A friend recently told me about a great experience she had with a loved one at the Mayo Clinic.  “What made it so great?”, I asked.  The answer: communication, communication, communication.  Before, during, and after – they were setting expectations for visits and procedures, providing relevant health insights, sharing information between care providers, and asking for feedback along the way.  The net effect: outstanding care, and trust built with patients and family members.

Talent Leaders can take a page (or two) out of the Mayo Clinic book.  Because just like our health, the process of getting hired is intensely personal.  It’s best handled with empathy, teamwork, and heavy doses of communication.

So, how do we know exactly what candidates want?  The Talent Board is the not-for-profit entity that runs the Candidate Experience (a.k.a. CandE) benchmarking and awards process.  They’ve been collecting data globally on the “What Candidates Want” conundrum for years.  In fact, at PeopleResults, we use these data-driven insights, along with Design Thinking, to help our clients completely re-think their approach to recruitment.

So, what DO candidates want?  It’s pretty simple, but not easy.  But with clear criteria and intention, change can happen.  According to Talent Board data:

Initially, as they are learning about your company in the Attract phase, candidates want:

  • Clear understanding of the company culture
  • Insight into the company values and employee experience
  • Sense of connection with the overall brand

Then as they engage and actually Apply:

  • Clear and timely communication
  • An indication and understanding of their status
  • Less complication, streamlined, without duplication

During Screening and Assessment:

  • Insight into the process & what to expect
  • Feedback at every step
  • More personal, fewer automated messages
  • A simplified approach with fewer interviews

And if they get this far, during the Offer and Onboarding phases, they want:

  • Responsiveness and rapid closure
  • Friction-free background and reference check processes
  • What to expect between accept and start date
  • Opportunity to give feedback

See the pattern?  Communication!  We’re all human after all.  And if we put ourselves in the candidate’s shoes, as the Mayo Clinic has obviously done with patients, it causes us to re-think every interaction, every system we configure, every question asked, and every bit of information offered.  And once we’ve embraced the “humanization” of hiring, making the business case for change is not difficult, as outlined by my colleague, Cheryl Farley recently in her recent blog post.

Do your organizational goals for 2020 include candidates who receive an outstanding experience, leading to trust built with them and everyone they tell?  Nothing could be better for your talent agenda and your employment brand.

Erin McDermott Peterson is a Partner with PeopleResults, focusing on Global Talent Acquisition.  Follow her on Twitter @ErinMcPeterson, connect via email at epeterson@people-results.com and listen to her Podcast for Talent Leaders: Big Fish in the Talent Pool on iTunes and SoundCloud.

Erin McDermott Peterson