A great candidate experience relies on great interaction quality

Chris Raw Sept. 5, 2019

Interaction counts

In my last company, we defined interaction quality as a key driver for improving candidate NPS. It helps candidates know that they are being dealt with on a basic level and delivers on a promise you invested in when you apply for a new role. Candidate experience is like trying on the clothes giving an insight into the type of employer experience you can expect. It’s all one journey right?!

When we communicate with a candidate we want to get them to a place where they can make a decision or commit. A call to action.

Most HR tech software allows a narrow line of communication. Some have better user experiences than others but the line of communication remains (for most employers) the same. Email. And there is nothing wrong with email, but with the rise of spam filters and GDPR, is it still a channel we solely rely on?

It’s not about your process — it’s about enabling a journey that fits the diverse needs of the candidate.

Can Conversational Interfaces (CI) fill in the blanks?

I believe they can. Especially after reading a great article on Social Media Today. stating that “messages sent via bots have much higher open and click-through rates than email. Conversational Interfaces (CI) can have click-through rates ranging from 15%-60%, and even the lower end of that spectrum well surpasses the average email marketing CTR (which is only about 4%)” (Original source: Chatbot Magazine / Smart Insights).

I’m not here stating that chat platforms are the only way forward, quite the contrary. Conversational Interfaces and Email can work in harmony for the candidate. One catches the ball where the other channel did not. Surely when you put both together you enable that connection even further from employer to candidate.

If we are truly designing experiences around the star of our story (that’s the candidate by the way), we should bear in mind that not everyone is responsive to email or let alone using it as frequently as we can assume. After all, its usually a non-interaction from an ATS. A mere update sent from an autoresponder based on an action. Conversational Interface allows you to add another channel to take the burden of some of the tasks you would normally associate with email. What’s more, you extend the choice of the candidate to interact where they want. Choice in any experience is a key component.

The bottom line, it’s not about your process — it’s enabling a journey that fits the diverse needs of the candidate.

Automating Interaction

We are already at the stage where we can automate parts of a tiring, hiring journey. Not only to please the candidate with a seamless experience, but also take some of the burdens from the recruiter. When you can do this, you really focus on value add tasks like building better relations with the business and consulting / coaching candidates to be at the top of their game. Give your stakeholder what they actually want and need to make more commitment. Better relationships and more air-time.

Microtasks like the little bitty tasks that take an average to a high touch service. They are part of every recruiting step or touchpoint, the moments between the moments some might say. But often they are labelled as non-value add tasks? I’m not sure why. When I did my last Candidate Experience Journey Mapping Workshop for one of Europe’s largest eCommerce businesses, it was clear that candidates still expect excellence and execution in these steps. Seamless with no unintended gaps. Get these wrong and they quickly become a problem. It will completely kill the buzz of the experience your creating, leaving candidates to wander into other hiring avenues of companies who haven’t left them hanging on Stage HOLD.

Frequency & Recency = Candidate Value

  • Recency — How recently did the candidate interact?
  • Frequency — How often do they interact?

Yes, I’ve borrowed that phrase and manipulated it somewhat from our friends in Direct Marketing, but knowing who is interacting with you, your content and at scale is a useful timesaver for your recruiting team.

With the gains on CTR mentioned above, perhaps conversational interfaces have an advantage on creating this candidate value based on frequency and recency of interaction? What’s more, we are now firmly in a phase where personalised experiences are even more possible than before. We can tailor the experience with chat on a personal level all based on unique interactions based on the user query. That’s a real step up from Hi {FIRST NAME} ATS emails. And that’s if you were lucky enough to get one of those.

Explore your use cases

Spending time figuring out where you might want to create more interaction could be areas like FAQs, opt-in, chat application, interview logistics or even pulse surveys. These use cases along with other microtasks are becoming more frequently explored by employers looking to engage candidates throughout the hiring process.

Automating parts of your hiring experience will ultimately benefit not only the candidate but the way you have more impact where it matters.

Efficiency is experience

The potential efficiency gains are real. Not only for your recruiter grey hair count, but also for the candidate experience. Gartner’s recent CHRO quarterly report said we are entering the age of the casual candidate. Automation of these microtasks with a sprinkle of relevant content can still create the commitment you need to fill your pipeline with great talent. Email is still going to be used for a long time yet, and chat might not replace that channel, but like any good partnership — one can help the other be more effective by giving choice to the candidate rather than a one size fits all approach.

Automating parts of your hiring experience will ultimately benefit not only the candidate but the way you have more impact where it matters.

In the end, everyone has a candidate experience — but we do have the power to decide whether it’s good, bad or ugly.


This blogpost is a repost from Chris Raw's Medium Blog.

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