Get your HR Tech house in order
In this era of cloud-based software, it has never been easier to trial new tools in the talent acquisition process. On the other hand, this has also made it easier to "switch rather than fix", with many HR tools lacking the love needed to deliver a candidate experience to be proud of.
Many industries are experiencing a slowdown in recruitment activity right now and so what better time to do some spring (rather, autumn) cleaning of your technology experience?
A great way to kick off this process is by mapping your candidate journey; that is, drawing or listing every step your candidate goes through from initial awareness of an opportunity to fully-fledged, high performer in your organisation. Once you've done this, try mapping the journey for an unsuccessful candidate; it's just as important that this experience is considered too.
Here's a simple example I put together to demonstrate how this could look. I've used the envelope icon to show where an interaction has an email attached. You could also consider breaking this down into the systems that each step takes place within, whatever you find easiest to summarise with.
Now we have a road map of the candidate journey, let's start at the very beginning...
Awareness and Interest
Unless coming via a job board, your careers website is most likely the first branded experience candidates will have with your organization. This step can have personality and character, or it can simply take the place of a classifieds section – I'd definitely recommend the former.
Does your website sell the culture, employee experience and perks of your organisation?
Do you have job search notifications or a mailing list for candidates to keep up to date with new opportunities?
Do you have a talent pool for candidates to express an interest?
Even this basic content can go a long way in building brand interest, especially when you a prospective candidate visits your site and does not see any suitable roles. Having job alerts or an "evergreen" role that candidates can apply to will allow you to capture the candidate's interest and build a connection with them. It will also allow you to have a conversation about future opportunities that will be available. Without a call to action at this stage, you may miss out on some great candidates who self-disqualify when they don't find a perfect role fit.
Application and Selection
From a tech perspective, traditionally, this is where we spend the bulk of our build and configuration time. The Applicant Tracking System (ATS) can be anything from a super-charged relationship management system to a glorified spreadsheet. Depending on how configurable your system is, it's worth reviewing each of your recruitment steps and the activities or communications that go with it.
Do you send a 'thank you' email to each candidate who applies for a role, setting expectations for the recruitment process?
Do your candidate emails support and build awareness of your brand throughout the recruitment process?
Do you survey both successful and unsuccessful candidates on their recruitment experience?
Platform overload can be an issue if you use a large number of third-party products in addition to your ATS. In this case, clear and concise communications are key. This is where your candidate journey map can be useful, tracking each of these emails at the relevant stage and making sure they keep a consistent tone.
Nobody wants to spend weeks finding that special hire only to lose them before day 30, while the hiring manager is on holiday in The Bahamas. It's crucial that the onboarding process gets your new employees up to speed and connected with the right people and tools to do their job.
Do your new starters "hit the ground running"?
Do you seek regular feedback from your new starters during their first weeks of employment?
Is your onboarding experience consistent across the organisation?
Equally as important is the ability of the organisation to recognise and correct itself when something has gone wrong. The right technology can help you to manage this process effectively, keeping your candidate, HR and hiring managers supported and informed throughout and reminding them to check in regularly with each other. A solid onboarding program enabled with the right technology can be the difference between a high performer and an empty seat.
Reporting can be a chicken and egg conversation. I've seen clients start with clear reporting requirements which end up overcomplicating the job creation stage for their managers. On the other hand, I've seen clients leave their reporting needs until the very end, then suddenly realise they need to make significant system or process changes to get the data they require. My advice here is to be clear on what you need and be open on where you can compromise.
Do you have KPI reports for things like time-to-fill, cost per hire or quality of hire?
Do you know which sourcing channels are giving you the most effective hires?
Do your managers have the visibility they need through either the in-system dashboards or scheduled reports?
Be clear on your "must-haves", whether it is executive reporting or team operational management make sure that the data you collect helps you to track activity in line with your strategic objectives. It's also important to be open to what else is out there. Seek out what is best practice when it comes to data and reporting, and check out those systems that offer suites of pre-configured metrics - these can often be similar or more useful and save you valuable build time.
When it comes to pre-configured reports, some systems are better than others. While some ATS platforms have this content built-in, others may charge for custom-built reports and the costs stack up over time. Have someone on your team brush up on their Excel skills and get creative, you can easily tweak and combine standard reports to get the information you need.
Remember, if you can't report on it, you can't improve it.
So what’s next?
At the end of your technology review, you may have a large list of items to address. Avoid analysis paralysis and focus on a few key areas where you can have some quick wins. If you have a team around you, see if you can allocate different components of the candidate experience to smaller groups within the team; for example you could have two or three people review email wording while another team create feedback surveys. Dividing the work into smaller chunks will help keep the team focused, and will allow you to progress through the list delivering incremental value.
If you work in an industry that is currently facing higher recruitment volumes than usual, remember your technology is there help you. There are plenty of automation tools out there that can be implemented quickly to reduce the burden of increased applications and the associated administration. For example, chatbot functionality on your careers site can help direct candidates to the most appropriate roles or provide answers to frequently asked questions, while automated screening tools can quickly identify candidates who meet the necessary requirements and pass them through to your recruitment team to prioritise.
Any improvements you can make to your candidate experience will be of benefit to your organisation. You may even discover some opportunities for simplification and innovation along the way.