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

When to Hire an HR Consultant

We have seen the challenges small and mid-size businesses face in managing the greatest asset – its workforce. Often leaders are endowed with the responsibility of overseeing HR but lack of knowledge and tools creates multiple complications. It’s very important then to view  HR from a perspective of a specialized HR consultant or firm as they can bring a lot of structure, order, and professionalism to business by developing one organization’s HR strategy. But companies struggle to identify an appropriate time to hire an HR resource. Small businesses spend around 18 – 40 hours a month on HR-related stuff as they fail to consider and hire an HR specialist at the appropriate time. It’s imperative then to identify when to hire an expert for managing HR issues.

Before we identify the appropriate time let us just know some situations that draw your attention towards hiring an HR resource.

  • When hiring becomes a challenge in the absence of JDs
  • Attraction and retention of potential employees becomes a challenge
  • When there is a mismatch between the company’s culture, environment, Vision and Mission
  • The company lack HR processes resulting in improper business functioning
  • The organization is struggling to become compliant with laws and regulations
  • Identification and alignment of core competencies with organization goals is a challenge
  • When there is no T&D plans and the company is looking to create one to improve performance
  • Organization need help to build healthy employee relations
  • The company needs to develop an appropriate PMS process
  • Management needs consultation and solutions on HR related matters

The above situation is alarming for the organization to look for a dedicated HR resource or a Consultant to take care of its HR needs. Any business growing in size and complexity demands to hire a specialized HR but sometimes it is tough to decide as the above-mentioned situation mostly arises with increased headcount. Now to avoid critical situation business owners should keep other factors also in consideration and look for HR resources beforehand. The best way to identify and do this is to plan the HR resource when the business decides to do the following –

  1. The company has chalked out periodic growth plan – When you have rapid expansion plans it’s nice to have dedicated HR resources who can support recruitment, on-boarding, and other HR matters to run the operations smoothly. 
  2. Building a company’s culture – Business owners are aware of the culture they want to build in their company but have no time to develop it effectively themselves. An HR expert can help to set out, create, and protect the desired culture and strategically develop it along with business growth.
  3. Looking to establish strong communication – People forms the core of any organization and HR acts as a bridge to connect them with Leadership. A proper HR communication strategy keeps the employee engaged and help them succeed. Organizations that plan for the long run prefer to link corporate communication to business strategy to develop effective and consistent business operations. An HR expert can help to develop a formal and comprehensive communication strategy to establish consistent communication with employees and help build a recognizable employment brand.
  4. Build on employee relations – Business leaders who believe in developing a happy and productive workforce, plans to establish good employee relations. Such an organization promotes healthy employee relations at the workplace to extract the best out of each individual. So if you are having the same belief, hiring a People expert seems to be a viable option. A human resource professional plays a key role in binding the employees and act as a mediator in preventing and resolving workplace issues. But this skill doesn’t come naturally to every start-up founder, so it’s advisable to hire an HR consultant to strategically handle the matter of employee relations.
  5. Business needs more attention – When the owners handle HR responsibilities themselves, keeping cost at a minimum and sacrificing time to focus on more revenue-generating activities, then it’s time to look for a dedicated HR professional. They can help you upgrade your HR and takes it to the next level while you take care of your business.

We cannot undermine that HR forms an essential part of any business. Small businesses without a clear defined HR role and well-trained HR professional face many challenges on their HR front. Whether you have one employee or 100, people management is always paramount. So thinking of an HR early would be a wise decision to avoid a messy situation. A right HR approach in any business maximizes efficiency as it helps find and retain employees important for growth and meeting company objectives. It is advisable to let go of certain HR responsibilities to an expert with a clearly defined HR strategy at the appropriate time.