Growth hacking through candidate engagement

Growth hacking, a buzz word today, is nothing but using set of both conventional and unconventional experiments that lead to growth of a business. How can any business grow without taking into consideration the people who would actually drive the growth? With competitions like Great Place to Work / Best Places to Work making rounds to create Employer Brand and attract cream of talent, there is a lot of focus on Employee engagement. But there is something important that comes much before employee engagement and that is candidate engagement. Are we engaging candidates who turn into employee?

Dissecting NAM Talent Board Candidate Experience Report 2015

The Talent Board Team made available the 2015 Candidate Experience Competition Report early last year and its learning in detail. Consistently ranked top 1 percentile in our client and consultant satisfaction surveys, Candidate Experience has been a core focus area for Team Aditi Consulting. I delved into the report and wanted to Blinkist it for a lot of you who might not have time to go through the whole document.

Any organization’s success depends on its people. Attracting, hiring and keeping them engaged are key to take the competitive advantage.

10 key Take Aways from NAM Talent Board Candidate Experience 2015 Report

  1. Most Employers Are Not Making a First Impression with Candidates
    Here are some action items to create that first impression:

    • Make sure the job description clearly defines what exactly is expected out of the new hire for a specific position. Creating Video JD’s is the new trend to create the impact.
    • Use technology to automate the hiring and onboarding process smooth for candidates.
    • Make sure hiring managers understand the importance of interview stage to create a good candidate experience. Hiring manager should be well prepared, should be right on schedule respecting candidates time, need to be company’s ambassador.
    • Keep a candidate updated with application status, and offer feedback.
  2. Candidates Are Becoming More Sophisticated

    76 percent of candidates conduct their own research across multiple channels prior to applying. This is not a secret any more. Today’s buyer is more informed, thanks to user reviews, various third party point systems etc., all available online. We live in review economy and it is every HR and Marketing department’s combined responsibility to maintain company’s online reputation intact. Before even candidates applies to an advertised job, they review employer review websites like Glassdoor to check company’s culture, salaries etc. Things to be taken care of:

    • Glassdoor reviews
    • Presentation of jobs on corporate website’s career section
    • Every employee’s LinkedIn profiles etc.

    Its all out there for a candidate to make an opinion about company before they take up an offer.

  3. Job Boards are Not Dead. Though Job Boards are still out there, investment on other sourcing tools has increased.
    • This clearly shows that passive sourcing is on rise and platforms like LinkedIn / Stackoverflow / Github etc. are becoming mainstream.
    • While industry has moved quite ahead here, most of the employers are yet to take off.
  4. Mobile Application is Still Lagging. Use of mobile is increasing and though Job Seekers are not using it extensively for job search and application process, it is imperative that every business go the mobile way, as it’s the future.
    • Check your Google analytics report. Do a thorough data analysis of how many visitors on your corporate website are coming from Mobile platforms (including tablets).
    • Check if the website is fully responsive.
    • Make sure your ATS is well integrated with the website to list the jobs per the search, JD’s content and format is presentable no matter whether candidate is using a desktop, a laptop or a mobile phone.
  5. Communication with Candidates is Very Weak. Although most companies send an immediate “thank you”, nearly half of candidates never received an indication of the status of the application, or information about why gender, race and ethnicity questions were asked or the option to save their application for a later date.
    • Companies, by and large, don’t have this as process to keep the candidates informed about the status of the application.
    • Creating a candidate portal integrated with ATS should solve this where most of it can be automated. Having said that there should be a dedicated team responsible to make human touch available in the communication process. Because not every case is similar for machines to handle and we have a long way to go till artificial intelligence get our systems there to be able to handle thousands of scenarios.
  6. Employers Do Not Offer Enough Opportunities for Candidates to showcase Skills, Knowledge and Experience. While over 80 percent of candidates answer general screening questions during the application process, only 50 percent are asked for job specific skills and less than one-third are asked to take assessments.  Purpose of pre-employment screening tests is to find the candidates who most likely would succeed in the role they are getting hired for and to curtain out those who are unqualified. Pre-employment tests can include:
    • cognitive abilities,
    • knowledge about job related skills,
    • physical abilities / medical (drug) tests
    • emotional intelligence
    • language proficiency
    • and even integrity to check the culture fit

    If managed suitably, pre-employment testing can help organizations save time and cost in the selection process, reduce turnover, help improve productivity and morale. Companies should make sure that these tests are not only valid (for specific technological roles as skill requirements keep changing with the changes in the technology itself) and are reliable (if you are using a third party tool) but also on-par with equal employment opportunity laws.

  7. Employers Are Letting More Candidates through the Funnel. Whether or not a candidate is clearing the assessment, employers are letting them pass. Mostly to keep the pipeline ready for future requirements.Its strategic to the hiring team to fight the candidate crunch for niche skills. Creating a candidate database and keeping it updated is the key. To add to this, consistent communication to keep the candidates warm is a pro-active approach.Marketing departments need to understand the candidate types per the skill sets company hires for, where to find these candidates and what kind of content they prefer. According to the report, candidates selected up to 5 types of research channels they found most valuable when researching career opportunities with a company.Candidates selected up to 5 types of research channels they found most valuable when researching career opportunities with a company
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  8. Employers are Making Interviewing More Efficient: Employers are conducting less interviews per candidate as 79 percent of companies now have 1-2 interviews related to a position- an increase from 63 percent in 2014. True that! Per my experience, candidates don’t want to go through a long interview / screening process. Use of technology also is to reduce the time and shorten the process.
  9. Last two takeaways are related to on-boarding process:

  10. Employers are Automating the On-boarding Stages: Employers are leveraging onboarding solutions particularly for forms management. Over 60 percent of companies are leveraging online forms.
  11. On-boarding is Still a Missed Opportunity for the Candidate Experience. Once a candidate is onboard, organizations have an opportunity to find out what went right and what went wrong. Yet, only 16 percent of employers ask for feedback during the on-boarding phase.
      Here are some quick tips on creating smooth on-boarding process:

    • Prepare them even before the first day – Create an agenda for their first day through first week and communicate well in advance.
    • First day experience goes a long way. This is the time HR and the teams can get creative to give a warm welcome to a new hire. Prepare a welcome kit, get the workstation ready, get one current employee be a buddy for the new hire to go around office and introduce rest of the team members, etc…
    • Create a 30-60-90 days program for the new hire with a proper feedback system in place. This includes orientation program, training sessions, etc.
  12. Here are 6 Checklists to Perfect your New Employee On-boarding Process by


    Apart from making candidate experience a priority, HR Teams should not shy away from on-ground employee engagement activities. Only when your employees are happy, word-of-mouth goes out and keeps company’s employer brand to be their top-of-mind and top-of-heart choice.

    Some areas to work on:

    • Clear Communication – about the policies, culture, values, company’s mission and vision
    • Individual needs – making every resource available for employees to perform the job they are expected to do
    • Manager effectiveness – Not all managers are leaders. Creating future leaders from the team they are handling apart from taking care of the deliverables should be part of every manager’s KRA
    • Team Dynamics – No project will be successful if there isn’t a team work behind it. Organization should invest in training programs (peer-to-peer learning sessions / outbound team activities etc) to enhance trust and co-ordination among team members.
    • Trust in Leadership – Top management needs to create a culture of trust and transparency, keeping in touch with the teams by organizing quarterly if not monthly staff-update sessions.

    As mentioned in my earlier article (Social Influence Analysis of Top Staffing and Recruitment Firms), for any business to be successful today, it needs to start focusing on improving Employee Value Proposition (EVP). It is important for overall HR Strategy, that business owners can’t afford to ignore, to attain the short and long term goals.

    Here is the 2015 TALENT BOARD CANDIDATE EXPERIENCE RESEARCH REPORT for your reference.

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