The Golden Rule of Talent Acquisition and Candidate Experience

“Approach talent acquisition as you do every important relationship—with compassion, transparency and open communication—and treat candidates the way you’d want your mother treated if she were interviewing.”

GoldThat’s West Monroe Partners’ Golden Rule of talent acquisition, which Adela Schoolderman shared with attendees of a recent Talent Board webinar. Schoolderman is Talent Acquisition Manager and Diversity & Inclusion Leader at West Monroe Partners, a Chicago-based consultancy and a first-time CandE Award winner in 2016.

For Schoolderman and her firm, its Golden Rule isn’t just a slogan. They live it every day.

“Your candidate experience is your talent brand,” she explained. “You can devote tons of brainpower and money to developing awesome talent marketing campaigns, but the quality of your candidate experience is what matters most. The interaction candidates have with your recruiters and your application process speaks louder than anything else. It’s what truly influences how your candidates feel about you.”

Schoolderman knows firsthand that the majority of any company’s applicants don’t get hired, and rejected applicants are going to form opinions about your company and then share those opinions in public forums like LinkedIn, Glassdoor and Fairy Godboss. “That’s why we need to treat every single candidate with respect and care,” she said. “Think about how negative product reviews on Yelp or Amazon actually influence purchases. The same thing happens with employer brands, no matter how great their recruitment marketing strategy is.”

Recruiting Is Everybody’s Job

The latest global Talent Board research report shows that winners of the 2016 CandE Awards have leveraged the power of employee testimonials, social posts and candid reviews to a greater degree than ever. West Monroe Partners takes this to a whole different level with its “All-hands-on-deck!” approach to talent acquisition.

“When recruiting is only the recruiter’s problem, we’re not going to be as successful in finding the right people,” noted Schoolderman. That’s why everyone at her firm is a recruitment brand ambassador.

This culture of total team involvement at West Monroe Partners has an added benefit: no matter who candidates talk to there, the information they get is incredibly consistent. Thanks to a close collaboration between the firm’s recruiters and marketing professionals, this consistency of message is maintained across the firm’s employer branding materials, talent attraction collateral and, most importantly, its candidate experience.

Consistency isn’t the only goal of the West Monroe Partners’ candidate communication. Frequency and openness are equally crucial. Schoolderman advocates recruiting professionals to over-communicate: “Candidates want to hear from you on a regular basis. They don’t want to be left guessing about their application status or any other part of the process. Have recruiters set expectations and timelines with candidates—then live up to them.”

As for all those applicants who won’t be offered jobs, Schoolderman said, closure is one of the best gifts you can give them. “Rejection is hard but it’s worse to be rejected and have no idea why. Too often recruiters just disappear, and that should never happen.”

Talent Board research shows that recruiters have gotten better in this area: 61% of candidates say they are now able to view the status of their application’s progress—an 18% increase from 2015. However, clear and timely status updates should be a basic component of every employer’s application process. Sadly, this still isn’t the standard.

Prepping for Recruiting Success

Successful recruiting requires preparation and planning, and West Monroe Partners helps everyone in its talent attraction process prepare for success—from its candidates to its hiring managers to its recruiters.

For candidates, this includes prepping them on what to expect during their interviews and providing a few personal details about the people who will be interviewing them. West Monroe Partners never wants candidates to feel anxious or unprepared.

For hiring managers and recruiters, success means truly understanding their roles and what they’re expected to achieve. West Monroe Partners provides them with interview training, coaches them on how to overcome biases and eliminate assumptions, and builds up the skills they need to interact with candidates compassionately.

“The relationship between an employer and an employee does not start the day that person is hired,” said Schoolderman. It starts the first moment a candidate interacts with your employment brand.”

If you want to make a positive impression on candidates from that very first moment, do your employment brand a favor and adopt West Monroe Partners’ Golden Rule.

Talent Board is the first-ever nonprofit research organization focused on the elevation and promotion of a quality candidate experience. Each year the organization gives special awards to those companies with the highest candidate ratings per their benchmark research program.

You can still participate in the 2017 Talent Board Candidate Experience Awards and Benchmark Research. Find out how today. And if you’re interested in learning more about how West Monroe Partners transformed its candidate experience, just click on the preceding link to watch the brief webinar.