Candidate experience - lots of companies talk about it, but how many focus on it?
When I first came to Cuvva, I was super impressed with the focus on avoiding the experience you get when you apply elsewhere (slow, if any, responses, no feedback, and, frankly, application burnout). With Cuvva, I was kept in the loop at every stage with updates and feedback, and contacted in a way that didn’t just make me feel like any other applicant.
Candidate experience is so closely tied to your employer brand - even if just one person has a bad recruitment experience with your company, they’re likely to tell at least a handful of people about it. Before you know it, you’ve lost five people, possibly more, who will not apply. What if in that group was the ‘unicorn’ candidate you’ve spent over a year chasing for that hard to fill role?
At Cuvva, we strive to leave every candidate with a positive experience, even if the end result doesn’t turn out in their favour.
Here’s just a few of the ways we do that:
We use interview scorecards for all of our interviews, every stage is planned in advance, and we don’t let our Hiring Managers go into the interview blindsided. The Talent team works with them to set out questions to test candidate capability based on the job description and internal skills benchmarking criteria. They’re also fully briefed on what is expected from the candidate, so Hiring Managers can go into interviews confident about what they’re looking for, and why.
Is it perfect? No. There’s always room to improve. But it does mean that every candidate gets exactly the same experience and that they’re being tested on the things that matter. Not only that, but scorecards are great for minimising unconscious biases that seep into the recruitment process and can minimise ‘gut feel’ hiring.
How many times have you been rejected for a job and told ‘we’ll get back to you if something comes up?’ And then… crickets. You hear nothing back.
We have an active talent pool in our ATS (Applicant Tracking System - where all applications live) system which you can sign up to, so you’ll be notified if your preferred team has a vacancy or your dream role comes up.
We also have plans to better utilise our active talent pool through LinkedIn… but more to come on that later in the year!
We have various SLAs (Service Level Agreements - in other words, metrics we measure ourselves against) that mean candidates aren’t kept waiting a long time for responses.
For example, Hiring Managers have to give feedback within 24 hours after the interview (or 48 hours for applications with tasks). This means candidates know the outcome of their interview or task within one or two days (unless it’s over a weekend of course!)
Naturally, sometimes things come up at Cuvva (internal deadlines, busy projects, holidays) which mean we can’t always meet that SLA. To counter this, the Talent team is working on streamlining this process further so everybody gets the same experience. The goal is for people not to be left waiting around and wondering whether or not they’re being progressed to the next stage.
I’ve found in recruitment the small touches go a long way.
Our candidates get a full brief of what to expect when being booked into an interview, even including some tips that can help them prepare. For those who are newer to interviewing or maybe haven’t had to do it in ages, it’s proven really helpful and applicants are always appreciative.
Also, after interviews, we’ll give candidates a call to check in how it went and what their feedback was. It doesn’t always happen straight away, but it helps with allowing the candidate to share any concerns they may have about the role or interview. That way, when I’m speaking to Hiring Managers about their feedback, I can also manage their expectations (e.g. they may have loved a candidate, but after the candidate spoke to them they realised the role wasn’t what they wanted).
There’s always room to improve and make our processes candidate-friendly, and we have lots of plans in the works!
One of the things we’re pushing in the Talent team is making our recruitment process more efficient, be it by iterating on or cutting out unnecessary tasks, or condensing and combining stages that may not be needed. Of course, we need to be diligent and maintain a high standard, but for the majority of our roles the interview process is 5+ stages, which can feel like a lot. I think we can definitely try to minimise this and make it more scalable as we continue to grow.
Every quarter, we also have ‘Hack Week’ where the whole company takes a week to focus on projects outside of their team. Last quarter, one of our Product Designers worked with us to redesign our offers and add a really lovely personal touch to them. This is in the works now to roll out in the coming months!
There’s a lot to do but a very exciting time to do it in, so I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next 😊
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