The Keys to Creating Happy Candidates and Boosting Referrals

smiley-1691280_640There’s a lot of chatter these days about hiring the right talent at the right time. The sad fact is many employers never bother to define who the “right talent” is. They simply go about the business of filling job requisitions with people who have the obligatory skill sets.

That’s definitely not the case at inVentiv Health, a global employer with more than 15,000 workers in over 100 locations, well over $2 billion in annual revenues, and multiple Candidate Experience (CandE) Awards. You don’t achieve that kind of success by merely putting butts in seats. You actually have to hire the right talent.

So how does inVentiv Health do it?

“We look for people who will truly fit our organization, embrace our values, and strengthen and preserve our company culture,” said Katie Newland, inVentiv Health’s Employer Brand Manager, during a recent Talent Board webinar.

In other words, it’s not just about the jobs and the requisite skill sets – not by a long shot. It’s about an individual’s overall fit with the organization’s culture. To ascertain cultural fit, inVentiv Health has trained its recruiters to assess candidates on the basis of three core competencies – self-development, collaboration and being action-oriented – each of which is directly related to the company’s employer value proposition and how its people work and thrive. inVentiv Health also created guidelines that aid recruiters in interviewing candidates for cultural fit.

Creating Happy Candidates

According to Newland, hiring the right talent begins with making sure the right candidates are interested in your jobs in the first place. “At inVentiv Health, that means we’re always communicating about our company culture and our work environment,” she said. “We also set clear expectations with candidates throughout the recruitment process and then deliver on those expectations without exception.”

In Newland’s experience, these are not only the keys to attracting the right candidates, they’re also the keys to creating happy candidates—and happy candidates boost referrals. “Happy candidates tend to tell their friends, family members, former colleagues and professional networks all about our company. When that happens, our candidates and new hires are basically doing our recruitment marketing and employer branding for us,” she said. That brings even more of the right talent to inVentiv Health’s doorstep. In fact, inVentiv Health’s referrals have jumped by 50% in recent months.

Even when candidates decide they’re not the right fit for inVentiv Health, they appreciate the company’s transparency about its culture and expectations because they’re able to self-select out of the application process early on without wasting a lot of time and effort. It’s another important aspect of a great candidate experience, added Newland.

Take a Look in the Mirror

One of the overlooked but essential steps in creating a great candidate experience is becoming self-aware, Newland said. “Take an honest look at your employment experience and discover who you are and who you aren’t. Find out what your employer value proposition is.”

One way to do this is to ask your employees some critical questions, including:

  • What do you value most about working here?
  • Why do you stay here?
  • Why did you first join us?
  • How is working here unique or different from where you’ve worked in the past?
  • What are some unspoken rules about working here?

In its own efforts to become self-aware, inVentiv Health was able to articulate precisely what’s best about working at the company as well as the types of candidates who best fit its culture. The company then made everything it had learned about itself easily discoverable to its talent community. “We put all this self knowledge front and center on our Careers site and in places like our Glassdoor profile and the brochures we hand out at talent events,” said Newland.

inVentiv Health also is a big proponent of using employees as brand ambassadors. Seventy percent of people believe what employees say about a company over branded ads, Newland noted. As a result, her company has created a series of videos that feature employees speaking candidly about their work experiences.

If you’re looking to boost your own candidate experience, think about stealing a page or three from inVentiv Health’s book. And if you’re wondering how to begin, start by defining who your “right talent” really is – and how you can make them happy with a better hiring experience.

inVentiv Health recently announced the successful completion of their merger with INC Research, a global Phase I-IV Contract Research Organization. The combination brings together 22,000 employees to create the only fully integrated biopharmaceutical solutions organization.

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 InVentiv Health transformed its candidate experience, just click on the preceding link to watch the brief webinar.

Come see the 2017 North American CandE winners in Nashville on October 2!