Omnicom Health Group is an advertising agency network focused on healthcare communications. The recruiting team currently uses Convey for Interviewing in their hiring process.
Ed Frankel is the SVP, Director of Talent Acquisition at Omnicom Health Group. He oversees a team that handles global, full lifecycle recruiting for a variety of positions. Frankel has developed into his position over a few years at the company, and he is very focused on diving deeper into the overall people experience.
Omnicom Health Group on Candidate Experience
How does the team at Omnicom Health Group define candidate experience?
It’s interesting. Candidate experience doesn’t actually really start when your candidate is showing up to your careers page and applying for a job. It’s long before that. It’s about how they experience your brand before they even decide that they want to apply for a job.
So that’s something we talk about a lot with our agencies. How are they telling their story on places like LinkedIn, or their corporate website, or on Twitter, or Instagram? And then of course, the things that everyone thinks about. When someone is applying to a job, how many fields are they filling out before they are completed? What kind of information are we asking them to provide? How easy are we making it? And then, what happens after that? Are they getting an email from us confirming receipt of their application? If we do a phone screen, how does that work? If we put them through video interviewing, which is a platform we use through you guys, what does that look like?
It’s how we say yes, it’s how we say no. It’s how we reject candidates.
It also affects employee referrals. That’s something we’re working on right now. When an employee refers someone, are we thanking them? What are we saying to that employee?
How do we make the experience better for everybody so that -- even if it is largely about the candidate -- leaving the employee with a positive experience will make them want to refer more people to us. After all if it’s a poor experience, why would someone want to refer anyone else again? And the same thing is true for candidates. If you aren’t leaving them with a memorable experience, it’s going to make it a lot harder when you’re encouraging them to say yes to the offer you just extended them.
Where do you think candidate experience stands today at most organizations? Why?
Generally speaking recruiting is a cost center for an organization. So whether it’s investing in processes, the right talent, or the tools to create a better candidate experience, it can be both costly and very time consuming. Even if you have good people, you might not have enough of them. Or, you might have the right people, but you may not have equipped them with the right tools to handle it efficiently.
Providing good candidate experience is tough, and it’s such a vague term. What does it really mean? Like some people will say they greet a candidate and give them a bottle of water when they show up, and that’s good candidate experience.
That’s a great take, and it’s interesting that we do all have different perspectives on what candidate experience is. That’s why we’re trying to hone in on what it really means across the board.
Well, I think people need to agree to a certain set of rules. I believe the candidate experience starts before someone applies then continues after they are an employee. They need to be engaged, empowered, and given opportunities to continue developing after they join your company. Forgetting to engage them only makes it easier for your competitors to do it on your behalf.
We talk a lot about this idea of the candidate black hole, which is when candidates either apply and never hear back or even start an interview process only to be left in the dark. How do you really avoid the candidate black hole?
It can be tough to let someone know that you won’t be proceeding, but it’s critical as it builds trust between the organization and the candidate. Disappearing on a candidate is something we try really hard to avoid. It’s critical for recruiters to make time to share the bad news, so here at OHG we have time baked into our schedule to connect with candidates to do so. It’s never an easy conversation to have, but sharing the truth is always better than stalling or simply disappearing.
Right, some feedback is better than no feedback.
Definitely. It’s okay to say no. There’s a term I’ve been hearing a lot lately, it’s “ghosting.” It’s not good. Nobody likes to feel that way.
You have team meetings and it sounds like you’re laying the foundation toward creating a better, as you said, person experience. What steps are you specifically taking to enhance the experience?
We try to make the process as simple as we can on the candidate. For example, we shouldn’t have a candidate in the office so many times meeting so many people making it complicated. And then, especially with the hiring teams, we encourage them to make timely decisions. It’s okay to make a decision. If you’re saying no, just tell me you’re saying no so I can go back and let the candidate know. If you’re saying yes, let’s get an offer done quickly.
It’s critical that we move efficiently. That means showing up and following a schedule. Everyone is prepared for an interview, they know a candidate is coming in, we’re ready to ask questions, we know what we’re interviewing against, we’re giving timely feedback to the recruiter, and we’re going to move things along quickly. That’s not just because I want to fill the job, it’s because I don’t want to waste people’s time and hurt people’s feelings.
Do you currently survey your candidates for interview feedback?
That’s funny, we literally just started last week.
How funny! What was the motivation behind that?
My team is good at getting candidates, and getting them on the phone, and phone screening them, and then getting them in person for interviews. We’re getting them in for the test drive, but then I have no idea what’s happening on that test drive. Are recruiters prepared? Are they showing up on time? Are they answering questions? Are they telling enough to the candidate about what it’s like to work there? I have no idea. So I’m trying to figure out what is actually happening there. So we put together a simple survey for every candidate. We’ll see what happens.
What are your thoughts on bringing AI (artificial intelligence) into the hiring process?
We’ve tinkered with it before. I don’t think anyone has really figured it out perfectly. I’m one-hundred percent, let’s do this. Especially for scheduling. I think it could do some really great things. If it could automatically send a reminder the morning of an interview like, “hey John, we’re excited to see you today at 3 p.m.”.
AI never forgets, and that’s the cool thing about it. That was one of my insights when I was using AI. If I asked it to help me do something, it never forgot, and I never had to remind it. Exactly what I wanted to happen, happened every single time. That’s the beauty of AI. But, it’s also frightening.
Used properly, it can be super helpful.