I had to make one of those dreaded calls to customer service.
All attempts to solve the problem online were blocked, so I dialed the number – which was not easy to find in the first place – knowing that I’d be greeted by an automated system. Knowing this triggered my fight or flight response, and fight stood ready.
Before the system could even thank me for calling, I hastily commanded, “Agent” and “Representative” and pushed “O” to trigger a human on the other end. But, the systems are programed to be smarter and met my move with, “I understand you would like to talk to an agent, before I transfer you, please tell me what this call is regarding?”
Why candidate experience matters so much
Voice recognition technology has yet to be perfected. Fight really kicked in at this point. Doesn’t the system realize my patience has worn thin? If I am calling customer service, it must be to resolve an issue.
The customer service nightmare ended as the system told me it would transfer me to an agent and that the call would be monitored for quality assurance (obviously they are not monitoring closely!), only instead, it transferred me to a dead line – twice.
Of course there are ways to trick these systems, but the frustration of needing to trick them just to provide information that the company requested in the first place (in this case, confirming a billing address) naturally left a bitter taste in my mouth as a customer.
This entire experience continues to remind me of why candidate experience matters so much.
How often do job candidates face the same situations with employers’ applicant tracking systems? Modern recruiting technology offers candidates the ability to know their status, update their information, and learn more about the position and company, but do only if companies optimize and enable those features.
Half of candidates feel they have a relationship with the company
Do they? Do they offer live or timely support for candidates with questions?
In the recently published CandEs report, Candidate Experience 2012, 53 percent of the candidates already feel they have a relationship with the company at the point they research and apply. That experience could encompass anything from having friends and family that work for the organization to following the company as a leader in the industry.
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Much like I’m a customer of products and services for a vendor, candidates are customers of the recruiting experience. If every other person feels there is a relationship with the organizations to which they apply, do employers “hang up” on them regularly – even if they mean well – through their recruiting practices?
Maybe candidates’ expectations are lower (thanks to a history of inadequate practices) than a customer’s, but employers only stand to lose their relationships and the opportunity to nurture those relationships as they build their workforces and overall brands when the lines of communication fall short of neutral or positive.
3 smart things employers can do
Based on the 2012 Candidate Experience Awards findings, which include survey responses from more than 17,500 job candidates in North America, employers can implement the following best practices to ensure they’re not “hanging up” on their candidates, who are also sometimes their customers:
- Spend an hour in their shoes. Search for one of the company’s jobs on the web and follow the steps to apply. Capture the number of page changes, brand changes, and number of times you had to create an account or log in. Measure how long it takes to apply to the position. Would you be willing to do all of those tasks, all the time? Create a list of changes that would simplify the process.
- Review the standard communications sent to candidates. Are they cold? Are they stale? Do they always say the same thing every time? Consider updating the messages and add personal approaches that can be included in the process for candidates that are advanced, or candidates who request additional feedback.
- Create opportunities for two way communication. Some of the CandEs winners have scheduled online chat times with recruiters, provided opportunities for meet and greets, or even scheduled times when someone will answer the phone. Consider requesting feedback from candidates – whether advanced or not – at all stages to better understand where communication gaps exist and what’s working.