5 Tips for an Unparalleled Candidate Experience

Optimize Candidate Experience

Did you know that 88% of job seekers are more likely to become loyal customers of your company, and even refer their friends, if you give them a positive candidate experience irrespective of whether they got hired?

The benefits of providing a great experience to people applying for jobs have been demystified with many companies now reporting a strong impact on their bottom line. Unfortunately, it’s not as straightforward as we had hoped. Even though it can be hard to make the business case for investing in the enhancement of the candidate experience, there are several immediate benefits to be gained, with some of them that can be achieved fairly easily.

It used to be enough to present job candidates with a plain text description highlighting the job requirements and the desired qualifications. Unfortunately, those days are long gone. Nowadays, employers are challenging candidates with games and role-playing simulators to attract the best and brightest to their companies.

Gamification is gaining popularity in its ability to drive candidate participation in referral programs and responding to career content to help build brand awareness. It is effective in converting the people who see your job opportunity into active applicants in your pipeline. By disguising your application and assessment process as a game, you’re much more likely to not only convert the top talent who noticed your ad, but also engage candidates and make them want to come work with you.

As discussed in a previous post, while not every company has the budget to create their own version of the Marriot Hotel, other practical ways to leverage gamification are available. These will help bring in the right candidates for open positions and create strong talent pipelines for future hiring needs. Here are five tips for gamifying the candidate experience.

Tip #1: Give points to candidates for interacting with you.

Companies are in constant pursuit of the passive talent, who is currently employed somewhere else but would still be open to changing camps if the right opportunity presented itself. These types of candidates need more than a job description to get theme excited to work with you. Invite these passive candidates to connect and interact with your organization via virtual contests, hackathons, or quizzes and give them points for their participation. This will not only demonstrate how innovative and fun your organization is but will also give them a sneak peek on your company culture.

Tip #2: Show candidates how they stack up against the competition.

It is worthwhile to show how many candidates have already applied for the same job and how well the candidates rank in terms of points earned against those of others. This competitive intelligence drives candidates to act on the right opportunities and motivates them to interact with you more.

Tip #3: Encourage candidates to apply with their social media profiles.

Most people don’t have their resumes on their smartphone, but just about everyone is on social media. Allowing candidates to use their social profiles to apply is painless and effective. As some candidates tend to “over sell” themselves on the resume, information maintained on social profiles tends to be more accurate. And if you really require a resume, allow candidates to upload their resumes from a cloud service such as Google Drive or Dropbox.

Tip #4: Show candidates their social connections within your company.

Candidates often want to get an inside scoop (and maybe even a referral) about the job before applying to it. Allowing these candidates to visualize their social connections that are currently working with you and enabling them to message for guidance can help convert a passive candidate into an engaged one who is interested in joining your ranks.

Tip #5: Be Mobile

Mobile recruiting is taking over every aspect of the recruitment process. Candidates are 2-5 times more likely to access your career portal on their phone than they are on their PC. Beyond that, nearly one-quarter (23%) of all Google searches that contain the word “job” come from mobile devices. Enable candidates to engage with your employment brand anywhere, any time, and on any device. Ensure that every step of your application process is optimized for mobile devices.

If you are able to foster a positive candidate experience, talent will come to you. Candidates will talk about your organization and tell others about the positive experience they had during your recruitment process.

4 Sins of Employee Disengagement


Employee Disengagement

Disengaged Employee

According to a recent Gallup poll, engaged employees make up less than a third of the US workforce. A little more than half of employees are not engaged, and a shocking 18 percent are actively disengaged. Millennials are the least engaged generation at 28 percent while boomers are the most engaged one at 42 percent. Millennial’s dissatisfaction results stems from the mismatch between the jobs they had hoped to receive after college and the reality of their employment situation.

Employee engagement, which reflects the emotional commitment an employee has to an organization is not just an organizational nicety but a business necessity due to direct ties to a number of performance outcomes, such as profitability, workforce productivity and customer service. As employees care more, they are more productive, give better service, and even stay in their jobs longer. The end result is then happier customers, who buy more and refer more, which will drive sales and increase profits. A 2012 report on human capital from McKinsey corroborated this hypothesis, noting that organizations with top scores in employee engagement are about 60% more likely to be leading and profitable companies in their respective industries.

The first step in re-engaging a disengaged workforce is to know how to identify it. Unfortunately, this can tend to be tricky as disengaged employees aren’t necessarily bad employees. They could have been some of your most talented and productive employees at some point. The ultimate indication of disengagement is the decisions people make to leave their job. While some people will stay in a role they’re not happy in, most will eventually choose to look for a new and better opportunity elsewhere.


Disengaged employees tend to only do what’s absolutely necessary of them to get the job done, without going the extra mile. Typically, they don’t take initiative, rarely work late and don’t give their jobs much afterthought when the day is over. So how do you spot them?


The four most common habits of disengaged employees include:

  1. Not caring attitude – Employees that display less interest or care for their work or their organization’s wellbeing are likely to be disengaged.
  2. Repetitive absenteeism – An employee who displays a pattern of absences is most likely disengaged. This indicates a decreased motivation to get the work completed on time. They could even be skipping work to attend job interviews.
  3. Poor quality of work – Failing to meet deadlines, or meeting deadlines with subpar work on a regular basis are signs of employee disengagement. This is evidence that an employee is less committed, especially if you have prior evidence of better performance.
  4. Permanent negativity – A previously high performing employee that consistently exhibits a negative attitude might be going through difficult times at home, or might be disengaged. Either situation must be addressed differently as is detrimental to the workplace.


Identifying and accepting the fact that you have a workforce engagement issue is the first step toward immobilising it. Choosing to be proactive and doing something about it is the next. Overlooking or evading the four previously enumerated habits of workforce disengagement is a common mistake leaders make.

It’s important to understand that every experience and interaction at work has the potential to influence an employee’s engagement level. Each person is unique, and to influence their commitment requires an understanding of what motivates them. The most important thing any leader can do to improve engagement is focus on the employee’s individual spirit as well as the team’s and to ensure that they are in complete harmony.

Employees tap into their internal positive energy to get the job done well. People who are energised typically choose to act in ways that promote success. But, when people are drained and discontent, they become more likely to disengage and behave in ways that jeopardize not only their own success but the team’s as well.

As a leader you need to take a proactive approach in improving the engagement of your team. You need to make engagement a priority by linking it to corporate performance objectives. Start by attracting and hiring people who want to be here. People who are passionate about your brand will tend to care more about your business and contribute better. Then, understand your team and deliberately influence the aspects that drives them. Give them the initial boost and then let them take ownership for their own spirit and level of engagement. It is crucial to implement a feedback loop to keep the engagement levels high.

Recruitment and Marketing tie the knot

Better Hires

Marketing and Recruiting working together

Recruiting is much more complex than it has ever been. Job board posting can’t be the only way you let candidates know about your openings anymore. Relying only on social media updates of your new positions isn’t enough either. Having a strong employment brand is becoming increasingly crucial. Organizations that come out on top in the recruiting game will be the ones that consistently communicate an authentic employer brand and value proposition that not only captures the attention of highly skilled workers but also compels them to follow, engage, and ultimately join their teams.

The focus should be on building and nurturing longer-term relationships with the right candidates. Top talent are hanging out in online communities – reading, sharing and commenting on your content. If your company is serious about hiring these highly skilled individuals then you need to actively start leveraging the synergies between marketing and recruitment. There are more similarities between the two departments that you might initially think, making this relationship a potentially long and prosperous one. Quite simply, the methodology that marketers use to produce new customers for your company can also be used to successfully recruit the talent you need to get the job done.
The points below illustrate six key marketing principles and how they are inadvertently applied to talent acquisition.

Market Research – Organizations collect market and competitive information to understand what is happening in the marketplace, the pain points and what their competitors are doing in order to uncover an untapped need. As the war for talent is intensifying, recruiters are following a similar approach of researching supply and demand of good talent as well competitors’ workforce to lure good employees away.

Segmentation – Market segmentation consists in sizing the overall market into smaller groups to understand their individual specific needs and buying decisions so that marketing messages can be tailored for maximum ROI. In recruiting, this practice consists in separating easy to fill jobs from the ones that require highly specialized skills and tailoring a different sourcing strategy with its own metrics for each.

Positioning – This is a strategy that helps position a company’s products/services differently from their competitors by showcasing their unique value proposition and benefits. From a recruiting standpoint, differentiation is also used for employers to “stand out” to candidates and making them look like a more desirable place to work than their competitors.

Branding – The branding process is about creating positive, and emotional associations to corporations’ products/services in order to drive sales and growth. Branding can also be instrumental to recruiting as a strong employment brand would enable the company to attract potential employees. Job descriptions alone – even creative ones – are no longer enough to attract the best candidates. Talent acquisition leaders are creating digital content around corporate culture and benefits of working at their firms.

Implementation – Marketers are engaging with customers and prospects on social media to respond to questions, to share engaging content and to promote their company and/or products. Savvy recruiters are doing the same to promote both their personal image and their company’s employment brands. As candidates increasingly expect to be able to engage with companies via social media, talent acquisition professionals with a strong and active presence are better equipped to attract top candidates.

Control – One of the main drivers to organic growth is effective monitoring and control. A data-driven measurement system is put in place to determine the effectiveness of marketing campaigns against desired ROI. From a hiring standpoint, knowing which channels are bringing in the most candidates and quality hires will help improve the recruitment strategy and channel their energy where their strongest potential candidates are coming from.

As recruiters become well-versed with these marketing tactics in their everyday processes, they will start reaping the benefits of recruitment marketing. When these organizational functions work together and leverage each other’s strengths, they can craft a cohesive and appealing message and brand. Once established, the sky will be the limit as they can spread the word and attract candidates, fans, and customers.

Gamification of Social Recruiting

Gamification of recruiting

Let’s face it. Social recruiting is a game, where a collection of “players” (companies and staffing agencies) compete for the same “prize” – top talent. The winners get the best “prize”, but it can take tremendous time and effort to come out on top.

It is widely known that good talent is employed while the best remain hidden from traditional recruitment strategies such as social media and online communities. So how do you lure them away from your competitors?

If today’s social recruiting campaigns are about developing communities, the future is about creating value in such communities. So instead of establishing a one-way communication with your fans through job postings and the occasional recruiting post, engage with these followers and establish a dialogue with them.

This novel and promising approach consists in “gamifying” the talent acquisition process. Not to be confused with video games, this method consists in incorporating game thinking to business activities. The true value of this route stems from the fact that it can make a mundane task like completing a job application fun, creative, competitive and interesting. Basically, it would disguise the application and assessment process as a fun activity rather than an annoying task, making it much more likely to convert the top talent from just noticing your job opening into engaged candidates who are interested in working with you, and committed to making a difference.

A gamified hiring process will not only make your more attractive in the eyes of job seekers, but it would also contribute to amplifying your brand. Both HR and marketing are in the people finding and relationship building business. Followers who like and share your content, and also interact with you within your online communities are the same valuable asset both of these departments are desperately seeking to find and engage. In a recent study, the marketing department of a global fashion retailer was reluctant to letting HR engage with its fans on social media as it was concerned that recruitment specific spots would dilute its brand. To their surprise, this experiment yielded unprecedented results. Within four hours, 14,000 people had “liked” and contributed to that HR post; and in fact, it was the highest level of engagement ever reached.

A gamified recruitment process can come in two different flavors – ranging from complex and stand-alone gaming technology to simple “gaming elements” directly embedded into the job application process. Subsequent sections will discuss the first approach while the latter will be discussed in a later post.

A full-blown gaming engine is effective as not only does it provide a fun and hands-on experience as to what the job really entails, it also gives a feel for the culture of the workplace. However, this route requires deep IT skills and a sizeable budget to implement the needed technology.  One of the earlier adopters of this new way of recruiting was Marriott International. High turnover of underqualified employees created a serious business problem for the hotel chain. It needed to attract young candidates in areas of the world where the hospitality industry was not well known or seen as a viable career path. And in 2011, the hotel chain launched its own Facebook game called My Marriott Hotel which was specifically designed as a recruitment tool giving younger people a taste of what a career at a Marriott Hotel might be like. The game instructed players to start a restaurant, go through activities such as decorating a hotel restaurant dining room, ordering food inventory for the kitchen, maintaining a restaurant budget, and trying out various positions in hotel operations. According to Francesca Martinez, Marriott VP of Human Resources, the game successfully increased traffic to the company’s career site by 30%.

If you feel that this is the path you would like to embark on, follow these guiding points to get you started:

  1. For each job, identify the skills necessary that candidates need to possess in order to deliver superior performance.
  2. Group the jobs that have similar and complementary skills and devise a fun and creative scenario to assess those skills.
  3. Determine the platform you will use to get the game in front of your ideal hires.
  4. Assess your company culture and consider adding elements that indicate what it will be like to work for your company.

Ideally, you should create a game that is universally enjoyable — while not every player will be a qualified candidate, one of your objectives should be about increasing your brand awareness.