Published on 10-02-2015
In our previous post Employer Branding: Have You Reached Its Core, we gave credit to the recruiting team for undertaking a major makeover to all the marketing collateral. As part of the team, you’re delighted to see the result – the attendances at your job fairs doubled, the number of followers on your social media pages grew by 150%, and the average daily visits to your career site was three times as before.
Every metric climbed into the green zone as you wished except one – qualified applicants. This is the number that was diving low for years, still seeing no sign of surging up. Unfortunately, you know too well that this metric is not just any number but THE number that ends in the boardroom. You can’t help wondering what more can be done to get the last mile right.
Before we address your problem, let me tell you a story. It’s a true story that happened to someone named “Candidate”.
Photo by Miguel Angel
One day “Candidate” received a heart-warming invitation from a host named “career site”. He decided to pay a visit. He knocked on the door with ‘Application’ written on it and gladly went in, only to find there was nobody behind the door. That is to say no coffee or cookies to be served. He took a quick look around the house and sat down at the table, noticing a message left by the host, “please complete your application form”. He picked up a pen and started filling in the form. Into the third page, he got a bit bored and began to wonder how many more fields and pages to go. When “Candidate” was asked to write down all the jobs he had before and the duty and responsibilities of each of them, he seriously got mind-numbing. In the end, he decided to sit through it only because he felt he had come so far and it would be a big waste to stop halfway. What’s worse, he realized what awaited him at the finish line was no applause or flower, but an emotionless message, generated by an even more emotionless auto responder, saying “your application has been received and you will be contacted if your qualification matches with our request for this position.” “Candidate” left the house, exhausted and disappointed, swearing that he would never come back again.
Tell me if you find the story a bit harsh. But what I really want to say is the application process practiced by most companies today is not applicant-friendly. In fact, Liz Ryan, the CEO and Founder of Human Workplace, described it as “used by factories probably since Henry Ford was building Model Ts”. The sad thing is this design flaw oftentimes gets neglected by the recruiting team due to an overall oversupply of applicants for every job. But don’t we all know that the #1 challenge facing every recruiter isn’t to source enough applicants but to find great talent? If we all agree talented individuals are becoming increasingly scarce on the global market, would it be fair to give them the extra effort they deserve, in this case, an application process better designed to deliver a pleasant experience as well as help great candidates shine?
So how does a candidate-centered application process look like? Maybe practices from the E-commerce world can shed some light on it. E-marketers know the clock is ticking since the very second we land on their website. They’ve worked so hard to get us this far, the last thing they can bear to see is our buying decision gets jeopardized by a 20+-fields-to-be-filled-in registration form. Therefore, we start to notice our online shopping experience gets surprisingly hurdle-less nowadays. All it takes is simply one click of the ‘order’ button, leaving all the hassle to a brilliant tool called “cookie”. Our excitement never cools off thanks to the next day delivery coming with a surprise of free samples sometimes. And every month we receive a customized catalog featuring all the great stuff we may like. Gosh, I often find this data-driven catalog knows me better than myself.
Anyway, the good news is the urgent need to steer the application process towards a more candidate-centered approach has been widely recognized by visionary investors. In recent years we see more attention and capital is committed to support recruiting go smart, high tech and most importantly candidate-friendly.
Have you checked these venture-backed companies in the recruiting tech space?
CompanyMatch: a smart algorithm-based platform helping candidates discover their true cultural profiles and assess their fitness with companies, as well as supporting employers capture the best-fit talent.
Cammio: a powerful cloud-based video recruitment platform helping candidates and employers towards better hiring matches with a visual first impression.
HireVue: an amazing new way to interview — on demand! Users simply browse, watch, rate and share the interviews they want, on their own time — just like streaming their favorite movies — even from a smart phone.
Jobvite: a recruiting platform for the social web. Growing companies use Jobvite’s social recruiting, sourcing and talent acquisition solutions to target the right talent and build the best teams.
But having said that, at the end of the day what can truly drive this recruiting revolution forward is recruiters embracing the right mindset: great talent is a scarce resource and you need to do everything you can to win them.