“Let them eat cake,” Marie Antoinette enthusiastically declared upon learning commoners and peasants had no bread. The oblivious, selfish upper class in France at the time was met with a revolution like no other after these words were uttered.
Now there is no clear evidence that Marie Antoinette ever even said these words, but the general sentiment of elitism in France at the time dictated the behavior of pro-revolutionary individuals for a decade. The results? Complete social and political change.
This phrase is now famous for showing a clear disregard and insensitivity to the problem at hand. When people couldn’t afford bread, it was suggested that they eat cake. Not quite the solution the people were looking for.
In today’s recruiting atmosphere, candidates undoubtedly can relate to commoners in pre-revolutionary France. Unheard, misunderstood and suffering.
Alright, relating famine to struggles in the interview process is a bit of a stretch, but leaders who fail to listen to their subjects are common in both scenarios.
It’s Not Enough To Declare Hope
As candidate experience becomes an increasingly hot topic, many recruiting leaders are jumping aboard the ship to create change and hope for their candidates. A declaration without action, though, is not enough, and it can even be more harmful to your candidate experience.
But, it’s hard to know where to even begin. That’s where a huge bottleneck lies in efforts to improve candidate experience. Generally it’s a good idea to go to your candidates when trying to improve their experiences, but if teams aren’t communicating with candidates or surveying them, they don’t have much data to work with.
That’s where organizations begin making proclamations without appropriate action. From there, things get even worse.
Recruiting teams who claim to really care about their candidates yet continue to produce poor experiences are not just making false promises, but going back on their word. This causes candidates to mistrust and judge organizations in a negative light.
The moral of the story here is to not make false promises.
Addressing The Problem
To seriously make an impact and change recruiting practices, leaders need to look inward at their candidates.
French subjects were not looking for lavish pastries to fill their voids. They just wanted food to get by on a daily basis.
So sure, setting up extravagant careers pages that boast amazing company culture and hiring processes looks great. But, it’s not what candidates are asking for necessarily.
To start making changes the absolute first step needs to be either using organization review data from candidates or setting up a system of gathering this data. Candidates are the ones experiencing the hiring process first-hand. They know when things are moving along slowly or what actions from recruiters make them frustrated. Use this information to set benchmarks and set goals for change.
Beyond the importance of using candidates’ perspectives, using recruiting metrics rather than gut feelings or guesses, teams can measure and track success toward goals more effectively.
If candidates are asking for a faster hiring process, start taking a look at the roadblocks that slow down the process. If they feel neglected or ignored, find ways to incorporate more communication within the process.
In the end, it’s all about listening to your candidates and giving them what they want, not solving candidate experience problems with copious amounts of brioche and cake.