Can a Bad Recruiter Experience Deliver a Good Candidate Experience?

Why don't we value the recruiter experience the way we do the customer or employee experience?

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Oct 5, 2023

A few weeks ago, I talked to a recruiter doing a reference call. It’s the first such call I had in a while as I usually get automated, online forms asking me to rate a candidate I previously worked with. After she got through her set of questions, she asked if I had anything else to add. I asked her why they were doing this manually since there were tools that could do the task in a fraction of the time and cost.

I expected that she might tell me that her employer valued the feedback they got from calling people the old-fashioned way, but that wasn’t the case. She told me that they wanted it done, but they didn’t want to pay for the technology to do reference checks. So she ends up chasing down references and tries to schedule calls in a world where no one picks up a stranger’s call.

This wasn’t a recruiting coordinator calling me either. A full-lifecycle recruiter was spending her valuable time chasing down people for references when she could’ve been working on, well, anything else.

The More Things Change…

The recruiter experience has seen its fair share of ups and downs in recent years. The adoption of AI and other technologies, evolving candidate expectations, and rapid market changes have created a dynamic and oftentimes uncertain environment for recruiters.

Recruiters are pulled in different directions, juggling various tasks and responsibilities. They are asked to take more without giving anything up.

When we make changes to key technologies in the hiring process, we almost always ask how it will affect the candidate. Will it make it easier or more challenging for them to apply or get through the hiring process? Is any amount of cost savings worth creating a bad experience for them?

But it’s less likely that we’ll be thinking about the recruiter experience. If we do, we’ll be more likely to be thinking about ways we’d be happy to sacrifice time or complexity to save a couple of dollars.

Is that a good way to operate?

Lessons From EX

We know that the employee experience is closely linked to the customer experience. Customers can’t hope to have a consistently great experience from employees who have a consistently poor experience.

Employees can’t work their way through a bad experience in any sort of sustainable way. Think about some of the worst jobs you have ever had. There were probably instances where you fought through bad policies and workplace processes and delivered a good, or even outstanding, customer experience.

But doing that consistently is tough in an environment where employees are burnt out, under-supported, and limited by out-of-date or poorly working technology.

Why don’t we believe the same for recruiting? Sure, a recruiter can fight through bad technology and deliver a good candidate experience some of the time. But it’s a lot harder than it needs to be, and the consistency will never be there. It will be up to the individual recruiter to figure it out instead of it being systemized.

What Can We Do to Fix Recruiter Experience?

Improving the recruiter experience requires thinking about challenges with a recruiter’s experience in the center of the bullseye. Possible actions might include:

Tailoring resources and technology for specific hiring needs. Assess the technologies and systems in place to ensure they are helpful to everyone involved. Recognize that the needs of recruiters may vary based on the roles they are hiring for, and provide them with the resources and tools necessary to excel in their specific areas.

Investing in upskilling and professional development. Continuous learning and upskilling are essential for recruiters to stay ahead in a rapidly changing landscape. Encourage recruiters to pursue professional development opportunities, attend industry conferences, and stay updated on the latest trends and best practices in talent acquisition.

Leveraging technology to enhance the recruiter experience. From applicant tracking systems to AI-powered chatbots, recruiters can leverage technology to streamline their workflows, improve efficiency, and provide a more seamless experience for candidates. One area where technology has made a significant impact is in automating repetitive tasks, such as answering candidate questions and scheduling interviews. By automating these processes, recruiters can free up valuable time to focus on building relationships with candidates, conducting in-depth interviews, and providing personalized guidance throughout the hiring journey.

Balancing technology with a human touch. It’s essential to strike a balance between technology and the human touch. While technology can enhance efficiency, it should never replace the personal connection between recruiters and candidates. Finding the right balance between automation and personalization is key to creating an exceptional recruiter experience.

Technology Can Make a Difference

The recruiter experience is a powerful driver of candidate engagement and hiring success — and we can do better. By prioritizing the recruiter experience, organizations can empower their talent acquisition teams to deliver exceptional candidate experiences, attract top talent, and enhance their employer brand because their needs are taken care of.

As technology continues to evolve, organizations must embrace the opportunities it presents while taking full advantage of recruiter relationships. By striking the right balance between automation and personalization, companies can create memorable experiences that leave a lasting impression on candidates and make a talent acquisition professional’s job more fulfilling.

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