G&S Business Communications is a public relations firm with a strong mindset toward strategy and action. The team currently leverages Convey for Interviewing to effectively and efficiently interview candidates to save time.
Kaitlyn Curtis is a Senior HR Specialist at G&S Business Communications. She wasn’t necessarily hired to tackle recruitment, but given recent growth, her position has evolved to primarily include recruiting. Curtis sits on the HR team, which is small but mighty, and about seventy-five percent of her day is involved with recruiting tactics. Initially, there was not a plan of attack for candidate experience at the organization, but that has since changed with a lot of help from Curtis.
G&S Business Communications on Candidate Experience
How does the team at G&S define candidate experience?
We take the quality of our candidate experience seriously. Before HR came along - we’re new as a team in the past 5 years - office managers looked at resumes. People were coming in for interviews but it wasn’t very organized. There wasn’t a real process. So we had to sit down and think about what that meant in terms of the talent we were bringing in and the hiring process.
We want the candidate experience to be efficient, and we pride ourselves on being fairly flexible to people. Those are the biggest values to us.
Where do you think candidate experience stands today at most organizations? Why?
At G&S, we’ve definitely received feedback from candidates - whether it’s through Glassdoor or when they email us afterward - how appreciative they are of our communication.
I’m in touch with our top candidates pretty constantly. We’re emailing back and forth all the time. From what I see, the candidate experience isn’t great at other organizations. Some of my friends who go through the process of going to an interview and have not heard back for weeks or months at a time.
As an industry, there’s more that can be done to make this a better experience. Recruiters often get so busy so they don’t really think through the candidate’s point of view.
Where do you feel candidates get the most frustrated while looking for a new job?
Candidates are most frustrated with the lack of communication. I know that people send in their resumes and never hear back, and it can be really frustrating to not get any kind of response.
When candidates have done things like record themselves on a video interview or take a writing test, the lack of communication can be super frustrating.
How do you avoid the candidate “black hole” (when your candidates never hear back)?
When it comes to recruitment, we have so many open positions and we receive so many resumes and applications. The more time that someone has put into the process, the more time I'm going to put into being responsive to them. While I wish I could reply to every resume that comes in, an automated email does acknowledge each one so everyone knows their resume at least made it through.
If we’re spending time with them on the phone or if they complete their video interview, I definitely reach out to them. I keep people in the loop throughout the process. I’ll even reach out if things are slow on the hiring manager’s end or crazy travel schedules delay our decision. I want them to always know where they stand.
Candidates to know they can reach out to me, but I also want them to know they aren’t forgotten. Even if it’s just to let them know they are still in consideration, I proactively let people know where they stand.
Do you survey your candidates for interview feedback?
We occasionally ask, but a lot of times we get a lot of unsolicited feedback, especially from our more junior applicants about the video interview. Sometimes people just give us that unsolicited feedback, which is great!
Do you think recruiters have an obligation to explain specifically why a candidate is not chosen to move forward?
In the earliest rounds of an application, the answer is no. While I wish we could, and in some instances I’ll share feedback if I can, it can be impractical and unhelpful to either side if full detailed reviews simply are not available. For example, if we are down to our top two candidates and they’ve given us a lot of their time, absolutely. Or, if a position is closed or things change on our end, then I feel one-hundred percent obligated to let them know why.
What are the biggest challenges or obstacles in the way of your candidate experience that you’re working to resolve today?
I think the biggest challenge is time and volume. So many resumes in so little time.
It’s important for us to take a step back and think through all the details of what candidates will go through and make sure we provide a clear description of what that person will be doing. They’ll know what they are signing up for and what their job could entail.
What steps does the G&S recruiting team take to enhance the candidate experience?
I think the biggest thing we do is putting ourselves in the candidate’s shoes. We’ve all been on the flip side of it. We all know that the candidate might have to work around juggling a crazy schedule, maybe they are in a job and need to be discreet. We’re asking a lot of them. So we are empathetic to the process and what they’re going through.
What are your thoughts on bringing AI (artificial intelligence) into the hiring process?
It has definitely made my life a lot easier to have these video interviews! I have mixed feelings about it though. I used to have phone screens with every single candidate, and that’s why Convey was so necessary for us. I was interviewing people all day long, so it has been a life-saver for me. But I do miss that one-on-one interaction, but luckily we are able to do that when we bring them in person.
If money, time and any other resources were not roadblocks, what would be your dream hiring process for your candidates?
Whatever would be simple and efficient. I would want them to come in and get a real taste, a real flavor of what it’s like to work here. I’d like to keep it as transparent as possible and have them meet as many people as possible so they can really picture themselves growing their career with us.