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Bruce Ferguson of iHire on the Candidate Experience

by Joseph Murphy

Bruce Ferguson of iHire sheds an expanded view of how to deal with rejection as part of the candidate experience.  He offers suggestions on how to think about the talent pipeline as community, thus his focus is not how to reject, but how to connect.  Click PLAY, and then scroll down to discover more.

Bruce begins by asking us to define the issue.  You can ask “How do I reject the 99%?” and get some clear methods to send a message stating you did not get the job.   However, with the question “How can I build a valuable community?” you get a very different set of answers.  Here are the four themes Bruce invites us to explore.

  1. Rethink your talent pipeline – get out of the transaction mindset
  2. Deploy community building resources – share information
  3. Think long-term relationship – consider fit for the future
  4. Use incentives to convert candidates to sourcers

Rethink your talent pipeline – get out of the transaction mindset

Just-in-time was an inventory management strategy to reduce assets in the distribution channel.  Just-in-time sourcing puts candidate assets into the talent distribution channel much like the proverbial pig in the python.  In hard-goods distribution channel, the feeding is transitioned to small bites.  In recruiting, we not only still serve pig-sized servings, the pig is never digested.  Applicant tracking systems (ATS) are chock-full of every candidate that ever applied.

For some reason, fresh candidates must seem better.  Bruce suggests we think about, and actively engage the inventory in our ATS.  Look back, look inside and label the best candidates that did not get hired.  Keep in contact with them.

Deploy community building resources – share information

The web has proliferated interactive community building resources. Some are extremely simple.  Create an invitation only group on LinkedIn.  Use a communication strategy to foster dialogue, share information about the firm and the future.  Create a candidate experience that goes beyond the resume’ capture.

Think long-term relationship – consider fit for the future

I do not recruit, but I do refer.

A friend called with a ‘think about this’ sourcing request.  About a week later, a young man came to mind that was a client some 20 year previous. It was pre-personal digital assistant/smart phone.  I had an old paper-based phone number in my drawer.  I called and to my surprise, he answered, we spoke, and eventually he took the job in play at that time.

The funny part was that he left the firm where I had his phone number, came back years later and got the same number.  I reconnected by chance.  These days, it would have been easy to keep him in my community.  In filling some jobs you get to meet bonus candidates, those you don’t hire at that time, but just might later.  Create some ties that bind.  Let them know you want to keep the relationship active.  Then live the promise.  That will change the candidate experience for those individuals and enhance your down-stream recruiting success.

Use incentives to convert candidates to source

I have to admit, this one scares me a bit.  Incentives can create unique behaviors.  Getting the right behavior is essential.

We did some quality of referral and quality of hire analysis.  Getting referrals from high performing individuals proved to be a winning formula.  Referrals from candidates with low scores on their pre-employment test tended to also perform marginally on their assessment.  The moral is more than be careful what you ask for.  It expands to Be careful whom you ask for what.  We also perform HR Analytics that examine yield and quality of hire by source.  You may find that of interest as you examine social media links and relationships  of candidates.

The nature of your candidate experience has a lot to do with how actively a candidate will refer others.  The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is often looked to as an indicator of a highly regarded experience.

Every candidate that completes a Virtual Job Tryout is asked for feedback on the experience.  Over 90% state they will refer others to apply, based upon the nature of their candidate experience.

So getting candidates to source for you may not take incentives, just a great candidate experience.  A candidate experience that extends and enhances your brand.

For more information on this topic, read the multi-author Candidate Experience Monograph

Take note of the 2012 Candidate Experience Award.  Application information can be obtained here.

Thanks to Bruce for giving us some food for thought.