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Recap: Cocktails & Candidate Experience

Posted by Ryan Frazier

Last week, we held our first Cocktails & Candidate Experience event in NYC with Russell Tobin. Over 100 in-house talent acquisition leaders attended to network with their peers and to hear our amazing panel share how they are addressing Candidate Experience at their companies.

Our CEO, Danielle Weinblatt, moderated the awesome panel of speakers who shared what's really working at their company, what metrics they are tracking to measure success and what the future of Candidate Experience looks like.

We heard from:

  • Saul Weiner, VP of Talent, One Medical
  • John Bongiorno, VP of Talent Acquisition, Viacom
  • Gail Blum, Manager TA Operations, NBCUniversal
  • Christopher Strazzella, Senior Director, Global Head of Talent Acquisition, Verizon Media

Here are a few highlights and awesome takeaways from the panel:

What are the key elements of an amazing candidate experience?

  • Gail: Making the experience memorable is key, and make them want to work for you company.
  • Saul: It's all about creating peaks in the candidate journey. A lot of companies do 'interview kits' or a ‘wellness kit’ - we actually have C-level executives write words of encouragement to candidates when they come in for interviews. 
  • Christopher: Our main focus is all about candidate engagement. We focus on transparency around the process, using technology to increase engagement and we focus heavily on experiential journeys. We use some of our products, and Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality to show candidates what it’s actually like to work here. And also show them what they’re going to be working on/have an impact on.
  • John: It's all about memorable and authentic communications. Make sure you’re making the best use of the candidates time and not wasting it - especially when interviewing.

What is your biggest challenge when it comes to CX?

  • Gail: We have multiple brands that have different needs for the various roles they’re hiring. Some use executive search that require a certain level of touch, but another division might have other issues. It’s hard to come up with a one-size fits all candidate experience plan. 
  • Saul: We are hiring at such a volume that it’s created a lot of new hiring managers. At one point we actually postponed roles because they were offering such poor candidate experience; until we retrained hiring managers to be able to offer the level of customer experience we were looking for. 
  • Christopher: Budget is our biggest obstacle. 
  • John: I would echo that lack of training is a big challenge. New hiring managers is constant, and it’s a global challenge. For every new team, the training has to be a little bit different, so we are constantly having to revisit the training for our new hiring managers.

How proactive is your organization about ghosting? How are you combating candidate ghosting?

  • John: The one area it happens for us is when we’re having exploratory interviews, when there's not a direct req or defined process. On Friday’s, I tell my team to look back at their week/tracking sheet to make sure people aren’t just floating around waiting.
  • Gail: Our biggest blackhole issue is with those candidates that aren’t moving forward in the process. Especially for roles that the process is drawn out between application through second and third interviews. My team are reluctant to let the candidate know they aren't moving forward, just in case they want to go with those B candidates or second choice -- or the cases where the hiring manager changes what they’re looking for. We have standard script to ensure we at least communicate with the candidates, that’s similar to most bulk messages. 
  • Saul: We use a tool that's similar to Trello that notifies us when no one has communicated with a candidate in 3 or 5 days. Our SLA says every candidate will be looked at everyday. With recruiter capacity and what we track, we will actually turn off a job post to ensure they have the time to keep candidates updated.

What’s the one thing you would tackle if you could only pick one strategy or method to improve your CX?

  • Christopher: I would love to have an end-to-end app for our candidate and our internal teams. Recruiting is like dating. If you marry the dating-app experience and combine it with the amazon shopping experience (customization based on past behaviors) and the relationship piece of it, that is the holy grail of candidate experience. 
  • Saul: Make certified recruiter training a requirement to be promoted. To get ahead, you need to care about who we hire. 
  • John: Getting constructive, timely feedback to candidates. I have had candidates come back recently that weren’t a right fit before, and they tell me why they’re right now. I’ve created feedback forms, and get your team to champion them. Also, training your team on having the difficult conversations is key.
  • Gail: Consistent usage of the technology that you give your recruiting team. You could implement all of the automation and processes, but if they’re skipping steps because they do things their own way, then you’re not landing with the customer experience that you designed in the first place.

After opening up for questions from the audience, we ended the event with networking over drinks. Overall, it was a great evening of networking and learning. Check out the video below for a sneak peak of the evening! Also make sure to subscribe below to keep up to date on any future events we are planning. 

Cocktails&CandidateExperience-Trailer

Photography and Video by IMI.NYC

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