The HR Gateway Drug = Candidate Experience

Dawn Burke Candidate Pool, Dawn Burke, Employee Engagement, Engagement and Satisfaction, Good HR, HR, Organizational Development, Recruiting, Retention, The HR Profession, Tim Sackett

Today we are gonna stir the pot a little on a topic most HR pros still need a 101 on—it’s called Candidate Experience (CE). My company, Daxko, just participated in the TalentBoard’s CandE awards because we wanted to get some important benchmark data on what is working with our candidate’s experience and what is not.

As a VP of HR, I BELIEVE FOCUSING ON CANDIDATE EXPERIENCE IS WORTH ANY TALENT ACQUISTION TEAM’S TIME. And for MANY more reasons than just recruiting awesomeness. Before I espouse my fab Exec Trench HR wisdom on you, a little context.

Here is the gist of candidate experience: treat candidates as you would any customer in your business and you will reap benefits, rewards and—hopefully—some return on the time investment with higher new-hire retention. In addition, all candidates, regardless if they get hired or not, have a much greater potential to be your brand ambassador if they are treated with respect during the talent acquisition process. Especially from those who don’t get hired.

Why? Intimacy (getting to know someone) + Access (your time) = TRUST.


CE Yin/Yang:

I want to introduce you to two of my great HR thought-leader-y friends, Tim Sackett and Gerry Crispin.

In the Pro CE corner: Gerry Crispin of the TalentBoard and CareerXRoads is the founder, advocate, researcher and chief champion of Candidate Experience.

In the Con CE corner: Tim Sackett, President of HRU and prolific blogger on all things HR/Recruiting (Fistful of Talent/Tim Sackett Project). He is one of the most vocal leaders who believes most of the CE is bunk.

Before I get into my schpeil I think it prudent you read two articles from/about these two regarding CE:



Let’s be clear: The way I read the pro vs. con, both are saying the same thing. But that is a bottle of wine conversation.

In my opinion, here is why candidate experience must be a priority to your entire HR team: Because it is one of the BEST ways to establish great HR habits, including practices above and beyond just recruiting. How?

  • Good CE helps establish trust in your HR team from the start. No trust = a failed HR function.
  • Good CE helps HR teams practice good habits of closing out communications loops across all corporate departments. Bad, bad, super bad to over-promise and under-deliver (under-delivering usually equates to “sorry this report only includes half of what you asked for… uh, I got busy and forgot to tell you”), forget to get back to someone, or follow up on an employee relations issue.
  • Good CE helps HR teams remember the golden rule: Treat others the way you want to be treated. It’s funny how recruiters demand candidates show them respect and make candidates assume trust or show vulnerability (“Tell me why you got fired… “). However, some will argue it is overkill on the reverse—which are things CE usually infer recruiters practice. Those things should be reciprocated from the talent acquisition folks ’cause it’s the right thing to do.

Frankly, if you think CE is not worth crap then you may be treating your candidates as a commodity. Boo.

NOTE: If you are in the tech industry, and you do this, you will fail. Unless you’re Apple.

Some argue CE isn’t strategic or that your CEO doesn’t give a crap as long as you hire someone fab. Who knows? BUT you know what will completely destroy your chances of even being asked to “strategy sessions?” Failing to have employee advocates. Letting the whole organization think you are the police. Destroying trust. BTW, A CEO HATES when HR tells him all the reasons why his ideas suck (police).

So, will candidate experience cure these things mentioned above? Not necessarily. But focusing on it will help you build a stronger team holistically. And does it really hurt??

Be on the lookout tomorrow for the FOT video series called “No Scrubs”—brought to you by