The 5 obstacles of setting up a high-quality candidate experience

A successful candidate experience is the ticket to a fulfilled employee experience. And the first point of the contact with a company is an essential step that’s not always comfortable.

Paulina Jonquères d'Oriola
Paulina Jonquères d'Oriola
Editor
The 5 obstacles of setting up a high-quality candidate experience
Summary

A successful candidate experience is the ticket to a fulfilled employee experience. And the first point of the contact with a company is an essential step that’s not always comfortable.

What are the main obstacles? And above all, how do you set up an unforgettable candidate experience?

Spoiler: Never forget that the recruiters are the first ambassadors of a brand’s values!

Obstacle n°1: A lack of transparency

1. The problem

It’s the most natural thing. When a company is hiring, it puts on its Sunday best, covering up its little faults to present itself in the most flattering light. And it all begins with the job listing.

The problem, according to Amélie Favre-Guittet, recruitment expert and LinkedIn Top Voice in Jobs 2021, is that in a large number of cases, the discourse doesn’t match the reality of the company or the job itself. And this communications strategy goes even further than a little nip-and-tuck.

The risk of overselling? Total deception for the candidate at the interview or onboarding phase, which can lead to a high turnover rate. Studies show that a high turnover within the first few months of hiring is costly for the company (costing up to 6 – 9 months of salary).

1. How to fix it?

Even if you’re not obligated to use the strategy of Sylvain Tillon, of Tilkee, who explains at the end of the interview all the reasons why a candidate wasn’t selected, you can still avoid boilerplate listings that say things like, “we’re a growing company.”

Favre-Guittet claims that authenticity is an advantage. And, she insists, companies should talk first about missions, challenges and means (in terms of salary) for the job in question, before getting into company storytelling. In her words, “This strategy in which the company presents itself as in a phase of hypergrowth calls to mind the era of job listings on the pink pages of the Figaro newspaper. Rather than do that, we should focus on the candidate and transmit as much information as possible about the job, starting with salary in order to establish a basis for negotiation.”

Obstacle n°2: A lack of daring

2. The problem

It’s not very inspiring, but, according to Favre-Guittet, “HR is the first team to be despised by employees.” It’s also a team that is misunderstood by direction. “[Direction] sees HR as a team that costs a lot, but if they trusted their HR teams, their employees would be better trained, and the HR would be able to recruit better and more quickly,” Favre-Guittet continues.

To recruit better, our specialist suggests departing from the standard listing geared toward a very specific profile. This type of reflexive behavior reveals a mistrust of HR being able to do their jobs by seeking atypical profiles. The cherry on top? “The fear of making a mistake drives recruiters to look for the sheep with five legs and to extend the recruitment process,” Favre-Guittet explains.

2. How to fix it?

By communicating as much as possible internally about the hiring process and by including managers. How? By getting them to reflect on what they expect from a candidate, their role in the company, the tools they will have, when they will need to start and be fully operational.

The goal: To make managers co-responsible in the recruitment process, and to open their minds to a broader range of profiles.

And a tip for the fearful, “Don’t forget that the trial period lives up to its name. You can also propose immersion days that can reassure everyone,” recommends Favre-Guittet. In this way, recruitment can explore new terrain.

Obstacle n°3: A lack of empathy for the candidate

3. The problem

The candidate experience is expressed through the emotions of a candidate after each interaction with the company during the hiring process. The problem is that a genuine conversation doesn’t always happen because certain recruiters maintain a dominant position and don’t treat candidates as equals.

According to Mathilde Héliès, HR expert RH and founder of the Fullémo agency, “there’s nothing worse than a lack of balance in the relationship.” And she doesn’t mince words; she relates this attitude to a lack of empathy on the part of the recruiter.

In short: No matter what, the candidate is likely quite uncomfortable or very stressed during the recruitment process and may not be able to act in an authentic way, or put their best foot forward. Or worse, some talented candidates stop the hiring process themselves after an unpleasant experience.

3. How to fix it?

By remembering that hiring remains a human and emotional process. Openness, listening and curiosity towards the candidate should be at the heart of all exchanges.

Empathy towards the potential recruit requires one to consider their needs, in terms of information, for example. This type of empathy also requires that you pay attention to the context in which you welcome candidates (this applies just as much to a remote process). For example, you should avoid a messy meeting room or  a chaotic kitchen. Make them feel comfortable.

“To sum up, you need to transition from a logic centered on the needs of the company to one centered on the candidate. This happens by really listening to their answers, rather than projecting what you want to hear. And by considering the candidate as a potential customer, based on the principle of attention symmetry,” adds Héliès. It is therefore essential to train recruiters in emotional intelligence, especially if they’re the ones in contact with the candidates. This is relevant for talent acquisition specialists, for example, who play the role of coach through the recruitment process and create a strong link with the candidate. It’s even more important to be able to manage and respond to a candidate’s emotions in case of a rejection.

Obstacle n°4: A lack of time

4. The problem

A lack of time affects a large number of recruiters. And if some of them seem to overcome this difficulty, for others, the load of candidates to manage is what leads them to ghosting applicants, or even worse, to not respond to candidates who made it quite far along in the process.

According to a Tribepad whitepaper, 86% of employees said that being ghosted had left them feeling down, while 17% of this group said the impact was severe. When it comes to candidate experience, that’s one of the most damaging behaviors, as we demonstrated in a previous article. “Some recruiters clearly lack respect towards their candidates, and don’t take into account the time they’ve given the company,” regrets Héliès.

4. How to fix it?

Knowing that 49% of candidates think that the recruitment process has become too complicated according to CareerBuilder, it’s good to simplify and clarify the process by explaining, from the start, how it goes. This can be supported through the use of HR tools.

For example, some companies choose to use AI-powered tools or “serious games” that allow them to identify candidates with strong potential. Using an ATS also allows you to centralize applications and responses, all while humanizing your messages. The goal is to free up time for interviews and feedback. In other words, you can use technology to get back to the essential: serving people.

Obstacle n°5: Too much rigidity

5. The problem

Job sharing, freelancing, full-time remote work, 4-day workweeks… “Today, not all candidates want a classic, long-term, in-office contract,” observes Favre-Guittet. Throughout a professional career, needs and desires fluctuate, and they’re not always linear.

In the US, the number of freelancers has increased 34% since 2020. And then consider boomerang employees (who quit a company and then return months or years later), a growing population who demonstrate the importance of ensuring a positive employee experience from day one. Your alumni can return to the company one day. And yet, recruitment services often haven’t taken into account these less traditional profiles in their management of talent.

5. How to fix it?

“The challenge is to teach HR to be more agile in a context where companies are becoming more and more atomized,” notes Favre-Guittet. They can do this by adapting to the needs of candidates, whatever they are. It’s about opening up one’s perspective and making HR sensitive to what’s becoming increasingly common. Just think about the Great Resignation. Some companies also innovate by proposing custom roles, which is suggested by a statement like, “We’re not looking for a typical profile.”

To conclude, let’s leave the final word to Favre-Guittet: “I would like to challenge companies to continue growing the notion of Human Resources in order for it to become respected, loved and used at its true value, both for the candidate and the company.”

By understanding and respecting the impact of the candidate experience, you will see guaranteed benefits in the long-term, in and out of the office.

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The 5 obstacles of setting up a high-quality candidate experience

A successful candidate experience is the ticket to a fulfilled employee experience. And the first point of the contact with a company is an essential step that’s not always comfortable.

The 5 obstacles of setting up a high-quality candidate experience

A successful candidate experience is the ticket to a fulfilled employee experience. And the first point of the contact with a company is an essential step that’s not always comfortable.

What are the main obstacles? And above all, how do you set up an unforgettable candidate experience?

Spoiler: Never forget that the recruiters are the first ambassadors of a brand’s values!

Obstacle n°1: A lack of transparency

1. The problem

It’s the most natural thing. When a company is hiring, it puts on its Sunday best, covering up its little faults to present itself in the most flattering light. And it all begins with the job listing.

The problem, according to Amélie Favre-Guittet, recruitment expert and LinkedIn Top Voice in Jobs 2021, is that in a large number of cases, the discourse doesn’t match the reality of the company or the job itself. And this communications strategy goes even further than a little nip-and-tuck.

The risk of overselling? Total deception for the candidate at the interview or onboarding phase, which can lead to a high turnover rate. Studies show that a high turnover within the first few months of hiring is costly for the company (costing up to 6 – 9 months of salary).

1. How to fix it?

Even if you’re not obligated to use the strategy of Sylvain Tillon, of Tilkee, who explains at the end of the interview all the reasons why a candidate wasn’t selected, you can still avoid boilerplate listings that say things like, “we’re a growing company.”

Favre-Guittet claims that authenticity is an advantage. And, she insists, companies should talk first about missions, challenges and means (in terms of salary) for the job in question, before getting into company storytelling. In her words, “This strategy in which the company presents itself as in a phase of hypergrowth calls to mind the era of job listings on the pink pages of the Figaro newspaper. Rather than do that, we should focus on the candidate and transmit as much information as possible about the job, starting with salary in order to establish a basis for negotiation.”

Obstacle n°2: A lack of daring

2. The problem

It’s not very inspiring, but, according to Favre-Guittet, “HR is the first team to be despised by employees.” It’s also a team that is misunderstood by direction. “[Direction] sees HR as a team that costs a lot, but if they trusted their HR teams, their employees would be better trained, and the HR would be able to recruit better and more quickly,” Favre-Guittet continues.

To recruit better, our specialist suggests departing from the standard listing geared toward a very specific profile. This type of reflexive behavior reveals a mistrust of HR being able to do their jobs by seeking atypical profiles. The cherry on top? “The fear of making a mistake drives recruiters to look for the sheep with five legs and to extend the recruitment process,” Favre-Guittet explains.

2. How to fix it?

By communicating as much as possible internally about the hiring process and by including managers. How? By getting them to reflect on what they expect from a candidate, their role in the company, the tools they will have, when they will need to start and be fully operational.

The goal: To make managers co-responsible in the recruitment process, and to open their minds to a broader range of profiles.

And a tip for the fearful, “Don’t forget that the trial period lives up to its name. You can also propose immersion days that can reassure everyone,” recommends Favre-Guittet. In this way, recruitment can explore new terrain.

Obstacle n°3: A lack of empathy for the candidate

3. The problem

The candidate experience is expressed through the emotions of a candidate after each interaction with the company during the hiring process. The problem is that a genuine conversation doesn’t always happen because certain recruiters maintain a dominant position and don’t treat candidates as equals.

According to Mathilde Héliès, HR expert RH and founder of the Fullémo agency, “there’s nothing worse than a lack of balance in the relationship.” And she doesn’t mince words; she relates this attitude to a lack of empathy on the part of the recruiter.

In short: No matter what, the candidate is likely quite uncomfortable or very stressed during the recruitment process and may not be able to act in an authentic way, or put their best foot forward. Or worse, some talented candidates stop the hiring process themselves after an unpleasant experience.

3. How to fix it?

By remembering that hiring remains a human and emotional process. Openness, listening and curiosity towards the candidate should be at the heart of all exchanges.

Empathy towards the potential recruit requires one to consider their needs, in terms of information, for example. This type of empathy also requires that you pay attention to the context in which you welcome candidates (this applies just as much to a remote process). For example, you should avoid a messy meeting room or  a chaotic kitchen. Make them feel comfortable.

“To sum up, you need to transition from a logic centered on the needs of the company to one centered on the candidate. This happens by really listening to their answers, rather than projecting what you want to hear. And by considering the candidate as a potential customer, based on the principle of attention symmetry,” adds Héliès. It is therefore essential to train recruiters in emotional intelligence, especially if they’re the ones in contact with the candidates. This is relevant for talent acquisition specialists, for example, who play the role of coach through the recruitment process and create a strong link with the candidate. It’s even more important to be able to manage and respond to a candidate’s emotions in case of a rejection.

Obstacle n°4: A lack of time

4. The problem

A lack of time affects a large number of recruiters. And if some of them seem to overcome this difficulty, for others, the load of candidates to manage is what leads them to ghosting applicants, or even worse, to not respond to candidates who made it quite far along in the process.

According to a Tribepad whitepaper, 86% of employees said that being ghosted had left them feeling down, while 17% of this group said the impact was severe. When it comes to candidate experience, that’s one of the most damaging behaviors, as we demonstrated in a previous article. “Some recruiters clearly lack respect towards their candidates, and don’t take into account the time they’ve given the company,” regrets Héliès.

4. How to fix it?

Knowing that 49% of candidates think that the recruitment process has become too complicated according to CareerBuilder, it’s good to simplify and clarify the process by explaining, from the start, how it goes. This can be supported through the use of HR tools.

For example, some companies choose to use AI-powered tools or “serious games” that allow them to identify candidates with strong potential. Using an ATS also allows you to centralize applications and responses, all while humanizing your messages. The goal is to free up time for interviews and feedback. In other words, you can use technology to get back to the essential: serving people.

Obstacle n°5: Too much rigidity

5. The problem

Job sharing, freelancing, full-time remote work, 4-day workweeks… “Today, not all candidates want a classic, long-term, in-office contract,” observes Favre-Guittet. Throughout a professional career, needs and desires fluctuate, and they’re not always linear.

In the US, the number of freelancers has increased 34% since 2020. And then consider boomerang employees (who quit a company and then return months or years later), a growing population who demonstrate the importance of ensuring a positive employee experience from day one. Your alumni can return to the company one day. And yet, recruitment services often haven’t taken into account these less traditional profiles in their management of talent.

5. How to fix it?

“The challenge is to teach HR to be more agile in a context where companies are becoming more and more atomized,” notes Favre-Guittet. They can do this by adapting to the needs of candidates, whatever they are. It’s about opening up one’s perspective and making HR sensitive to what’s becoming increasingly common. Just think about the Great Resignation. Some companies also innovate by proposing custom roles, which is suggested by a statement like, “We’re not looking for a typical profile.”

To conclude, let’s leave the final word to Favre-Guittet: “I would like to challenge companies to continue growing the notion of Human Resources in order for it to become respected, loved and used at its true value, both for the candidate and the company.”

By understanding and respecting the impact of the candidate experience, you will see guaranteed benefits in the long-term, in and out of the office.

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Paulina Jonquères d'Oriola

Paulina Jonquères d'Oriola
Editor

Changelog

Summary

A successful candidate experience is the ticket to a fulfilled employee experience. And the first point of the contact with a company is an essential step that’s not always comfortable.

What are the main obstacles? And above all, how do you set up an unforgettable candidate experience?

Spoiler: Never forget that the recruiters are the first ambassadors of a brand’s values!

Obstacle n°1: A lack of transparency

1. The problem

It’s the most natural thing. When a company is hiring, it puts on its Sunday best, covering up its little faults to present itself in the most flattering light. And it all begins with the job listing.

The problem, according to Amélie Favre-Guittet, recruitment expert and LinkedIn Top Voice in Jobs 2021, is that in a large number of cases, the discourse doesn’t match the reality of the company or the job itself. And this communications strategy goes even further than a little nip-and-tuck.

The risk of overselling? Total deception for the candidate at the interview or onboarding phase, which can lead to a high turnover rate. Studies show that a high turnover within the first few months of hiring is costly for the company (costing up to 6 – 9 months of salary).

1. How to fix it?

Even if you’re not obligated to use the strategy of Sylvain Tillon, of Tilkee, who explains at the end of the interview all the reasons why a candidate wasn’t selected, you can still avoid boilerplate listings that say things like, “we’re a growing company.”

Favre-Guittet claims that authenticity is an advantage. And, she insists, companies should talk first about missions, challenges and means (in terms of salary) for the job in question, before getting into company storytelling. In her words, “This strategy in which the company presents itself as in a phase of hypergrowth calls to mind the era of job listings on the pink pages of the Figaro newspaper. Rather than do that, we should focus on the candidate and transmit as much information as possible about the job, starting with salary in order to establish a basis for negotiation.”

Obstacle n°2: A lack of daring

2. The problem

It’s not very inspiring, but, according to Favre-Guittet, “HR is the first team to be despised by employees.” It’s also a team that is misunderstood by direction. “[Direction] sees HR as a team that costs a lot, but if they trusted their HR teams, their employees would be better trained, and the HR would be able to recruit better and more quickly,” Favre-Guittet continues.

To recruit better, our specialist suggests departing from the standard listing geared toward a very specific profile. This type of reflexive behavior reveals a mistrust of HR being able to do their jobs by seeking atypical profiles. The cherry on top? “The fear of making a mistake drives recruiters to look for the sheep with five legs and to extend the recruitment process,” Favre-Guittet explains.

2. How to fix it?

By communicating as much as possible internally about the hiring process and by including managers. How? By getting them to reflect on what they expect from a candidate, their role in the company, the tools they will have, when they will need to start and be fully operational.

The goal: To make managers co-responsible in the recruitment process, and to open their minds to a broader range of profiles.

And a tip for the fearful, “Don’t forget that the trial period lives up to its name. You can also propose immersion days that can reassure everyone,” recommends Favre-Guittet. In this way, recruitment can explore new terrain.

Obstacle n°3: A lack of empathy for the candidate

3. The problem

The candidate experience is expressed through the emotions of a candidate after each interaction with the company during the hiring process. The problem is that a genuine conversation doesn’t always happen because certain recruiters maintain a dominant position and don’t treat candidates as equals.

According to Mathilde Héliès, HR expert RH and founder of the Fullémo agency, “there’s nothing worse than a lack of balance in the relationship.” And she doesn’t mince words; she relates this attitude to a lack of empathy on the part of the recruiter.

In short: No matter what, the candidate is likely quite uncomfortable or very stressed during the recruitment process and may not be able to act in an authentic way, or put their best foot forward. Or worse, some talented candidates stop the hiring process themselves after an unpleasant experience.

3. How to fix it?

By remembering that hiring remains a human and emotional process. Openness, listening and curiosity towards the candidate should be at the heart of all exchanges.

Empathy towards the potential recruit requires one to consider their needs, in terms of information, for example. This type of empathy also requires that you pay attention to the context in which you welcome candidates (this applies just as much to a remote process). For example, you should avoid a messy meeting room or  a chaotic kitchen. Make them feel comfortable.

“To sum up, you need to transition from a logic centered on the needs of the company to one centered on the candidate. This happens by really listening to their answers, rather than projecting what you want to hear. And by considering the candidate as a potential customer, based on the principle of attention symmetry,” adds Héliès. It is therefore essential to train recruiters in emotional intelligence, especially if they’re the ones in contact with the candidates. This is relevant for talent acquisition specialists, for example, who play the role of coach through the recruitment process and create a strong link with the candidate. It’s even more important to be able to manage and respond to a candidate’s emotions in case of a rejection.

Obstacle n°4: A lack of time

4. The problem

A lack of time affects a large number of recruiters. And if some of them seem to overcome this difficulty, for others, the load of candidates to manage is what leads them to ghosting applicants, or even worse, to not respond to candidates who made it quite far along in the process.

According to a Tribepad whitepaper, 86% of employees said that being ghosted had left them feeling down, while 17% of this group said the impact was severe. When it comes to candidate experience, that’s one of the most damaging behaviors, as we demonstrated in a previous article. “Some recruiters clearly lack respect towards their candidates, and don’t take into account the time they’ve given the company,” regrets Héliès.

4. How to fix it?

Knowing that 49% of candidates think that the recruitment process has become too complicated according to CareerBuilder, it’s good to simplify and clarify the process by explaining, from the start, how it goes. This can be supported through the use of HR tools.

For example, some companies choose to use AI-powered tools or “serious games” that allow them to identify candidates with strong potential. Using an ATS also allows you to centralize applications and responses, all while humanizing your messages. The goal is to free up time for interviews and feedback. In other words, you can use technology to get back to the essential: serving people.

Obstacle n°5: Too much rigidity

5. The problem

Job sharing, freelancing, full-time remote work, 4-day workweeks… “Today, not all candidates want a classic, long-term, in-office contract,” observes Favre-Guittet. Throughout a professional career, needs and desires fluctuate, and they’re not always linear.

In the US, the number of freelancers has increased 34% since 2020. And then consider boomerang employees (who quit a company and then return months or years later), a growing population who demonstrate the importance of ensuring a positive employee experience from day one. Your alumni can return to the company one day. And yet, recruitment services often haven’t taken into account these less traditional profiles in their management of talent.

5. How to fix it?

“The challenge is to teach HR to be more agile in a context where companies are becoming more and more atomized,” notes Favre-Guittet. They can do this by adapting to the needs of candidates, whatever they are. It’s about opening up one’s perspective and making HR sensitive to what’s becoming increasingly common. Just think about the Great Resignation. Some companies also innovate by proposing custom roles, which is suggested by a statement like, “We’re not looking for a typical profile.”

To conclude, let’s leave the final word to Favre-Guittet: “I would like to challenge companies to continue growing the notion of Human Resources in order for it to become respected, loved and used at its true value, both for the candidate and the company.”

By understanding and respecting the impact of the candidate experience, you will see guaranteed benefits in the long-term, in and out of the office.

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