Are you enjoying the candidate experience?

When we do a search for a client there are many details to consider.  We need to get to know the client well as well as understanding the role that we seek to fill.  One area that is just as important, if not more important, is the candidate experience.  I read an article this morning via LinkedIn that helped remind me of the value of the candidate experience.  I'll share a few thoughts and stories of how we manage and engage candidates in the process and even after the process.

Every search process is a problem solving activity.  At least I see it that way with my view, one that has been formed by many years of solving problems, first in the process and product quality area and now in the people area.  Talent Acquisition is about finding the right person for the role in question in a timely manner.  There is so much to this that I cannot go into in the course of this brief post, but the search process invariably allows us to engage and talk with a variety of people.  Some of the people we talk with are potential candidates, but many are not candidates for the role at hand.  Every person we talk with is important and valued and our interchange, discussion and follow up is important for helping to form the opinion of those we speak with.

At first glance you might think that the candidate experience only involves those that the client might consider for employment.  Upon further review, I think the candidate experience involves EVERY PERSON we talk with in a search process.  Every contact makes a difference and we need to be perceived as offering value as well as asking for assistance when we contact someone.

Here are a few of the essentials I always try to consider when making a contact in a search process:

  • How does this person aid our work on the given project?
  • What is the best way to try and make contact with them?
  • If we do not make contact initially, how should we follow up; in the same method or using a different method?
  • When we do make contact, how do we present the opportunity?
  • When presenting the opportunity, do we clarify how the person we are speaking with can help?
  • Do we take the time to listen to this person to see how they may or may not be a fit for the role at hand?
  • If they are a fit, how do we follow up?
  • If they are not a fit, how do we thank them for their time?
  • How do we keep in touch with those who were not the right fit for a former search, but might be a fit for a future need?
  • Of critical importance, how do we keep in touch with those we place into new roles within a firm?

This list is not everything, but it does cover a number of key areas that can make or break today's project as well as tomorrow's.  I cannot begin to tell you how many times a contact from one search became a candidate for another.  This continuum of contact, engagement and relationship building is essential for success in the search business and just about any other business I can think of.

One last thing I always try to do is to ask the person I have contacted how I can be of assistance to them.  I don't want to be perceived as just a "taker", but also want to be seen as a "giver", one who aids others regardless of the situation.

How do you view the candidate experience?  Do you feel valued or could the candidate experience have been improved for you?


Ryan Search & Consulting provides Talent Acquisition and Talent Development solutions in the Design, Construction, Manufacturing, Retail, C-Store, Healthcare and Economic Development markets.

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