Introducing The Great Candidate Experience Impresario: Gerry Crispin

Dawn Burke Bad HR, candidate experience, Candidate Pool, Dawn Burke

At FOT you’ve seen posts, videocasts and pretty hearty debates about a topic that still has legs: Candidate Experience. In working with Jobvite on this series, they thought it would be fabulous if I introduced someone who we both consider to be the founder, the impresario, the visionary, the sponsor, and the advocate of the candidate experience movement—Gerry Crispin. You wanna read about his impressive background!

You may be asking what is candidate experience? Check out this post to read more about it.

So here is the deal: Typically my style is to write a snappy post telling you about cool stuff from my perspective. But in today’s post, I thought there was no better way to introduce you to Gerry than by a good ‘ole interview. Who better to talk about Gerry than… Gerry? So, enjoy!

DB: Where was the turning point in your recruiting career where you realized definitively the hiring process was fostering a bad candidate experience? Perhaps even a very bad experience?

GC: In my earliest days at Johnson and Johnson (1970s), our credo was a set of values I took to heart. Each week, thousands of applications arrived in the mail. We had several part-time assistants join us early in the morning to slit the envelopes open, stack the resumes for the recruiters and then, sign, stuff and send letters to every candidate acknowledging receipt or offer status. 100% of our candidates were notified within days without the Internet or technology. 40 years later few companies can’t meet that standard.

So, the difference maker in candidate experience isn’t technology—although that has raised expectations and disappoints millions. The real difference is recruiters understanding and accepting the responsibility to each stakeholder in the process

DB: Most would presume it intuitive that anyone involved in the hiring process (recruiters, hiring managers, peers) would treat candidates well. Why don’t we? You even go so far that in some ways recruiters were taught to haze.

GC: There are several reasons recruiters unintentionally treat candidates poorly:

  • Recruiters don’t see candidates, especially those that are not qualified, as our responsibility. 
  • Recruiters don’t analyze the cost of poorly treating candidates.
  • Recruiters and HR Pros are unwilling to demand of our bosses, hiring managers and others the flexibility to do what our core values dictate and staff the organization accordingly.
  • Recruiters don’t immerse themselves in relevant technology solutions bubbling up around us.
  • Recruiters see “recruiting” as a job not a profession.
  • Lastly, recruiters likely were treated badly when they interviewed, and somehow survived. This taught us that hazing is a good thing. It toughens you up.

DB: Gerry, to combat some of these issues, you started the TalentBoard, an organization to advocate for, share best practices of, and highlight great companies that are demonstrating recruiting excellence. When did you start the TalentBoard and why?  

GC: I had been writing and speaking about recruiting from the eyes of the candidate since the 90s, fully expecting technology to support my notion that candidates are partners in the process. It wasn’t happening. Elaine Orler, CEO of Talent Function, called me in 2010 and said maybe we’re going about it all wrong. Instead of beating up employers by outing their worst practices, maybe we should uncover those doing the best job, help tell their story, and measure the difference their approach makes to the individual, the function and the firm. Viola, the TalentBoard was created to make this happen and the Candidate Experience Awards (CandEs) shortly thereafter.

Today, in 2016, the TalentBoard has four “Board members” myself included, about 30 industry volunteers, 30 volunteers who have won the Candidate Experience Awards 2 or more times and, most important, about 30 sponsors- vendors who underwrite the cost so that no employer has yet paid a fee to participate in our programs or get benchmark data.

We offer to every participating employer the ability to compare their data to a “bench” of 50 firms whose candidates rated them the highest. We have 200 participating firms in North America, 100 in EMES and 50-75 in Asia Pac this year and expect to have as many as 300,000 completed surveys by the candidates of participating employers.

Wow, right? Couldn’t have said that better myself, Gerry! Make sure you go see the good stuff Gerry is doing in the CE space and check out his website here.

This post is sponsored by the recruiting pros at Jobvite, who, each month, let FOT write about a topic that will help recruiters raise their games via continuing education. Be on the lookout later this month for the new FOT video series called “No Scrubs”—also brought to you by