Candidate Experience

Why You Need to Humanize the Technology Across Your Candidate Experience

Jul 23, 2021 - Valery Caputi Lopez

Tools that help you automate and streamline talent acquisition processes are critical for any organization and can help you speed up the hiring process by creating predictable, repeatable processes, in addition to many other benefits. In short, technology and automation can be used to immensely improve the overall candidate experience. But it’s also important to keep candidate experience at the forefront as you build your TA tech stack and to ask yourself at every step of the process — how is this helping us improve our ability to connect with candidates and humanize our brand?

Let a people-centric ethos lead the way you implement technology and automation, so that every interaction with a candidate leaves them feeling good about your organization —, even when those interactions are highly automated. Here are some important places to examine and make sure the way you’re using these tools is keeping a positive candidate experience at the forefront.

1. Customize Your Messaging to Showcase the Heart and Soul of Your Organization

Many online tools come with standard messaging built in. While efficient, this messaging is oftentimes impersonal by design because it’s made to work for as many users as possible. Make sure to take the time to customize, regularly review, and update any automated messaging within your candidate experience to make sure it resonates with your audience and uses language that accurately reflects your employer brand.

Take it a step further and find fun or innovative ways to have these automated messages tell your story, either via text, video, or informative links to other prime company content. Even a confirmation email can give candidates a glimpse into who you are as an employer and what your company culture is — insights that can serve them well in subsequent face-to-face interview rounds. So don’t take for granted any opportunity you have to engage with your candidates and instead treat every part of your messaging as integral parts of your holistic candidate journey.

2. Check Your Automations for Experiential Weak Spots

Job candidates are excited, nervous, and hopeful as they wait to hear from you. While it's a good practice to put in place processes and checks for every role so that candidates know their application has been received and in which state of the overall process it’s in, there may be a disconnect between the tone of this messaging and applicants' expectations, leaving them wanting more.

The trick is to look at these messages as opportunities to not just functionally communicate the status of a role, but to invite candidates to engage with you in other ways, such as by joining your talent community, attending career advice and hiring events, exploring other roles, and even connecting and networking with your team. Find ways to turn what could be a disappointing notification (i.e. “you didn’t get the job”) into a silver lining that leaves candidates with a positive impression of your brand overall so that they’ll be willing to engage with you again in the future.

3. Re-Evaluate Your Application Process to Capture More Candidate Interest

From a candidate’s perspective, how long does it take them to actually complete a single application? Are you asking for a resume, and then asking people to spend hours re-typing that same info into fields? Do you offer other ways to connect with everyone who has interest in your organization, such as by inviting them to join your talent community or subscribing to a newsletter with information on events and new job openings? It’s important to think about these questions and take some time to go through your current application process in order to help reorient it to a more people-centric approach.

One of the best ways to accomplish this is simply to ask. Use candidate feedback via surveys or interviews to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the different parts of your application process. Then use those learnings to regularly address problem areas and optimize your application process based on the results.

4. Don’t let the ATS Call All the Shots

An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is only as good as its programming, so it’s up to you to make sure that it’s calibrated correctly to pull in, screen, and sort candidates correctly for the variety of open roles your organization advertises.

Periodically have your TA team personally audit applications that didn’t make the first cut as a way to check if it’s working the way it should. If you find that a significant number of high-quality candidates are falling through the cracks (or the opposite problem, in which too many unqualified candidates are making it through to later rounds), that’s your sign that something needs to change in order to achieve the right screening criteria for your organization. Take the time to pinpoint automations that may be at fault and modify them with a human touch so they better match the actions a real-life recruiter would take when evaluating candidates.

5. Use Video to Give Candidates an Insider’s Look

Leveraging video across the candidate experience is a great way to humanize your brand and create more personalized connections with candidates. Create videos of your employees or people on the hiring team in which they share their experiences working with the company so you can post these videos on your career website, or even link to them in follow up and automated emails. It will give candidates great insight into the company culture and what it’s like to work there, as well as help them get to know employees who they’ll potentially be talking to (or working with!) later.

With the right tools, you can even use video earlier on in the recruiting process to conduct more efficient candidate interviews. Virtual hiring events is one of these, offering great ways to create a better candidate experience at every stage of the hiring process. This technology can help facilitate and schedule multiple shorter form, 5-10 minute screening calls via video chat, which in turn helps scale your ability to connect individually with a higher number of candidates within a shorter time frame. These conversations could also be recorded for easy sharing across the hiring team during decision rounds, resulting in even more time and cost savings.

6. Distinguish Between AI and People

Chatbots are becoming smarter and more nuanced in their interactions every day thanks to new AI developments. While their functions vary, in general they’re meant to speed up processes and connect people with the information or resources they need to make decisions or take important actions. But no matter how advanced your chatbot is, it’s important that it doesn’t try to impersonate a real-life person. That could potentially pave the way for a bad candidate experience, particularly when applicants thought they were interacting with another human the whole time. “A resounding 75 percent of people want to know when they are talking to a chatbot. Nearly half of them find it disturbing when a chatbot pretends to be human,” according to an article from Venture Beat.

So make sure your chatbots or virtual assistants introduce themselves as such at the start of a conversation, and that they show their value by quickly and efficiently getting candidates where they need to be to move along the application process. And when possible, use chatbots to connect candidates with live representatives on your team.

7. Don’t Forget to Give Feedback

Many companies think that giving all their applicants personalized interview feedback after every application isn’t necessary, particularly for the ones who didn’t make the first or second cuts. Even now, it’s very common for interviewers to give candidates the silent treatment at the end of a lengthy hiring process or (worse yet) send everyone a generic email stating that “due to the high volume of interest in this position, we are unable to respond to every submission.”

But no matter how many applicants you get during your recruitment process, you should never leave candidates feeling like they’ve fallen into a resume black hole. The golden rule is that if you took the time to interview someone, then you should also take the time to provide them with a personalized message, and technology is a great way to help you do this. Have this be a regular part of your process and use automation tools with checklists and reminders to make sure everyone on the hiring team is uniformly following through with these measures. Implement automated workflows that promptly communicate the status of applications to applicants proactively and tactfully. Every message is an opportunity to get your message across to potential candidates, so always be sure to give them something in exchange for their time, be it a quick “thank you” message, a general application video, or an open invitation to connect for future roles.

8. Test Your Entire Candidate Experience Across Your Tech Stack

What exactly do job seekers experience across every piece of hiring technology your recruiting team uses, both individually and as a whole? As your use of technology expands and processes or procedures change, it’s important to regularly ask yourself this question as well as to find ways to measure your candidate experience throughout. Or if in doubt, take it for a test run yourself! Put yourselves in your candidates’ shoes and find out if the software solutions in your tech stack are working in sync to provide applicants with the optimal candidate experience—or what changes need to be made to get them there.

At the end of the day, it’s critical to be mindful of candidate experience when relying on technology to help you do your job. When approached with a people-centric view, automation and technology can absolutely help you create a better experience not just for your TA team, but also for your job candidates. Just keep your eyes open for synergies and don’t lose sight of the reason these tools are there in the first place: to help you make better connections with all the people who want to engage with your organization.

Like this post? Try these!

    Stay in the Loop. Join 10,000+ Talent Acquisition Leaders