Bringing digital to the core of your talent acquisition process does not mean simply moving a long, convoluted application process online or making it "mobile". It means experiencing every step of the candidate journey through the hearts, minds and devices of your digitally native audience. Why? Because their early experience is critical to your overall success. According to Brandon Hall Research, organizations that invest in a strong candidate experience improve their quality of hires by 70%.
Most talent acquisition process has been built on infrastructure tools designed with HR and compliance in mind, not a mobile candidate experience. Yet in 2018, delivering a seamless candidate experience that is intuitive, mobile-friendly and authentic to your brand is merely table stakes. Much like your corporate retail marketing peers, CHROs will need to take the experience a step further, using real-time data and machine learning to transform every single touchpoint into a nurturing opportunity.
In this blog, I share how CHROs can start their own digital transformation journey by experiencing the talent acquisition process in the context of digital natives.
Read About Other Ways To Help CEOs Drive Digital Transformation.
In order to think like a digital native, CHROs must objectively experience their talent acquisition process from building awareness through converting applications and measure each phase against a rising set of consumer driven expectations.
Building Awareness (It's about advertising and advocates)
The beginning of any candidate journey starts with candidates becoming aware of your organization as a potential employer. Awareness can happen in a number of ways; the most trusted of which is via your own employee advocates and the most common of which is Google, with 73% of candidates starting their search there. Subsequently, the entry points and the path candidates will take depend on the job category and the different personas you are targeting (and hopefully retargeting.)
For example, across all retail customers of Symphony Talent, 85% of the application for store sales associate jobs happen through mobile and a huge percentage of those can be attributed to a single source leading to an application. However, the decision making process for an eCommerce developer encompasses a more complex journey requiring more research with most candidates visiting up to 10 websites, and reading at least six reviews before forming an opinion of a company.
Candidate research is not limited to online review sites either. Think about the power of your product advocates - your employee advocates are even more influential. According to the Edelman Trust Index, employees rank as the most trusted influencers when communicating about their company's engagement and integrity.
In the awareness phase, make sure you understand your unique personas and their respective entry points. In addition, make sure you're harnessing the power of your employee advocates by making it easy for them to share branded content across their social networks.
Cultivating consideration (it's about content and conversation)
Once a candidate is aware of your employer brand, the next phase of the journey must focus on keeping candidates engaged through relevant, personalized content. Going back to the earlier insight on store sales associates, if we know that those type of applicants usually start from a single source and go directly to your job description page, then your job descriptions need to be compelling, clear examples of what the job requires, and what it's like to work for your company. Skip the internal jargon and focus on the benefits and responsibilities of the opportunity. With more complex roles, like the eCommerce Developer, think about why an eCommerce Developer would work for you instead of a pure tech company such as Google or Apple. Bring that unique value proposition into their experience as they interact with your relevant career pages and branded social content amplified by the peers they trust.
Just like consumers, candidates are easily distracted - so make sure there are ample opportunities to keep the conversation going before they even apply. For example, invite candidates to subscribe to a talent community or newsletter.
The great news is that technology can now enable a variety of options for keeping candidates engaged starting from simple retargeting (think about how products follow you on the internet), to an intelligent email nurturing process, to an A.I. driven text, messenger or chat integration. Each of these engagement options can and should be automated using intelligent omni-channel drip campaigns.
Converting Applications (it's about simplicity)
Think about what keeps you from completing a transaction as a consumer - forced logins and repetitive steps will nearly always end with an abandoned cart. It's the same in talent acquisition. In fact, according to Dr. John Sullivan, at Fortune 500 firms, 90% of applicants drop out because they encountered a frustrating application process.
Take the time to apply to your own jobs and understand where the drop off occurs in your process. It might happen if candidates land on an irrelevant landing page, or a job description that makes no sense to them. It's very likely to happen if you force a login or ask too many questions right up front. In fact, based on the data across all the Symphony Talent clients, every 5 questions you ask up to 35 questions, doubles your drop off rate.
Personalize the application process for each persona type, make use of progressive data, let the applicant pick up where they left and make sure they can complete the application on any device they choose. Here's a great example of a progressive application process.
Thanks to consumer technology giants like Amazon, Uber and Facebook our patience and attention spans are decreasing quickly. Consumer expectations are now one in the same with candidate expectations. An intuitive, mobile experience that collects and delivers information efficiently is the new expectation.
As you take an objective look at your process, here are some questions your team should be asking about your TA process - if the answer is no to any of these, it's time to add these to your digital transformation priorities in 2018:
- Is our search "Amazon easy"? Do we automatically recommend jobs that may also be relevant? Do we give candidates the ability to search by radius and location?
- Do we leverage progressive information or do we repeatedly ask for information we have already collected?
- Can applicants use social profiles to apply in one click?
- Do we use the power of employee advocacy? Can our recruiters and employees share relevant stories easily?
- Does our experience adjust based on the profile of the candidate?
- Do we allow candidates to pick up where they left off from any device?