“Wheel goes round, landing on a twist of faith
Taking your chances you’ll have the right answers
When the final judgment begins
Wheel goes round, landing on a leap of fate
Life redirected in ways unexpected
Sometimes the odd number wins
The way the big wheel spins…”
—Rush, The Big Wheel
Step right up and spin the HR technology Conference career wheel – a winner every time!
Well, not quite, but the nostalgia of the all my previous HR Technology & Exposition conferences overcame me at the latest one when I realized that all my best and worst career incarnations and near misses are collectively linked to this conference.
What’s fascinating about going to the HR Technology & Exposition (or any industry event that you’ve consistently gone to year after year for well over a decade), is what goes on in the sidebars. I’m not talking about the straight networking, or analyst or influencer briefings, or the marketing and PR agency pitching, or the investor pitching, or the parties or the shows or the gambling (when the HR Tech conference is in Las Vegas as it has been for the past three years). I’m talking about the targeted sourcing and recruiting that goes on and on and on.
First and foremost, it’s a personable recruitment marketing and sourcing gold mine for all happy or unhappy perpetual candidates (which we all are) in software sales, marketing, customer service, product management and even software development and engineering. It’s also a potentially diamond-studded referral pool for any and all HR and recruiting technology companies as well as all the attendee companies that are there shopping for HR tech and talking HR tech shop. I witnessed it all around me while I was at this year’s show.
But companies are only a winner only when these investments pay off. Unfortunately, beyond the rush of the front-end schmoozing and selling, companies can neglect to share enough information about the overall recruiting processes and pre- and post-hire expectations, leaving the candidates feeling like a loser.
My reminiscing morphed into the related recruiting and candidate experience data analyses we’re going through now at the Talent Board. Talent Board is a non-profit organization focused on the promotion and data benchmark research of a quality candidate experience. Tired of hearing the same old stories of poor candidate experience, the Talent Board co-founders set out to elevate the mission of a creating and sustaining a better recruiting process and business performance through research.
There were 200 companies and 130,000 candidates that participated in the 2015 North American Candidate Experience Awards, and we’ll round out all of this year’s research in our research report due out in January 2016.
What’s not a surprise from the research surveys over the past four years is the fact that one of the top ways companies engage with potential candidates who haven’t yet applied for any openings are employee referrals. This year, for both CandE winners and non-winners alike, nearly 55 percent of companies consider it a differentiator and another 35 percent consider them a part of their regular recruiting processes.
While I only anecdotally took in the what and how of personable recruitment marketing and sourcing delivered in the sidebars at the HR Technology Conference, we did discuss the bigger picture on the TalentCulture #TChat Show live from the conference.
According to this year’s CandE research candidates found these top five types of marketing content the most valuable prior to them applying for a job:
- Company Values – 41.81%
- Product/Services Information – 36.59%
- Employee Testimonials – 34.89%
- Answers to ‘Why’ People Want to Work Here – 30.78%
- Answers to ‘Why’ People Stay Here – 23.68%
This is all well and good to the current kinds of recruitment marketing that most companies engage in. But when there’s a misunderstanding (or no understanding) of the entire recruiting process, candidates end up in the “black hole” application process.
For example, according to this year’s CandE data, the types of job and employment content potential candidates found most important while learning about career opportunities included:
- Job Descriptions (duties, skills, requirements) – 74.08%
- Salary Ranges/ Compensation Structure – 38.97%
- Benefit Details – 33.48%
- Successful Candidate Profile for the Job – 24.61%
- Career Path Examples – 22.89%
- Overview of Recruiting Process – 17.53%
Now, when you compare this year’s non-winners and winners on the types of recruiting process content they make available prior to potential candidates applying, it’s clear why the winners win (based on this category):
- Employee Testimonials – 73.78%
- Details of Application and Next Steps – 67.68%
- Events – Career Related Listings, Dates and Locations – 62.80%
- Overview of Recruiting Process – 56.71%
- Frequently Asked Questions – 54.88%
- Events – Career Related Listings, Dates and Locations – 76.74%
- Details of Application and Next Steps – 72.09%
- Employee Testimonials – 72.09%
- Overview of Recruiting Process – 72.09%
- Frequently Asked Questions – 60.47%
That’s a 15% difference between winners and non-winners, which is more than enough to have a competitive edge in today’s highly complex and competitive hiring economy. Companies shouldn’t worry about revealing their recruiting processes and exposing their hiring weaknesses. Candidates want to be valued and have an engaging and transparent experience and how companies treat them has a direct impact on whether they’ll invest their time or not – that’s the winning combination. In today’s digital age, where people share experiences online, a poor candidate experience can be bad for business and translate to millions in lost revenue annually.
Today’s savvy job seekers want career development opportunities, a great company culture, a positive candidate experience, and a complete understanding of their potential suitor’s recruiting process – before they ever apply. Transparent marketing and selling the recruiting process isn’t a gamble, it’s a prize investment that pays off every single time.