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3 HR leaders share their astonishing, hilarious, and successful candidate experience stories—an EMBARC recap [Video]

“Candidate experience . . . the one factor that really attracts talent”

We’re just two months away from the first virtual event in a series of EMBARC® Talent Talks coming up in October! If you haven’t heard of EMBARC, listen up: this two-day extravaganza of HR expertise (and, let’s face, magnetic guest speakers) breaks down everything from candidate experience, the challenges of hiring, employer branding, and so much more. Just check out the signup page to find out more.

To give you a taste of the EMBARC experience, we’ve recapped one of our previous stellar panels about candidate experience from 2019 that featured Wendy Dailey of Sanford Health, Bryan Adams of Ph.Creative, Charlotte Marshall of Danaher, and CareerArc’s very own Deb Messinger as moderator and hostess extraordinaire.

How Virgin learned that each candidate experience can also be a customer experience

How many customers of your brand apply as candidates, only to have their dream company turn them down? When Bryan Adams of Ph.Creative was hired by Virgin to take a look at their recruiting process, he was astonished to note that Virgin was, “Getting 120,000 applications. 18% of them were customers and 6% of those were so turned down by the candidate experience they were going home and canceling their consumer contract.”

Shocking, yes? The good news is that it’s not that hard to turn a negative candidate experience into a positive one. By treating people with respect and empathy, even a rejection can turn into positive word of mouth when a candidate turns back into a consumer.

Danaher makes people feel like people at each stage

Part of creating a positive candidate experience is to treat people like people at each stage of the hiring process. Charlotte Marshall at Danaher related a story about a hiring manager at Dell who was, “Late, a bit dismissive, probably hadn’t reviewed the [candidate] resume in advance and the candidate left with a less than stellar perception of what it would be like to work at Dell in particular for this manager. He was offered the job and he declined it based on his experience.”

Surely the story ends there, right? Uh, no. As Charlotte explained, “You wouldn’t think that that would have a huge impact on Dell’s revenue. However, the candidate went on to get a job at another company a couple months later. He was in charge as a procurement officer of procuring millions of dollars worth of computer equipment—and guess who he didn’t award the work to!”


Sometimes the right candidates are in the wrong jobs

Not all candidate experiences are external. As Wendy Dailey at Sanford Health discovered, “Your internal candidate experience is also really important. Sometimes you bring in a good person and they’re a good match for your company, but maybe they get into the wrong department. Maybe they get in with the wrong hiring manager.”

Instead of firing candidates outright, Wendy recommended a more nuanced approach. “We have our employee relations team talk with the hiring manager and talk about ‘what are the issues? What’s really going on and [is the candidate] really a bad fit for Sanford or are they a bad fit for you as a department?’ The employee relations person then brings them to our TA team and we try to help them find a position. We do this with even displaced employees who maybe were shutting down at a department or something. We work with them, we help them, we talk with them about what they are interested in.”

As a result, Wendy’s team was able to transplant misplaced candidates into jobs that fit them, thereby saving time, money, and morale.

“Be a Hanna, Don’t be a Dick”

As Bryan and Deb Messinger lamented, you can create the perfect candidate experience, but without a great hiring manager, all that effort will be wasted. With a former colleague, Bryan came up with an innovative internal campaign to help recruit better hiring managers. “We created some training material which was, ‘Be a Hanna, be thoughtful, be empathetic, be prepared, be organized, be human, be a Hanna. Be a Hanna, don’t be a Dick.’ So this is Hanna, this is Dick. And essentially it was like, ‘Look, this is how we want you to act. This is how we don’t want you to act.’ And then we created a little quiz to see how much of a Dick you were, how much of a Hanna you were.”

The campaign was a bold move, but Bryan was pleased to note that because it was so straightforward yet playful, it was also very effective. “I think when you’re asking a hiring manager to change their behavior, it’s really important to be very explicit with what ‘great’ looks like.”

Further reading: State of the Candidate Experience study

Join the greatness

We’ve certainly been explicit with what “great” looks like, and that looks like EMBARC! Don’t be left out.

EMBARC Table Talks

Register now for our next session of EMBARC:

  • Attending. It’s completely free, so be sure to sign up soon.
  • Participating. Great content is just one component; there’s also lively discussion. You can literally pull up a virtual chair and participate in roundtable discussions, join in on speed networking with other attendees, and book 1:1 consultations to dive into your social recruiting strategy. Participate when and how you please.
  • Sponsoring. We have several sponsorship programs and a-la-carte opportunities designed to help you make an impact with our audience of talent acquisition professionals. Please contact us for more details.

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