What's in Your Talent River?
Updated: Jul 25
Would you Swim in your River?
Let's start our talent recruitment journey by asking how beautiful your talent river is. Before you answer, do you know if you treating candidates like consumers? There is a pretty easy test to find out: open a new search tab in your browser and search for "careers at <your company name>" and look for a job. Then, start a timer and apply for that job. Try to do it right now, no cheating, I'll wait…..
Welcome back, let's rate your experience. When you searched, did the list start with your company's career site? Or maybe an intermediary like Indeed or Glassdoor? Or worse, a talent competitor's career site? When you found an actual job was it easy to read? Did a bot engage to help? Did you have to create a profile with some horrible password requirement? Did it require your resume? Did you have one handy? Did the entire application process take less than 2 or 3 minutes to complete? How would you rate it compared to, let's say, your experience ordering something from Amazon?
You might think: "Comparing us to Amazon isn't fair". But that's dangerous thinking, because your best talent competitors don't think that way. They understand that the talent acquisition process was automated many years ago, designed by regulatory folks, and not at all friendly. That may have been ok years ago, but today they know that talent expects, and will gravitate towards, firms that deliver an outstanding hiring experience.
Experience will parse the winners from losers. Even great brands that deliver bad experience will fail, while the unknown’s, delivering amazing experience will prevail.
A Talent River Should be Fast
Here's one of my secrets. Before I ever meet with any HR executives, I spend time swimming in their talent river (just like you did, but for more than a dip!). It's seldom a great experience but it's necessary. Assuming I encountered the typical barriers, I start by asking: Are you able to consistently hire most of your talent in a few days, or at most a couple weeks? It's a great questions because it always gets the dialog going. Typically, their responses are expressed as shock, dismay, frustration or desire. While they all say "we wish we could", they usually list four reasons why they can't hire quickly:
Our needs and process make it impossible
Our technology can't do it
The talent isn't out there
We don't think it will get us the best quality
As we talk, I usually bring them to an "aha moment". It's when I explain that the first two challenges are within their ability to fix, and when solved, cause cause the next two challenges to go away. They begin to understand that by removing their own barriers they can increase speed, which also increases access to more, higher quality, talent. I also like to remind them that if they don't fix their challenges they will likely only feel more pain as their talent competitors do. Which strategy do you think will cause them to win the battle for top talent AND also reduce cost?
A Talent River Improves Experience
Here's an interesting fact, if you focus on making your river faster, you should improve Candidate Experience. This is because, if you do it right, you'll
Delight the candidate during their journey
Provide feedback sooner
Build brand loyalty and retention
During my speaking engagements I like to explain how research shows that most decisions are emotion based and fact supported. I won't go into the detail here, but one easy to read source fo learn more is The Hidden Persuaders by Vance Packard. What this means is how a candidate's experiences your recruitment process influences which facts they use to decide to join your company (and buy your products for that matter).
Improving candidate experience isn't as simple improving technology, but it can help a lot. My short list of suggestions, for those who are looking to improve candidate experience using technology, include:
AI tools to craft your job posting, ensure it's readable and unbiased
Short videos to convey your brand and job message
Career site with profile upload capability, A.I. job match, concierge bot
Simple apply process, with no login required, that takes under 2 minutes (MAX)
CRM outreach that include bot enabled screening and scheduling
On Demand Video Interviewing
Communications and updates via Text
The above is not aa complete list by any means. But as you look at it, how many of these capabilities does your company offer? Those with an eye to the future are passionately working to check off them offer
Where to Jump In?
Make it faster and the river will start to cleans itself. By focusing on your barriers to speed (1& 2) you will also improve the hiring experience you deliver. But as you attack speed you will also see the need for new technology!