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Why your candidates can’t hear you: Exploring the shift in candidate expectations

Kermit RandaNovember 2, 2022AwarenessConnection

Article was originally posted on Kermit Randa's LinkedIn.

Looking back even three years will paint a vastly different picture of the candidate journey than what companies and candidates experience today. From technological advancements and process improvements to candidate expectations and employer adaptations, the world of talent acquisition hasn't just changed, it has quite literally transformed.

Traditional hiring practices have fallen to the wayside for large companies. Not only do they lack dimension and transparency, they are simply ineffective in today's competitive market. For example, it was not uncommon for candidates to enter into these traditional hiring scenarios with limited visibility into the process. They simply submitted a resume (often manually for each job submission), waited for a call that may or may not come, spoke with an undetermined number of company representatives, and then received an offer (or not). There was no guarantee that they would ever hear back from the prospective employer at any stage during the process, leaving them in the dark with only hope lighting the way.

A new approach to the candidate experience

Candidates today expect more. Consumer technology has primed the candidate pool to expect seamless interactions with brands, simple communication channels, and increased visibility. The pandemic fueled this evolution, showcasing the ability for employers to engage a remote workforce, leveraging advanced technology to create an engaging, connected experience. This blurred the lines on work location requirements, enabling candidates and employers to connect based on fit rather than proximity.

Today, remote and hybrid work environments have opened the door to more opportunities, and options, for both candidates and employers. This has widened the candidate pool for employers, offering a new avenue to attract skilled talent. For candidates, this has broken down geographic walls, enabling them to be more selective in the opportunities they pursue. In fact, the recruitment process often begins long before the candidate selects "apply" on a company website or job board.

As an employer, creating and communicating brand values and purpose, and rising as an authority in the market are not just nice-to-have, they're a must-have in today's climate. Simon Sinek is well-known for his work, "It Starts with Why." For employers, starting with why is not just good business to improve revenue and reputation, it can have a tremendous impact on talent acquisition as well. In fact, according to a recent McKinsey study, nearly half of survey respondents noted a clear vision and communication as important workplace factors in a post-pandemic work environment.

Further, candidates expect employers to make the effort to reach them where they are, meaning employers must leverage the right channels to communicate with prospective employees. From social media and online job boards to in-person hiring events and other avenues, finding the right talent has become a two-way street.

Once in the door, the work continues. Creating a vibrant and engaging interview process is only a piece of the puzzle. Hiring teams must consider each interaction along the journey, whether that be in person or via video conferencing call, email, phone call, candidate portal, or other channels.

According to a 2021 report, 58% of candidates declined a job offer due to a poor experience. Reasons for the poor experience ranged from misaligned role responsibilities, unfavorable compensation and benefits, slow or disorganized interview process, and poor experience with the individuals involved in the interview process. Conversely, candidates reported a favorable experience that led to offer acceptance with increased responsiveness and engagement with the prospective employer (85%), increased transparency throughout the process (84%), and ease of technology experience (72%). It's clear that experience matters, regardless of final outcome (hired or not).

Rise of talent acquisition technology

We live and work in a digitally connected society, which has undoubtedly affected our expectations and tolerances for virtually every interaction. From technology that enables us to purchase online and receive our order within hours, to live online chats to address support questions and predictive recommendations for future purchases, or customer portals that provide visibility into existing and past orders, billing status, and more, we are quickly becoming accustomed to a high level of visibility, communication, and control. These expectations logically filter into our interactions with prospective employers and candidates as well.

Today's talent acquisition technology market is exploding. Recent reports indicate the talent acquisition and staffing technology and services market is expected to reach $196 billion by 2028. At Symphony Talent, we are at the forefront of this innovation, enabling companies to optimize their hiring process through pipeline intelligence, smart workflows, chat assistance, personalized dashboards, and more.

With the right technology, employers can automate tasks, deliver a personalized candidate experience, enhance the interview process, provide key insights, and drive growth within their organization. Creating a positive hiring experience is important under any circumstances, but given the expanded talent pool and tech-savviness of today's candidates, getting it right has become an imperative to remain competitive.

Let me say it again ... Talent acquisition has transformed, which means our candidate engagement and processes must transform as well.

It is no longer a transactional experience that leaves candidates in the dark. Instead, candidates and employers are working together to not only determine the right fit, but also ensure the best experience for both sides, leading to offer acceptance and employee retention.

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