Opinion

What can a cup of coffee tell a business about its candidate experience?

7 min read

09 November 2016

When recruiting for staff, have you really stopped to consider what the candidate experience your business offers is like?

Customer service is a high priority for businesses, and of course it should be. At the same time, for a company out to achieve growth through new hires and so forth, the candidate experience must be of equal importance.

Picture the scene: you stroll into a cosy coffee shop. Dark, nutty flavours drift through the air. All around, a pleasant aroma permeates the senses. You join a short queue near the till and an employee hands you a cup of coffee and a pen: “Hello sir. What can YOU do for US today?”

Imagine having to justify yourself, or prove your worth, just to buy a drink. Ridiculous, right? What if you were made to wait 30 minutes, or you were asked to re-order a few times before you got your drink. That kind of customer service is unimaginable, unacceptable and quite unbelievable.

If your business treated customers like this, it would be enough to make you cringe. Why, then, do some brands provide this level of service when it comes to the candidate experience and potential recruits, many of whom are often existing customers too!

Brand identity – candidates versus customers

Brand identity is massive in today’s age. Candidates (and customers) are quick to shun brands that don’t meet certain expected standards of service.

In the world of ecommerce, giants like Amazon and Made.com have set the bar for customer service incredibly high.

In high street retail, store managers walk the floor up to 16 times a day to ensure their customer experience is as it should be.

Why hasn’t the candidate experience come anywhere near the same heights? When was the last time the average recruiter applied for a job in their own business to see how the candidate experience feels?

The irony is that your candidates are often your customers. In fact, research in 2015 from Booking.com showed that 17 per cent of all candidates visit its careers website after booking a hotel room via its ecommerce site.

That means if your candidate experience doesn’t instantly match your customer experience, you’re not only going to lose out on talent, you’re ultimately going to lose out on shoppers as well!

What the hell is candidate experience design?

Candidate experience design is something we’re finally seeing emerge as a priority in the recruitment industry, because candidates are starting to demand, expect and appreciate a better level of service. But there’s still a long way to go.

We recently conducted a survey into the state of candidate experience. Get this: one in five candidates felt most valued by the receptionist!

The findings confirmed what we feared to be true – that too many recruitment practices are still broken, focusing only on the employer, not the employee.

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Brands that apply the principles of digital marketing to their recruitment strategies can see considerable uplift in number and quality of hires. Why?

Well, you need to map your candidate journey in the same way you’d map your customer journey! First, you must understand what your candidates actually experience (whether emotionally or rationally).

This means using traditional marketing techniques to empathy and persona map your candidates, which offers you a window into the soul of your applicants.

Only then can you then begin to reclaim control of your candidate experience and design moments that truly leave a lasting impact in the hearts and minds of your candidates.

Depresso Coffee Shop

To illustrate our point, we recently shot a short film to highlight to disparity between the world of customer service and candidate experience. You can watch that below.

Fresh – Every Brand Experience Counts from PhCreative Video on Vimeo.

It’s easy to laugh from the comfort of a computer screen, but this is the sad truth about how many candidates are treated.

The good news is the industry is beginning to make a shift for the better, as outside challengers and in-house teams are waking up to the power inherent in recruitment marketing.

When you really make a splash with your candidate experience, the ripples stretch far and wide.

A strong candidate experience can help you attract and retain top talent, reduce cost and time to hire, improve brand image, cut unnecessary job board spend, win you new customers and make sure you’re recruiting the right people.

How to improve your candidate experience

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed if your recruitment isn’t where it needs to be (ask

yourself and be honest – you’ll know whether it is or isn’t!). However, there’s good news. There are a number of simple, logical steps that you can take in order to dramatically improve your candidate experience.

If you’re interested in finding out how, you can download our Candidate Experience ebook. In it are all the tools, tips and tricks you will need to take your candidate experience to the next level. Happy reading!

And remember, if you treat your next candidate to a cup of coffee, you might just be amazed at the results.

Bryan Adams is the CEO & founder at Ph.Creative

Image: Shutterstock