Written by Nathan Hewitt

How to make 1.2m rejected candidates still love your brand

This year, we have helped more than 60,000 people get a job. From retail assistants, graduates entering the workforce for the first time, sales professionals, team leaders and cabin crew, to name just a few. We have supported recruiters across various industries and roles to find the right people to join their organisations.

Yet, for every successful candidate we helped, there were 21 unsuccessful ones. Recruiters do a lot more rejecting than hiring, which begs the question of how good the typical recruitment function is at dealing with unsuccessful candidates. And what the consequences are of not getting it right?

Anecdotally, there are plenty of stories of candidates getting ghosted, dragged through onerous processes, subjected to poorly conducted interviews, or participating in questionable assessment practices. Many of us have experienced lousy recruitment firsthand, or someone close to us has, but when we look at the data it gives credence to these anecdotal experiences.

Starred, a candidate experience benchmarking firm, use Candidate Net Promoter Score (cNPS)* to measure the quality of the candidate experience across several touch points during the recruitment process. Not surprisingly, the cNPS for rejected candidates is -15, meaning that rejected candidates have formed a significant negative view of the company and will likely  detract friends and family from applying with the organisation.

Social media amplifies the consequences of providing a negative experience. A separate study by the Talent Board across 240 companies and 183,000 candidates found that disgruntled candidates will broadcast their negative experience 34% of the time.

Disgruntled candidates impact the brand reputation and the bottom line. Virgin Media recently quantified the cost of poor candidate experience, estimating that across 123,000 rejected candidates every year, if 6% cancel their monthly subscription, then about US$5.4 million in revenue is lost. 

When a recruitment provides a poor experience, they are creating customers for competitors. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Candidates with a positive experience can be one of the most potent tools in building a positive brand and presence in the marketplace.  According to Talent Board, 64% of candidates with a positive experience will expand their relationship with the brand, even if they didn’t get the job. 

What are the hallmarks of a process that consistently delivers a great candidate experience? 

Communication is right up there. Timely and accurate communication with candidates every step of the way. When we look at the feedback candidates provide us, a major theme around the importance of communication emerges. Not surprisingly, candidates appreciate NOT being ghosted. And they also appreciate being given honest and constructive feedback immediately following their interview.

Sapia and it’s blind smart interview

Also important is convenience. Sapia’s chat-based interview format allows candidates to conduct the interview at a time and place where they feel they can be at their best. It is fast, easy and safe.

And finally, candidates need to trust that the process is giving them a fair go. In a recent experiment conducted by Monash University, using Sapia’s chat-based interview platform, female candidates were more likely to continue with the application process when told that the interview will be with AI rather than a human. Using an AI process, such as what Sapia provides, offers a unique opportunity to put the candidate at the centre. And it not only results in better experiences for candidates. Recruiters also benefit by spending less time on administrative tasks and more time building relationships with candidates.

So while we helped more than 60,000 people get a job and are proud of contributing in that way, we are equally as proud of the fact that for the 1.2 million candidates that didn’t get the job, we were able to provide a positive experience for more than 60% of them. This translates into a cNPS of 58, well above the -15 cNPS reported by Starred for unsuccessful candidates.

And we did that by giving everybody an equal opportunity to be at their best during the recruitment process, providing everybody with useful insights straight after their interview, and freeing up recruiters to spend more time with candidates.

*cNPS is the % of advocates less the % of detractors. A positive value indicates more advocates than detractors.


How you can get 9/10 candidate satisfaction from a video interview

Competition for candidates today is fierce. COVID, border closures, BREXIT, the last two years have created a global candidate shortage that’s hitting large organisations hard. 

That’s why in today’s market, candidate experience is king. The consistent theme in all of my conversations with CHROs globally is how to improve candidate experience and get an edge on the competition.

However, the bottom line is ever present, especially in industries that are now in recovery mode. How can recruitment teams and hiring managers be expected to deliver a world-class, personalised and interactive candidate experience when they’re already stretched too thin?

The answer lies in human-centred technology with an experience that makes candidates feel valued and heard, while automating the components of the process that suck time out of your team’s day and extend the time to offer, losing candidates in the process.

Why Australia’s largest private employer turned to automation 

With close to 1 million candidates annually, and a video interview experience that was sub-par for candidates and frustrating for hiring managers, Woolworths needed to drastically re-imagine their recruitment experience, making it more efficient and engaging.

How Sapia re-invigorated and streamlined Woolworth’s recruitment process

With a completely automated interview process, every retail candidate is interviewed by Smart Interviewer with Sapia’s Chat Interview chat. The automatically shortlisted candidates progress directly to VideoInterview – a chat based video interview that is reviewed by hiring managers who can then move straight to offer. It’s a seamless process that’s designed to be fair and human-centred. 

The results are simply fantastic 

Candidate satisfaction has blown the team away – 9.2/10 for FirstInterview and an unprecedented 9.0/10 for VideoInterview. Yes, you read that right – 9/10 for a video interview, from almost 9,000 candidates. 

Completion rates for the video interview are above 75%, showing that candidates are happy to engage with a video interview that’s mobile-friendly, interactive and frankly, just works. Almost 50% of candidates complete both interviews on their mobile, making it easy for candidates to interview literally anytime, anywhere. 

Here’s what Woolworths candidates had to say about their VideoInterview experience: 

“The chat makes you feel like you’re in a safe space – it gives everyone an equal opportunity instead of in person interview as people can get extremely nervous”

“I found the process to be reflective and I liked how they wanted to know about me”

“everything was amazing! by far the best interview system i’ve encountered!  it allowed me be comfortable and be myself, it really allowed me to take my time with my responses rather than stutter over my words”

“It was great. I like the potential to retake videos and how quick you’ve responded. ”

“I felt really calm during this interview. Which I definitely would not be in physical interviews. I was able to really sort out my thoughts and express myself to the fullest.  I really love this format of interviewing !”

Automating the end to end experience has given time back to extremely time-poor hiring managers, who no longer need to manage shortlisting or scheduling and can simply review the video responses of the top candidates as they come in. Smart Interviewer has video interviewed almost 9,000 candidates, 

In some cases, candidates have moved from ad to offer in 24 hours – giving Woolworths an edge as they can move quickly to capture candidates who otherwise might have accepted offers elsewhere. 

If you’d like to have a candidate experience as good as Woolworths, get in touch here for a product demo

Read Online

Five steps you can take to build better DEI outcomes with data

To create an organisation that hires and promotes everyone equitably, and has a diverse representation of people, you must confront uncomfortable truths – and have the confidence to employ compassionate solutions. The path to meaningful change cannot be done without data. Data allow us to clearly diagnose issues in a company, and also, just as importantly, to measure what is working. Without data-backed accountability,  it’s unlikely that much will change.

The good news is that, these days, most organisations believe that diverse teams are beneficial to business outcomes, innovation, customer loyalty and employee trust. The better your team represents its customers, the fewer blind spots you’ll have when it comes to meeting customer needs. 

The biggest challenge is not often not around intention, but rather diagnosing what is happening inside an organisation. The reasons contributing to bias are often numerous and complex, like company history, systemic racism and sexism, leaving decisions to ‘gut feelings’, and well-intentioned directives to hire based on “culture fit” that only result in more homogenous teams. 

This is where data are so powerful. 

Data help us look at the facts objectively, and while we might “feel” we hire fairly, it is impossible for a human to hire without bias. Data allow organisations to have an honest look at where they are falling short, assess how specific groups are not being treated equally, and address these issues before churn becomes an issue.

Here are five things you need to be doing to help data drive better Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in your organisation.

1. Identify what data you need

In order to measure and track your progress on DEI you need to look at what current data you have and identify any data gaps. This is more than just identifying the demographics of who you have historically hired. For example, of the women you hired recently, do you know what percentage were represented in applying for a job versus landing a job? If 70% of people applying for the job are women, and 30% are only getting jobs, you need to identify where in the funnel there is a drop-off. 

Note: There are sensitivities and legalities to collecting data around demographics and there are differing laws within countries about how you can do this. 

Sapia’s reporting dashboard DiscoverInsights (Di) takes that worry away and gives you all the real-time metrics needed, and can instantly fill any data gaps you have. Candidates are never asked a personal or intrusive question and this data is not used in vetting candidates (keeping it blind and equatable.)

2. Track leading indicators on inclusion

When hiring managers complain that they only had men applying for a role, or that there wasn’t any representation of Indigenous peoples, or that no one under 40 applied, they are talking about lagging indicators on inclusion. These point to issues in a hiring process that is not inclusive. Leading indicators might be a real-time analysis of the demographics of applicants so that hiring managers can change their approach quickly. 

DiscoverInsights (Di) also reduces the the risk of lag indicators on DEI, by giving you real-time lead indicators so you can instantly assess the inclusiveness of your approach to hiring. 

3. Having one single source of truth on DEI

The data and platform you are using to track metrics and assess your progress needs to be agreed on from the outset, and should become your single source of truth. This is an important part of keeping everyone accountable (improving DEI is the responsibility of everyone in a company.) This should be a platform that cannot be used to present a desired outcome, but rather it should aim to be a robust fact-driven dataset that shines a light on issues. Identifying problems is the only way an organisation can address them. 

4. Be transparent about your DEI results

Building trust among your employees on issues around DEI is foundational to the success of your initiatives. Be transparent about your findings, even if they feel uncomfortable. Part of what makes successful DEI measures is the leadership shown by the C-suite in acknowledging faults, identifying how they will be addressed, and making themselves accountable to employees on delivering these changes.

5. Keep iterating on your DEI strategy

This is being accountable. Measure where you are at on DEI, learn from it, and set on improving on where you are. Then do it again. This is where the power of data really lies: By trying initiatives and testing what is working, and then measuring the outcomes, you can iterate quickly when no headway is being made. This takes all the guesswork out of whether there is improvement or not.

We have helped scores of the world’s biggest and best companies implement, track, and achieve their DEI goals. To find out more, check out our guide on data, equity and inclusion.

Read Online

Graduate recruitment during COVID-19 – what’s different?

Article 1 of 2 |

Recruitment is still fundamentally human activity

The job seeker is a human being who at some point in the process wants to talk to another human being.

B.C (before COVID-19), organisations would create those moments of connection with prospective hires through campus events, case study workshops, group assessment days and invitations to office events.

COVID-19 and forced incubation make some of this impossible and even illegal.

Organisations who have been forced to bench thousands of employees face the same challenge. Staying connected to, caring for and protecting this ‘people asset’ they have built and invested so much in.

The only experience organisations have with protecting an asset on extended leave is when new parents take parental leave and for most organisations that comes down to letting them keep their computer equipment and inviting them to the Xmas party.

Countries in the southern hemisphere are bang in the middle of graduate onboarding, and graduate recruitment and those in the northern hemisphere are about to kick off their programs.

Graduates are a critical part of your talent pipeline. 

They bring new ideas and new skills, and above all, ambition to make a difference. They are also often the most cost-effective cohort as far as output vs salary and related costs.

Some questions to consider right now

  1. If you are mid-way through your graduate recruitment campaign, how do you complete the process remotely, and still maintain a high integrity and fair process for the applicants?
  2. If you haven’t yet started, what has to change as a result of COVID-19?
  3. Your latest graduate intake just started, how do you efficiently steer them through this and stay close to those who need more support?

Have you been following the HR practices of tech companies over the last decade? If you have, you will notice that expectations of employees and candidates have shifted big time. The Netflix culture deck personifies much of it with concepts such as ‘Trust people, not policy’ or ‘Trust + transparency = accountability’.

Trust at work means your team will work all night to meet a deadline. They will be generous sponsors and ambassadors for your organisation and your products, they will refer their friends to work with you. Additionally, they will accept change in your business more readily. Your team will admit and bounce back from mistakes and failures more readily, and overall their discretionary effort will be substantial.

Trust in the workplace is a massive accelerator, and most organisations are trying to find ways to accelerate – to build product faster, ship faster, change business models faster.

Woebegone companies that believe they can keep attracting talent especially young talent with a purpose of ‘improving Shareholder returns’.   Today, we look for aspirational purposes that connect us to something bigger and with which we want to identify. Check out the motto mission statements of the tech giants here and to be the 11th million (or thereabouts)  person to download the Netflix deck click here!

Click here to get 5 Tips To Maximise Trust In Grad Recruiting During COVID-19


Read Online