainstorm to generate ideas to address the situation, like working on a morning routine, setting up a bed-time alarm, etc. The intention is to address the problem by generating as many solutions and compare them to select suitable ones. You can ideate on the possible ways that you can take to achieve a bigger objective (i.e. resolving the problem statement)

Prototype – This involves the selection of the most appropriate course of action after evaluating all the ideas or solutions identified in the last stage. In the above example, we will focus to see the alignment of identified ideas with the user, whether they are in sync with user lifestyle, daily routine, personal or professional commitments. Based on this we can apply fresh insights to advance or modify the identified solutions.

Test – This is one of the most important steps of the design thinking process. It helps us identify which solution works best for the user. Considering the above problem, the person decides to work-out in early hours, but is not consistent because of a busy morning routine. It means that the identified morning work-out solution doesn’t work for him. Similarly, some activities are energizing, while others can drain energy in your daily routine. Hence this is the step that tests out things and helps us know what works or whatnot.

We should keep in mind that design thinking can be applied to solve any problem of life which helps us in building our future.  Think about the technology world that always strives to develop more unique features and applications for their gadgets to meet consumer needs. It keeps them busy ideating, prototyping, and finding innovative solutions for developing more advanced user-friendly products and applications. Likewise, we can apply design thinking to any of our life challenges by continuously defining, prototyping, testing, and making adjustments until we are happy and contented with the results. So, let’s design our lives and address all of it’s challenge with the gift of design thinking. 

We at HRletes apply the same concept to our clients’ need and help them provide customized solutions with quality deliveries.

Design Defined

Design Thinking is a creative process for problem-solving. It has a human-centric approach and helps identify new ways of seeing and understanding a problem. It is a solution-based approach because it focusses on finding solutions rather than focusing on fixing the obstacles and limitations. It focuses on people first by knowing their needs, understands related problems, and come up with effective solutions to meet their needs. In other words, design thinking is a process to come up with meaningful ideas to solve peoples’ problems. Design thinking has evolved from a range of different fields like engineering, business, and architecture. However, this applies to any area based on the processes and methods used by the designer.

We keep on facing problems in our lives/ and desire to solve them, but it is sometimes difficult to find the right solution or even where to start. That’s where the “design thinking” ideology comes in, as it helps to solve complex problems by approaching it from the user’s perspective. Design thinking is explained in various design and business schools across the globe. It has helped many businesses to become more customer-centric and come up with new and innovative solutions.  It helps organizations develop better products, services, and internal processes.

Design Thinking Process

As mentioned above, the design thinking process is highly progressive and user-centric. It is foremost to know the principles which form the base of the design thinking process. Christoph Meinel and Hary Leifer of the Hasso – Plattner Institute of Design, Stanford University, California has laid down four principles of Design Thinking as listed below-

  • The Human Rule –
  • The Ambiguity Rule
  • All design is re-design
  • The Tangibility Rule

Based on the above four principles, The Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford (aka the d.school) describes design thinking as a five-stage process as below-

  1. Empathize – Involves understanding the users’ needs in their frame of reference. It marks the first stage of the design thinking process as it helps to identify the wants, need, and objectives of the users. To do it appropriately, the designer sets aside all his/her assumptions and understands the user on a psychological and emotional level to gain a real insight into their need and wants. 
  2. Define – Its time to identify the problem statement based on the information collected in the empathize stage. You analyze the users’ needs and problems and synthesize them to develop a problem statement in a human-centered manner. Instead of defining the problem as per our wish, like “We need to get our client base in small and mid-size businesses” a much better way to define the problem would be, “Small, mid-size and many startups need HR support to run their operations at a nominal cost”.  It is from this stage that the designers gather great ideas and establish features of products and services to address users’ needs. This stage advances the designer into the third stage by asking meaningful questions to explore ideas for solutions: “What business-aligned services we offer to benefit the SMBs in their smooth operations”.
  3. Ideate – This stage challenges our assumptions and triggers to generate ideas. The problem is apparent at this stage, and it’s time to brainstorm ways to identify solutions. The knowledge background from the last two phases helps us identify the feasibility and quality of ideas to find innovative solutions. The point is not to get a perfect idea, but rather to come up with as many ideas.  It’s advisable to use sketching as it becomes easier to communicate the idea.
  4. Prototype – This is an experimental phase intended to find the best solution to problems identified in previous stages. The solutions are investigated and are further accepted, improved, or rejected based on users’ experience. This stage helps the designer get a clear idea of problems, still to be addressed before the final interface with the user.
  5. Test – This is the final stage wherein the designers test the best solutions identified during the prototype phase. It is time to revisit the problem statement and make sure the end solution is meeting the needs identified in the initial stages. Designers also make some alterations and refinements to develop a more user-centric solution. This stage also redefines one or more further problems and moves you to earlier stages making the design thinking an iterative process.

Thus, the design thinking process tackles problems by empathizing, defining, ideating, prototyping, and testing solutions, and brings ideas to life, eventually resulting in successful products or services. It also fosters creativity and innovation towards complex problem-solving in a highly user-centric way. Design thinking process can be used at every level of business and also by individuals to develop better alternatives for both business and society.