The Experts Weigh In: Recruiter Insights On Candidate Experience

Even with all of the technology available to recruiters, finding great candidates can still be a challenge. Here at Simply Hired we’re pushing the boundaries of what’s technologically possible in matching job seekers to openings, and we’re interested in how other technology leaders approach solving the recruiting challenges of today.

In May we played host to our first Innovation in Recruitment Forum in San Francisco. The evening’s expert panel was moderated by Gerry Crispin, co-founder of CareerXroads. Our panelists were: Robert Hohman, CEO at Glassdoor; Stacy Donovan Zapar, Candidate Experience & Engagement Leader at Zappos; Dan Finnigan, CEO at Jobvite; and Simply Hired President and CEO James Beriker.  Attendees included human resources and talent acquisition leaders from NetApp, Groupon and Bank of the West.

One theme of the evening was candidate experience. As the mastermind behind the Candidate Experience Awards, Crispin often mentions how hard it is for candidates to apply to some companies. The two aspects of the candidate experience that were top-of-mind for panelists were 1.) the mobile job seeker experience and 2.) employer branding content.

About one-third of Simply Hired job-seeker traffic is mobile, and that number is only going to rise. So it’s increasingly important that the user experience be as mobile-friendly as possible. “Pinch and zoom is not a mobile strategy,” said Donovan Zapar. Candidates should be able to easily read job descriptions from their mobile devices, apply and view employer branding content.

Hohman said that 44 percent of Glassdoor’s traffic and 47 percent of LinkedIn’s traffic is mobile. A Glassdoor survey showed that one in four job seekers said they wouldn’t apply to a company if it didn’t have a mobile site.

Beriker cited Simply Hired data on how mobile job seekers are more engaged, looking at jobs on both mobile devices and personal computers.  According to Simply Hired research, 85 percent of job seekers want the ability to apply for jobs via mobile devices. When unable to apply on mobile, they’re forced into a hybrid approach where they search for jobs on mobile but apply via desktop.

Employer branding content helps with candidate engagement. Crispin believes that the companies with quality content in addition to innovative recruiting technology tools will be the ones to move forward rapidly.

Candidates are looking for information on sites like Glassdoor because it helps them make decisions about which companies to apply to. Millennials in particular have come to expect transparency from employers, although Crispin mentioned a study that showed Baby Boomers were the most likely to complain online about a bad experience with a company.

The panel echoed the common industry notion that recruiting is a lot like marketing, and both Zapar and Finnigan emphasized the candidate funnel. Finnigan spoke about how applicant tracking is similar to sales force automation in that it converts the candidate into a sale. Just as marketers think about social, content and advertising, recruiters should do the same.

Zapar spoke about the relationship-building aspect of recruiting and said that recruiters ought to have a pipeline of candidates in anticipation of job openings before they occur. Beriker challenged the group to create tools that allow candidates with a wide variety of skills and technological sophistication to find a better job.

Data was another issue on everyone’s mind. Hohman mentioned that recruiters spend $14 billion per year on advertising, but when compared to traditional advertising little time is spent tracking ad spend. The industry should focus on optimizing channels by measuring return or cost-per-hire for each channel. The tools are now available to create greater efficiency in recruiting through measurement and optimization. Both Finnigan and Hohman gave a nod to Simply Hired as being a leader in delivering candidates at attractive cost-per-hire, which of course Beriker appreciated.

Crispin concluded the panel with a call to make a commitment to use all available tools, and he hopes to see more case studies about new best practices. He also emphasized the importance of better understanding job seekers. That’s something we think about every day here at Simply Hired as we review searches from millions of job seekers every month and conduct one-on-one interviews with job seekers to better meet their needs.

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