Many years ago, the city of Lausanne, Switzerland, had more than its fair share of fires. Most of the buildings were made of wood, and the city literally burned down several times.
Then, in the year 1405, it got smart and created a position of a night watchman to keep an eye on the city and identify fires.
The watchman’s job was to climb the 153 stairs to the top of the cathedral tower and at each hour from 10 p.m. until 2 a.m., he would call out in four directions, C’est le guet; il a sonné l’heure (“This is the nightwatch; the hour has struck”).
Apparently the night watch was effective, because the tradition still continues today!
The buildings in the city are no longer made of wood, and technology has largely eliminated a fire risk. So why does the city still employ a night watchman?
There are probably a few reasons to keep the tradition in place, but I believe that the main reason can be summed up in one word: reassurance.
I’ve never met someone who didn’t enjoy a little reassurance. In this case, the people of Lausanne like the safe and comfortable feeling of knowing that someone is out there keeping an eye on their city.
From a recruitment context, candidates in your hiring process also want reassurance. They’d like frequent updates on the status of their application. They want to know that their resume hasn’t been lost in a black hole. They want to understand the next steps in your interview process. They want to know when they’re no longer being considered.
If you believe that reassurance is important, how can you use that knowledge to improve the candidate experience? What technology can you implement to provide candidates with self-service access to check the status of their application? How can you clearly set the expectation with candidates so that they understand the timetable and steps within your recruitment process? How can you improve your communication with candidates as they move through the stages of your process?
I encourage you to implement a “night watchman” strategy within your recruitment process to provide reassurance and to offer an added level of service to those candidates with an interest to join your team.