We agree with Katrina Collier: Recruitment isn’t broken, per se. It needs a bit of work, sure, but in the midst of the Great Resignation, dedicated talent acquisition managers all over the world are doing some of their best work. They’re finding top talent and helping businesses succeed.
Despite this, we can say that candidate experience is certifiably broken. Ghosting rates are up somewhere around 450% since the start of the pandemic. 65% people say they rarely receive notice of their application status (Lever), and 60% of people say they have bailed on a job application due to its length or complexity.
Many mid-to-large sized companies spend in excess of $200,000 per year on sourcing and advertising (assuming a hiring rate of fifty people per year). Few invest in candidate experience. We tend to overlook the fact that the candidate journey from application to offer (or rejection) is just as important for the health of a recruitment funnel, over the long term, as good ads or recruitment strategies.
Good candidate experience, put simply, is your best chance at securing the talent you want. In the wake of the Great Reshuffle, employees have the power to choose when and where they work, and they know it. If you can’t reach them and woo them in a reasonable time frame, you’re at a supreme competitive disadvantage. They’re here today, gone tomorrow. That means that multi-round interview funnels and tedious psychometric games aren’t going to cut it anymore. Today’s candidate wants speed, perks, and flexibility. Your experience should be designed with this in mind.
There are a lot of ways candidate experience might be improved – this article offers some tips, including advice on a term we like to call the Gucci principle.
One easy place to start is with your job ads.
Good job ads are concise and well-formatted. They put employee value proposition up front. They discuss the vision and purpose of a role, and not just day-to-day responsibilities. They avoid the term ‘competitive salary’ – in fact, they disclose salary ranges. They’re not necessarily short, either. Anyone who tells you that a job ad must be short to be good does not understand the anatomy of an advertisement.
Here are our top tips.
This seems like a minor point, but good spelling, grammar, and sentence structure is essential for your employer brand. It’s a matter of perception. Poor writing casts doubt on the legitimacy of your brand, and on your capabilities in general – after all, if you can’t write a clean job ad, how can the candidate be sure you can do other, more important things, correctly?
Have someone in your marketing team cast their eye over your ad before it goes out. Proof-reading should always be a part of your customer outreach. If you don’t have a marketer on which to rely, consider investing in editing software like Grammarly.
Funky company names are in vogue. Just look at ours. Because we’re called Sapia, we refer to our team (and even our customers) as Sapians. Therefore, we do the same with our job ads. It creates branding consistency, and works as an unconscious primer, suggesting to candidates that they’re joining a well-knit, stable, and purpose-oriented team.
The same goes for language. If you’ve adopted or created certain words to make your brand stand out, they should also be used to make your job ad stand out. Look at this example from Gong: They tell the candidate that they’ll be creating edu-taining content. That’s a lot more interesting than “you’ll be writing content that is both educational and entertaining.” Had they chosen the latter sentence, you’d doubt their credibility, because that sentence is not remotely entertaining.
Or take this example from one of our own job ads. You might say that using a curse word (oh dear me!) in a job ad is inappropriate, but we don’t. We’re Sapians, and that makes us passionate humans. We understand that writing the way you speak is the quickest way to build rapport. Tell us that you don’t get that impression from this paragraph.
A job ad doesn’t need to be short, but it should be formatted for scanning. Candidates should be able to easily read it, extract the main points, and make the call to apply, all within minutes. We like the following job ad section structure:
Each section can be as long as you need it to be (within reason), but it should also be set out in dot points. Easier to read, easier to digest. Many are the job ads that set out position duties and benefits in great big walls of text. Go with dot points, like Gong has, and you’ll stand out.
Depending on the platform you use, it can be difficult to control how candidates enter your funnel. Regardless, you can make it easier by clearly sign-posting the action you expect them to take. If it’s a LinkedIn EasyApply button, great – but don’t confuse candidates by asking them, at the bottom of the ad, to email their CVs to you. This happens a lot.
Make sure you have a single call-to-action, and make it clear. Add it to the top and bottom of your ad.
You know what they say about first impressions? That’s why it’s so critical to get your job ads right. Check out this post on LinkedIn for more tips on writing the perfect job ad.
Remote work is not going away. The bonus of remote work becoming ‘a thing’ is it enables you to go further afield for talent. Broadening the candidate pool means you get even more diversity and can interview the world to find the best talent.
For fully remote businesses like Github, Automattic, with over 1000 remote workers spread across 75 countries, remote work is all about unleashing productivity.That comes from asynchronous work that needs asynchronous communication. Forcing people to do video meetings risks drowning out those team members who don’t thrive in a live group setting. The introverts. The deep quiet thinkers. The ones who prefer to reflect on an issue and not be forced into making a contribution because everyone else is on Zoom right now.
Make it the way you do things. The way you define a business problem, debate the key issues, and fast track from idea to execution.
Jeff Bezos cottoned on to this years ago. This new superpower, how you write, whether via text, Slack, Wiki or on Google docs also impacts your hiring processes. At what point do any of us test for written communication skills? If you want to hire people who can work autonomously, be productive and who can collaborate, you need to test their text communication.
What may not be known to many people, is that testing for all of this – written fluency, clarity of thought, can all be done via text analysis in the hiring process. Testing should not be just limited to the skill of writing, but also to the motivation behind expressing something in writing. This requires more effort and thinking than speaking it out. If someone is not motivated to express themselves in writing when a job is on the line, you can assume what it might be like once they are working in a role.
The power of Natural Language Processing (NLP) based machine learning models that can tell you all of this immediately is here today. From just 300 words, we can infer writing skills, personality traits and job-hopping motive. This really means there is no excuse for not hiring for the key skills required for remote work right now.
“Language is a mirror of mind in a deep and significant sense. It is a product of human intelligence. By studying the properties of natural languages, their structure, organisation, and use, we may hope to learn something about human nature; something significant, …” (Noam Chomsky, Reflections on Language, 1975)
You can try out Sapia’s FirstInterview right now, or click here to book a demo.
In other news:
Check out the best job advertising platform you have never heard of: Jooble. Jooble is represented in 71 countries and available in 24 languages.
Research shows that applicants who hold positive perceptions about selection are more likely to view the organisation favourably. They also report stronger intentions to accept job offers and recommend the employer to others.
Applicant perceptions are also positively correlated with actual and perceived performance on selection tools and with self‐perceptions.
We know candidate experience matters to recruitment, but it also impacts your bottom line. Your candidates are an extension of your consumer reach. Recruitment can make a measurable difference to your consumer growth especially for a big brand where your applicant pool may be almost as big as your consumer base.
The old way to test for traits at scale is to submit applicants to lengthy self-report personality questionnaires. In 2021, these traditional assessments are seen as outdated.
They are long, in some cases taking several hours to complete. This is mainly due to every single statement in the test contributing a single data point in measuring a facet and underlying trait. To get a reliable measure of a facet several similar statements are required. Many of which are not relevant to the role for which they are applying (‘I would rob a bank if I could get away with it’). These aspects quickly lead to boredom and frustration. Test-takers will often answer questions as quickly as possible, often without even reading the test items. They can also create anxiety amongst applicants as they over- analyse the answers. They invariably also give you little back for your efforts by way of learning. Overall, the candidate experience is underwhelming.
That matters today as a poor applicant experience has a direct impact on your recruitment brand and to the business bottom-line.
A LinkedIn survey found 27% of candidates who had a negative experience would “actively discourage” others from applying for a job with that company. 41% of applicants with a poor candidate experience ditch brand loyalty and avoid buying that company’s products.
So picking the right assessment to evaluate your graduate pool matters a lot to your business as well as to your future culture.
To discuss using text-based assessments in your organisation – click here
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You can try out Sapia’s FirstInterview right now, or leave us your details here to get a personalised demo.
Have you seen the our Candidate Experience Playbook?
If there was ever a time for our profession to show humanity for the thousands that are looking for work, that time is now. If there was ever a time for our profession to show humanity for the thousands that are looking for work, that time is now.
It should not be surprising then that language is also the basis of most traditional forms of personality testing.
This lexical hypothesis is a thesis, current primarily in early personality psychology. Subsequently subsumed by many later efforts in that subfield. Despite some variation in its definition and application, the hypothesis is generally defined by two postulates.
Lexical hypothesis is a major foundation of the Big Five personality traits. The HEXACO model of personality structure and the 16PF Questionnaire and has been used to study the structure of personality traits in a number of cultural and linguistic settings.
Noam Chomsky summed up the power of language nicely:
“Language is a mirror of mind in a deep and significant sense. It is a product of human intelligence … By studying the properties of natural languages, their structure, organization, and use, we may hope to learn something about human nature; something significant …”
Where chatbots can be programmed to provide answers to basic questions real-time, so that your people don’t need to do that, these answers are canned answers to basic questions delivered through text. They lack the smarts to truly discover what your text responses say about you. The engagement between the chatbot and the individual is purely transactional.
Conversational AI is more about a relationship built through understanding, using natural language to make human-to-machine conversations more like human-to-human ones. It offers a more sophisticated and more personalized solution to engage candidates through multiple forms of communication. Ultimately, this kind of artificial intelligence gets smarter through use and connects people in a more meaningful way.
Put simple, Conversational Ai is intelligent and hyper-personalised Ai, and in the case of ‘Sapia labs’, its is underpinned by provable and explainable science. We have already published our peer-reviewed scientific research which underpins our personality science.
The scientific paper may not make it to your reading table, although you can download it here (“Predicting job-hopping likelihood using answers to open-ended interview questions” ) but the business implications cannot be ignored.
According to one report, voluntary turnover is estimated to cost U.S. companies more than $600 billion a year. This is due to one in four employees projected to quit and to take a different job. If your turnover is even a few basis points above your industry average, then leveraging conversational Ai will save your business costs.
Our research used the free-text responses from 45,899 candidates who had used Sapia’s conversational Ai. Candidates had originally been asked five to seven open-ended questions on past experience and situations. They also responded to self-rating questions based on the job-hopping motive scale, a validated set of rating questions to measure one’s job-hopping motive. The self-rating questions were based on the job-hopping motive scale, a validated set of rating questions to measure one’s job-hopping motive.
We found a statistically significant positive correlation between text based answers and self-rated job-hopping motive scale measure. The language inferred job-hopping likelihood score had correlations with other attributes such as the personality trait “openness to experience”.
Ai, that is the bridge between HR and the business. It is this kind of quantifiable business ROI that distinguishes traditional testing with Ai models.
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Finally, you can try out Sapia’s SmartInterviewer right now, or leave us your details here to get a personalised demo.