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Welcome to episode 21 of the Rethink HR podcast, brought to you by bettHR.

In today’s episode, we review why your candidate experience is so important, and how the starting point – the application and open requisition stage, is so critically important to set your company and candidate up for success using the Employee Experience framework.

With even fewer recruiters and roles out there, and a lot more qualified candidates competing for the small number of openings, being transparent and honest about the job description and expectations will help attract the right candidates, and repel the wrong ones. In addition, to get better quality candidates in your inbox, you want to do as much as possible to help your recruiter (and the recruiting team), understand what the role is and the skills needed for someone to successfully fulfill that role—and what to look for.

The standard process in most corporations do not allow for the needed information sharing and with recruiters being so overwhelmed, going outside of the standard process isn’t top of their list. Instead, if you use the Employee Experience framework, you’re able to create a quick Recruiting Brief to help them learn more about your role, quickly.

But that’s only one part of the candidate experience. In addition, you have to review how your candidate actually experiences your application process. Is it easy to complete? Are you gathering only relevant information or wasting time on ridiculous questions and extra steps only for that candidate to be auto-rejected five minutes later? In order to create a positive experience, it starts with treating your candidate as the future employees they may be.

Listen in, to learn more!

In This Episode

  • What performance is and why it’s so important to the employee experience.
  • How broken the current process is, the gravity issues within the process, and how we can control it within our own departments.
  • How to provide effective performance management through conversations as a leader, quickly.
  • Performance Improvement Plans: what they are, how to create one, why they work.



We have to stop lying or not being fully transparent. # humanresources #hr #candidateexperience Click To Tweet

Melissa Anzman (00:00): We have to stop lying or not being fully transparent. And she's all about what the job is because we keep bringing in wrong fits. And especially in the high key talent, high potential situation, they will leave if it doesn't match their expectation. I'm Melissa Anzman. HR practitioner turned CEO of a thriving employee experience company, but it wasn't all that long ago that I worked as an HR business partner responsible for increasing employee engagement at companies nationwide. And I struggled to move the needle even after trying everything under the sun, fast forward, past many fail tactics and lessons learned. And you'll see how I've been able to crack the code and replicated at companies of all sizes for creating true engagement and doing HR work that matters work that changes the lives of leaders, HR professionals, and employees. By focusing on the employee experience, I created the rethink HR podcast to give you actionable step by step strategies to help you make an impact.

Melissa Anzman (01:06): If you're an HR leader or one on the rise, who's looking to stop spinning your wheels, doing the same tired activities that aren't driving results, or you want to have a career. You love your in the right place. Let's get started. One of the most unique things that we do in HR that covers both the external employee experience and the internal employee experience is the candidate experience. Now I know that right now in the age of COVID where we are in the pandemic and all the things that hiring or onboarding or your candidate experience is probably not the number one thing on your list, but that's okay because it should be on your list. And when you do have time revisit it, thinking about it through the lens of employee experience will make it that much easier. And with the current situation, the way that we recruit the number of applicants, qualified applicants that we're getting is very different as well.

Melissa Anzman (02:10): And so looking at it from the candidates point of view and how you are attracting or repelling the right people is critically important in something to think about. So today I'm going to go deep about the candidate experience. We're going to walk through how to create a positive employee experience for that candidate who is going to become an employee, a new employee, and how to do it with some of the current restrictions, some of our limitations and all the things. These are not like everything else that I talk about. These are not huge investments to make changes or sweeping changes that you're going to need months and months and months to apply. But instead, it's really understanding the process, the thought map behind the candidate experience. So it all starts with the recruiting process. So when it qualified candidate decides to apply for a role at your company, they're really making that first move to create a relationship with you.

Melissa Anzman (03:15): Back in the day before we had online applications, the process was a lot more personal. If not a lot more tedious, you would have to snail mail. I still remember a thing called resume paper. Are you with me? Did I date myself a bit? But snail mail things are hand delivering a resume and cover letter addressed to a specific person, hoping to have an open dialogue about it. Now the same is true now, but it's online and filter through AI through, um, automated intelligence. And it is artificial intelligence. I don't know where automated came from through artificial intelligence. It is automated though. So maybe that's something, a good slip there, and really having this bot scan the resumes, scan your information that you've put into a job tracking system and see if it's you're a viable candidate. And here's the thing in HR. We flock to this type of software because it makes our lives a lot easier.

Melissa Anzman (04:19): We have fewer recruiters, we have a lot more candidates who are applying. We have very limited number of openings right now. And so the more that we can have a bot scan, the better it is, and we all sort of hop in to the hot cool ones and say, yeah, if they're using it, we will too. And go from there without really thinking about the process from an employee experience perspective. And to do that, I want you to bring in the employee experience framework, which is the know, feel, act, and touch at each stage of the process. So for example, when a candidate is at the application stage, they have very specific, no feel, act in touch details about the application process that are going to be specific to that point in time versus the candidate who just got their offer and are ready to accept the new role.

Melissa Anzman (05:12): And as a candidate moves along the recruiting process or the employee life cycle as a whole, because we know experience matters across the entire life cycle, the candidates baseline knowledge and their needs change. And we have to continue to evolve our communications in order to match each candidate where they are along the process and the touch points to incorporate or eliminate or rely on is very, very different. So right now, if you're using like a popular ATS and you haven't considered the different stages that the ATS touches, it's likely an off the shelf solution and delivery based on what the software can do and what your company invested in, but let's fix that. So the experience that you're providing attracts the right candidates, making your recruiters jobs and your hiring managers jobs much easier, and it repels the wrong candidates, which is going to save you time, effort, and money in the long run.

Melissa Anzman (06:14): So I'd like you to consider the following things. Some you'll be able to be like, yeah, we can influence that today. And others are longer term implementation ideas. The first is who recruits for you. So start at the beginning with a decision that's likely been made before you arrived, but who is responsible for recruiting? Recruiting is one of those skills in HR that often gets overlooked or simplified or joked about, or all the things, especially in a good market, or if you work at a company with a recognized name, but recruiting well, being a good, effective, awesome recruiter skill and understanding clearly where the skill Everett level is for your recruiters is really important. The most critical skills, any recruiter possesses his knowledge about your specific role. Yes. They need to be able to understand how to read resumes and interview properly, but they're only able to be effective if they know exactly what they are hiring for first.

Melissa Anzman (07:21): Now, this sounds obvious and easy for all of us, but when recruiters these days, Carrie, way more okay, open requisitions and job postings, then normal or dare I say, manageable, having a deep knowledge about the role is definitely not at the top of their mind to help your recruiter or succeed. We in HR and as leaders need to slightly reframe the process and RN so that we're not perpetuating this knowledge, that bad recruiters are out there. And they're simply, you know, not finding you the right people, because the breakdown is you're not giving them the right information. That's what we can control. So why don't we try that? And I have a method to do this. It's using the framework, of course, but it's also respecting that the recruiters are there to get you the right candidates, the right people in the door. And to do that, the key key here is we have to be clear.

Melissa Anzman (08:24): We are about who that right candidate is. So to help them, I want you to go through the framework in this way, when you're ready to open a requisition, your company probably has a process is probably ridiculous. Less that you have questions. You need to answer long lines of approvals. Maybe it's a hiring freeze, so you have even more approvals and special things. And so now you're three months down the road without an open rec dare I continue down that path, regardless of what the situation is or what your process is. There is a framework in place and you have to go outside of it. Or in addition to it, I should say to provide better information. So instead of simply copying and pasting the corporate job description, that's approved, that is standard across the board or the job description to use last time when you were hiring for that role, I really encourage you to think through their posting in two different lenses.

Melissa Anzman (09:19): Number one, what does the recruiter recruiter need to know about the role, the team to identify the right candidates when they cross their desk? What are the actual skill sets that they are going to be using every day in and out? And what are those no-go factors that need they need to look for? The second thing is what do candidates need to know about what they will be responsible for? What a typical day looks like and what the team is like expectations. And so on. We are doing no one, a good service by continuing to post fluffy job descriptions and hoping people are going to be inspired by them and not disappointed when they actually get into the role and see what the daily grind looks like. Because when we do that, what happens, it's called disengagement. They are coming in with a certain idea of what the role is.

Melissa Anzman (10:15): And once they arrive, if it's dramatically different, they don't want to do it anymore. So your job description needs to be updated, to include the items from those two points above. It needs to be really clear about what their experience will be when they are in the role budget, about 30 minutes or so of time to do this. But your job description by adding this accurate information, even if you can't, you know, update the corporate tablet, add it in, add it at the top, give it to the recruiter. This is going to help you be sure that you're getting the right candidates through the door. Now from a field perspective, when we're posting a new job opening, we tend to do so much to get it approved and opened that we are so over it, when it comes to like the actual, get somebody in there that we forget our future employee for them, it's a really exciting time doubly.

Melissa Anzman (11:15): So now in this overwhelming world of uncertainty, so at the same goes for our recruiters, they're totally overworked and under appreciated in general, just go to LinkedIn to hear all the jokes about recruiters, which aren't true, by the way. And to them, it's just another job posting on their plate that they don't have time for, or the support for, or this space for. So we have to do a better job at creating the right feeling and emotion for both of those audiences, to ensure that our job posting has the opportunity to succeed. We want our recruiters to feel optimistic about our role and with optimism comes the knowledge that they need to have. So to do this, it's probably not feasible to have these long ongoing conversations and in-depth touch points with your recruiter about your role, but what you can do is as you open the requisition, create a recruiting brief as part of it.

Melissa Anzman (12:16): And this is a best practice to help your recruiter or the team learn as much as possible about what you're looking for without it being tedious. So it starts with a conversation with your recruiter once they've gotten your role assigned to them. And during that, you'll want to share with them the skills that will be used in the role, knowledge, or experience that is necessary, or can be learned over time, your team culture and expectations, work environments, and so on. And this allows this conversation, which is usually skipped in big corporate places. This conversations allows that two way back and forth questions and answers so that your recruiter can learn more about your role in a very quick and efficient way. Now, I like to have you document document like the details of the role having the conversation, but also if you do the brief itself, which is a template, you're going to just hand that to your recruiter, that gives them all the information about the expected role details.

Melissa Anzman (13:17): You know, all the normal things you need, the title reporting manager, director reports, if any budget, daily duties, requirements, and so on. But then you're also adding additional details like computer programs, knowledge levels, client expectations, and the client culture, work hours, work, environment expectations, percentage of time of work, daily, weekly, monthly, and the type of thought expected. Is it innovative work, entrepreneurial, ongoing task, and so on team dynamics, interactions, communication channels, um, all the things that we really want to ask about in the interview process to identify that right candidate, but in a job description, we're not really clear about. So if you put the brief together, it helps your recruiter know what to ask based on their years of experience in recruiting, they can parse out or pick out the things that are most relevant to get that right candidate in front of you and for our candidates.

Melissa Anzman (14:21): We want them to be able to really excited about your role specifically and realistic. Now, this is a huge departure from how jobs postings are currently created and it drives me bananas. Job descriptions now are usually boring, filled with words and descriptions that are generic and disconnected with how people actually experienced that job day in and day out. So instead in order to recruit the right people and help our recruiters be successful in that we are going to create a job description that's realistic and share the actual responsibilities and expectations and still help our employees get jazzed about it. If it matches what they're doing, looking for, or not apply, if it's not a fit, we have to stop lying or not being fully transparent. And she's well about what the job is because we keep bringing in wrong fits. And especially in the high key talent, high potential situation, they will leave if it doesn't match their expectation.

Melissa Anzman (15:29): So we want them to connect and resonate with the job description. That's what we hope for that. We want them to be excited about what the actual daily thing is. And the only way to do that is to stop the fluff and talk about the ideal state or be so generic that it's unclear what that person is going to do and be responsible day in and day out. And we have to have a real job description explaining that to, we ate that feel now for act super easy here. We want them to, we want our recruiters to recruit. [inaudible] find the best candidates, do some weeding in and out, get qualified talent to the interview stage, do some PR those first step interviews, all that. And for our candidates, we want them to apply and we want to make it as easy as possible for them to do so.

Melissa Anzman (16:24): And that is the act one next action that we can do in the candidate experience to get them moving forward. And so to do that, we have to be sure we eliminate all possible doubt and friction points along their process. So that the only option is for recruiters to recruit and our candidates to apply. Now, let's talk, touch touches that tangible thing. The system that we use, the tools that we use as part of the recruiting process, and there's a vastly shapes, our candidate experience that both recruiters and our external candidates have now a majority of companies use an ATM yes, or other HR software, job boards to help with their process. Now it does make life easier, but there are so, so many issues with the current systems out there. I'm not going to dive in there. Don't worry. I could probably rant about all of those issues for hours on end.

Melissa Anzman (17:20): I won't bore you. Although if that's something you want, let me know. Maybe we'll explore it, but there are so many issues out there. And what I'd like you to do is understand, especially when you look at the act, how easy is it for the recruiters to recruit and candidates to apply? What does the system actually look like and do and say for applicants? So here's why I want you to really think about that candidate. Who's going be an employee at your company. Now, if they can't, if the candidate, the applicant just took 30 minutes out of there for life to walk through a ridiculous and lengthy and painful process of answering every question under the sun, that your ATS is trying to get them to do, to have the honor of quote unquote, applying for your role, then you need to treat them. They deserve it to be treated, I should say, properly and appropriately.

Melissa Anzman (18:20): So think about it. I know that these systems help us. There are gatekeepers. And I understand that there's no way that humans could possibly do what our ATS systems do as quickly as they do. However, why are they so complicated? Why do you need to know everything under the sun and all the details? Just to have a bot look at their resume. We all know that when you submit your first application, a bot scans you in or out, and that's it, it's not really applying until the recruiter says we're in. So think about your process. What do you actually need to know about that candidate before a recruiter sees their resume? And I guarantee you, it's not the work history. If you have a freaking resume people, it's not all of them details, extracurriculars, all of it. I mean, I can't with the silly questions you are asking people, stop it because once they enter all of that, yeah.

Melissa Anzman (19:22): What happens is they get an auto generated response, right? Probably if they are bonded out within five minutes saying, thanks, but you're not qualified for this role now, truth. I personally, I've gotten hundreds of those auto response emails over my career. And each time my reaction was a less than great. And I know how those systems work. And so in fact, like, I'll be clear every time I got one of those emails, I like yelled back at my inbox saying really, I am so qualified for that role. Yes, you are making a big mistake and your loss. And I never applied at that company again. So think of all those companies that are just like, Nope, never again, if they are lazy enough to do an automatic five minutes later generated email because a bot told me I'm not qualified and had no specific information or details, I will not like working there.

Melissa Anzman (20:23): So no, if that's what you're doing, you're doing that to people. It's a choice. You can absolutely keep that on, but is that who you want to be? Don't your candidates who will, are not right for your role, deserve to be treated decently for like at a minimum, investing their time to jump through your company's hoops, to express interest in applying there. Now I'm not saying to turn off your auto-generated response as that's totally appropriate at this time stage, especially when they've only completed an online application, but look at the response, make sure it's kind reflects the experience. You want them to have build a relationship with a future candidate and doesn't make them feel like they've wasted their time and effort and make sure you leverage all your touch points to play to your advantage during the recruiting process, the right systems channels for your recruiter to be efficient and start building the dialogue with your candidates as a whole rather or not, they are your ideal candidate for that role at that time or not.

Melissa Anzman (21:30): So here's how to change that. You can definitely have an auto-generated response. I would, if in my opinion, the auto, you know, five minutes later, the body you out, I wouldn't do that. I would set a couple of hours to just let the candidate feel as though someone looked at it or the system really pondered it and then have a little bit more in the generated response. You can edit those by the way, my friends, um, even in an off the shelf situation, you have that power. It's pretty easy to share a little bit more about the experience that was missing. Now you've set up your bot to look at it and things. So what you want to do is in that auto-generated email indicate the things that were missing from their resume, and that's it super easy and helpful your candidate feel as though a human being, uh, has maybe even looked at it or the bot is giving him more details of why they're not qualified and they may not get a name with your company and drop out all together.

Melissa Anzman (22:36): So this is the start of the candidate experience. It's really about who and how you're bringing people into the fold. But after that, we move into the selection process and to do that, to have qualified candidates, we have to have conversations and do some real search to see if they're a good fit through interviewing. Now, all of us, I have been in an interview before as candidates and most of us can share some words, really amazingly bad interview stories. I have one or two. And if you're in HR or the hiring manager, maybe you have hundreds, right? Like the stories are endless, but the process of selecting our best candidate through the interviewing process is critical, really important for the one person that we want to hire. And we feel like we're going to have to kiss a lot of frogs during the process to find our royalty moment.

Melissa Anzman (23:35): And this is where things tend to go really wrong, especially for key talent in a job market. That truly is either good or bad because our selection process, cadence responsibilities, and time needed to figure out and like get the right people along the way that all that needs to be clear from the start before you open your requisition. We can't be wondering about what the process is after we're at this point. So here's the thing. There has been a lot of posts circulating on social media, around, um, candidates ghosting or sending thanks, but no thanks emails up until about February or March of 2020, um, them changing their mind or having a better offer or just not showing up on the first day. And a lot of these actions can be contributed, can be attributed to this election process being broken on the company's end, not because of what all of the meme say that candidates are millennials or just lazy or flighty or what have you.

Melissa Anzman (24:51): So that's why it's so important. As we think through the candidate experience we've had at this stage, we started them off. They were interested enough in our company to want to apply. And if you want to know more about that, you can listen to episode number 12 of the rethink HR podcast, where we talk about the over the onboarding overview experience and why that's so important of like, why, how, why, and how to attract the right people to even be interested. But today we overviewed how like to get them in the door, how to get them to apply as a candidate. It's just the start of the overall experience. But it's really important because what they experience here is going to lead them along the way of if they even want to continue in the interview process. And especially as we get to an offer stage, because remember if we are not being truthful and transparent about the job, about the culture, about the expectations of what a typical day looks like of the fact that you are understaffed and overworked, or that you don't have as flexible of a working hours, as you would like being truthful about all of that.

Melissa Anzman (26:11): Now at this point is going to help get you talent that sticks down the road. This podcast is brought to you by better microsites with your HR. Bye that's being cut. And you being on the hunt for whales ways to do more with less, why not consider a total rewards or benefits microsite to not only increase your employee experience, but also deliver increased value at half the cost. We all know that your off the shelf benefit administration is extremely user unfriendly, lacking customization, easy to find information, a crazy firewall, and a missing search function. All at an extremely high cost better microsites are a hundred percent designed based on what your employees need to know your branding and your information, improving the speed in which your employees can find that critical benefit information while seamlessly connecting with your enrollment vendor. And it's ready quick. We need just about six weeks to get you up and rolling just in time for annual enrollment, learn more about better microsites at better.com/microsites. That's bettHR.com/microsites. Thank you so much for tuning in for this episode of the rethink HR podcast. For more information, including show notes and resources, please go to rethinkHRpodcast.com/21.

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