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Using Tech for Recruiting? Awesome. Let’s talk.

January 27, 2016

Originally published on LinkedIn, Pulse.

I’ve previously mentioned the importance of communicating your employer brand well via all things digital, but it’s time to talk specifically about recruiting. Being on the job market as a seasoned HRM practitioner is an interesting proposition. Perhaps it’s the tech nerd dynamic that makes me hypersensitive to tech weirdness, however, I think it’s more than that. It’s really about recruiting best practices and attention to detail. Quality-checking online applications is truly time well spent.

yoda killing me

 

Regardless of whether your organization is using PeopleSoft, Taleo, SilkRoad, ZipRecruiter or [other], considering the user experience is crucial. If an applicant find themselves in an excessively frustrating application process, they might bolt.

Here’s why:

  1. Typos. The mother of all credibility busters. Whomever is responsible for the final version of the online application must proofread for detail. It’s always better to get another set of eyes on written communication. Typos happen but they should be quite rare. Carelessness renders your employer brand ineffective and weak. Nobody wants that.
  2. Questions that aren’t really questions are especially frustrating for obvious reasons. We know wording matters. Do we pay the same attention to detail when it comes to online applications? Questionable. Example: “This position requires a minimum of 3-5 years of experience in [discipline] and a bachelor’s/master’s degree from an AACSB accredited institution.” Then a blank for an essay answer follows. What?
  3. Multiple choice questions with no choices. Enough said.
  4. Gathering information that clearly isn’t relevant. The job market is favorable for top talent and they have choices. Why waste their time – or yours? Aside from required disclosures and self-identifications, gathering irrelevant information subtly sends the message that the organization really doesn’t know what they’re after. Not cool.
  5. Disorienting the applicant by not providing feedback from the user interface (UI). In all matters of UI, the user should never, ever have to wonder where they are in the task completion process. Does your process clearly tell the user “submit your application now” or submit without clarifying, then return the user to a generic screen that offers no clues? Worse yet, does your system leave out the automatic generation of a confirmation email to clarify the application was submitted? [Cue Yoda above…]
  6. Buggy configurations. Understanding that resume import (e.g., OCR) or LinkedIn-facilitated types of applications don’t work all that well, it’s more egregious when the system populates application sections with garbage that the applicant has to manually remove. The killer is when the system overtaxes the user through repeated and unsuccessful efforts to remove said garbage or produces other buggy barriers to completion. Applicants are [generally] good people so don’t be [unintentionally] rude.
  7. There is no apparent memory of what it’s like to be on the job market. Yeah, we all can [and want] to forget such things, but the farther away we get from practicing what I call “job search empathy” the less likely we are to show our best to those who want to join us. Never forget that candidates are screening you too.

Errors cast an unnecessary shadow on your HR department’s credibility [shriek!] and provide the applicant with a subconscious picture of the organization’s attitudes regarding how they value their people. By not guarding against avoidable problems, the application process communicates an employer brand that’s less than quality. Any of these things may prompt potential applicants to say “Why would I want to work for an organization that can’t get their application process straight. No thanks.”

Bottom line: Do you want to hire people or not? If you do, get out there and test the system from the applicant’s POV. Check your abandon rate and use your dashboard metrics to enhance success all around. Competition for talent is fierce and your application system shouldn’t be a factor that hurts your chances to attract the best.

Challenge: If you’re really brave and want the truth, include a feedback question in your initial interview process and don’t penalize the candidate for their responses. While not everyone is a tech guru, the things mentioned above go beyond basic and reasonable.

You want to know, don’t you? Yes, I thought so.

I’ve previously mentioned the importance of communicating your employer brand well via all things digital, but it’s time to talk specifically about recruiting.

Being on the job market as a seasoned HRM practitioner is an interesting proposition. Perhaps it’s the tech nerd dynamic that makes me hypersensitive to tech weirdness, however, I think it’s more than that. It’s really about recruiting best practices and attention to detail. Quality-checking online applications is truly time well spent.

Regardless of whether your organization is using PeopleSoft, Taleo, SilkRoad, ZipRecruiter or [other], considering the user experience is crucial. For example,

If an applicant find themselves in an excessively frustrating application process, they might bolt. Here’s why:

  1. Typos. The mother of all credibility busters. Whomever is responsible for the final version of the online application must proofread for detail. It’s always better to get another set of eyes on written communication. Typos happen but they should be quite rare. Carelessness renders your employer brand ineffective and weak. Nobody wants that.
  2. Questions that aren’t really questions are especially frustrating for obvious reasons. We know wording matters. Do we pay the same attention to detail when it comes to online applications? Questionable. Example: “This position requires a minimum of 3-5 years of experience in [discipline] and a bachelor’s/master’s degree from an AACSB accredited institution.” Then a blank for an essay answer follows. What?
  3. Multiple choice questions with no choices. Enough said.
  4. Gathering information that clearly isn’t relevant. The job market is favorable for top talent and they have choices. Why waste their time – or yours? Aside from required disclosures and self-identifications, gathering irrelevant information subtly sends the message that the organization really doesn’t know what they’re after. Not cool.
  5. Disorienting the applicant by not providing feedback from the user interface (UI). In all matters of UI, the user should never, ever have to wonder where they are in the task completion process. Does your process clearly tell the user “submit your application now” or submit without clarifying, then return the user to a generic screen that offers no clues? Worse yet, does your system leave out the automatic generation of a confirmation email to clarify the application was submitted? [Cue Yoda above…]
  6. Buggy configurations. Understanding that resume import (e.g., OCR) or LinkedIn-facilitated types of applications don’t work all that well, it’s more egregious when the system populates application sections with garbage that the applicant has to manually remove. The killer is when the system overtaxes the user through repeated and unsuccessful efforts to remove said garbage or produces other buggy barriers to completion. Applicants are [generally] good people so don’t be [unintentionally] rude.
  7. There is no apparent memory of what it’s like to be on the job market. Yeah, we all can [and want] to forget such things, but the farther away we get from practicing what I call “job search empathy” the less likely we are to show our best to those who want to join us. Never forget that candidates are screening you too.

Errors cast an unnecessary shadow on your HR department’s credibility [shriek!] and provide the applicant with a subconscious picture of the organization’s attitudes regarding how they value their people. By not guarding against avoidable problems, the application process communicates an employer brand that’s less than quality. Any of these things may prompt potential applicants to say “Why would I want to work for an organization that can’t get their application process straight. No thanks.”

Bottom line: Do you want to hire people or not? If you do, get out there and test the system from the applicant’s POV. Check your abandon rate and use your dashboard metrics to enhance success all around. Competition for talent is fierce and your application system shouldn’t be a factor that hurts your chances to attract the best.

Challenge: If you’re really brave and want the truth, include a feedback question in your initial interview process and don’t penalize the candidate for their responses. While not everyone is a tech guru, the things mentioned above go beyond basic and reasonable.

You want to know, don’t you? Yes, I thought so.

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