When Candidate Experience Is Like Canceling Your Cable

Candidate experience like canceling cable

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True Story. I just finally canceled my cable/Internet service with a big nationwide company that rhymes with infinity. I’ve developed a PTSD like affliction that causes me to sweat and my heart rate to elevate at the thought of having to call such companies because I know getting to a live person will be time consuming and having a productive interaction will be elusive. 

For this reason I have wasted thousands of dollars by enduring too many years of rate increases in the name of mental health. But that’s another story.

After braving the phone tree, getting to a rep, running the gauntlet of retention and cross sell salvos, I finally finished the call having canceled my service, conquered my anxiety and begun the first day of my new life with a cancellation confirmation in my inbox and all the optimism in the world.

Until a few days later when I checked my account to confirm that it had been canceled. Turns out, it hadn’t. After follow up chats and calls I learned that the only thing that was canceled was the order to cancel my service.

We all know there are strong incentives for reps to NOT cancel service. Retention is a huge part of their focus and some part of their income. Could it be that a new rep desperate to meet performance expectations managed to cancel the cancellation after the fact? Maybe/Maybe not. All I know is that I didn’t cancel it.

Here’s where candidate experience comes into play.

Recruiters often have their own goals/incentives. Whether it is screening and dispositioning a certain number of candidates, increasing the size of their pipeline, scheduling more interviews, etc., a similar dynamic comes into play. There are measurable goals to be achieved, that sometimes involve under-experienced professionals. And the TA function is always under pressure to do more with less. 

Candidate experience like canceling cableAnd like me, the wary cable consumer with trust issues, candidates similarly ascribe knee jerk assumptions about the experiences they have with employers. Again, I can’t know if my cancellation was canceled by an employee trying to save their job. But I had a bad experience and that is one possibility, however likely/unlikely. So when one of your candidates gets dispositioned quickly, or gets a “thank you for interviewing” email when they haven’t been interviewed, for example, they will have theories about what is going on.

So what’s my point? 

If you run a talent acquisition team or an organization, do you have any idea whether similar issues might be affecting your candidate experience? You certainly have seen feedback from candidates who are sure that they were never vetted, or who lob broad assumptions about how they were treated in the hiring process. How do you know whether your strategies, policies and expectations are effectively being delivered at moments of truth during the hiring process?

What’s Really Going On in Talent Acquisition

I will tell you that, once organizations start listening in a rigorous way, they learn that such issues are much more common than they thought. Some of the most important early insights of our clients who listen to candidates using Survale are things like recruiters not statusing candidates consistently in the ATS, which leads to auto-emails not going out, which leads to candidates cooking up all kinds of ideas about how they were slighted in the recruiting process. This reflects poorly on your brand and drags down satisfaction rates.

Or recruiters are moving candidates through the process without ever interacting with them or otherwise vetting them. Your ATS tells you that you have a productive employee, but feedback alerts you to something different.

You can see this when candidate feedback about a phone screen or interview comes back saying “I never interacted with anyone, why are you asking me about my experience?” This raises a candidate’s stress level as they become frantic wondering how they could have missed their shot, and it makes your organization look incompetent and out of touch.

Or they find that recruiters and hiring managers miss interviews or are unprepared and/or disrespectful of candidates. This kills your brand, tanks satisfaction and often ends up on social media or Glassdoor.

Survale clients also find that these instances are, thankfully, not the norm. They’ve hired good people. But they also have some who need redirection and training. And luckily, Survale’s feedback is anchored to operational data points and them directly to the sources of these issues and they can be quickly corrected and monitored as part of year round performance management.

The bottom line is that with candidate experience, like customer service, feedback systems are needed to ensure that all the people, processes and technologies are aligned around execution and satisfaction. In both cases, assuming all is going well is not a great strategy.

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