Candidate Experience: How Candidates Want to Learn About Job Content, Part 5 of 6

April 11, 2011

Modern Hire

This is part of a series connected to the Candidate Experience Monograph.

We asked job seekers to rate the relative value of various forms of interaction for learning about the job. Specifically, we wanted to have candidates direct us to formats for communicating job requirements that aligned with their learning preferences. Job seekers are decision makers in the process too. Creating a candidate experience that helps applicants learn about the job and prepare them to make a well-informed career decision can positively differentiate your company from other companies where the candidate may be applying.

The Top Three

Job Seekers want to read about your jobs, listen to people talk about them and try their hand at some of the job tasks. The first two are obvious and certainly more traditional methods of communicating with applicants. It is safe to say every company provides some level of written information about their jobs. Being able to listen to people talk about the role is becoming more prevalent on career pages, sometimes at a high level about working at the company and in some cases very detailed information is provided about a specific job. This can take the form of a Realistic Job Preview (RJP). Attempting parts of the role in a simulation came in as the third highest valued method for learning about the job. Simulations are an emerging format for both educating and evaluating candidates. Based on the 2009 annual assessment practices survey by Rocket Hire, only about 12% of companies are providing this level of engaging and interactive candidate experience. This is up from the 5% level of use indicated in the Use of Objective Candidate Evaluation Methods survey I conducted with SHRM in 2006. (write me for a copy) The respondents suggest more companies may want to consider simulations in their candidate experience.

Write to Me

Candidates place the highest value on the written word. Communicating with text can be efficient and highly descriptive. However, as the highest rated format for conveying job information, it places importance on the quality and clarity of the message. Soliciting job seeker feedback on your written messages may help refine how well you convey the opportunity, address common questions and create an emotional connection to the job.

I took the the time to read a few job postings before a meeting with a firm that invited me in to discuss their candidate experience. After scrolling down to the third screen of slightly dry and boiler-plate job information, I was struck by the sentence: “We hope you find this job opportunity exciting.” I had to scan back to see what I had missed. While I was not remotely qualified or interested in the job, the writer had done little to leverage the written word to create interest, capture my imagination, or cause me to think critically if the job was a fit for me.

Go to your competitors and read their job postings. As you read consider how they use the written word to paint a picture of their jobs, position their opportunities, and pay particular attention to how you felt after reading. Writing well can create a compelling call to action. For some, it may be to Apply Now. For others, it may be Keep Looking. Either way, you win.

Talk to Me

Technology has made it easy to speak to candidates. One-way messages to educate and guide a candidate’s thinking about your company and your jobs can enhance the candidate experience your web delivers. Ease of deployment has opened the door for multi-media resources such as streaming audio with still images, or high definition video are relatively easy to deploy on career pages now. It is essential to invest the time and talent to craft messages that offer a balanced and candid overview. Candidates have the ability to discern between marketing hype and meaningful content.

YouTube is a treasure trove of highly practical and deplorable examples of how to use media to talk to your candidates. Search: Realistic Job Preview. Watch a few from a candidate’s point of view. Ask yourself – How realistic? What seemed to be missing? How was the balance regarding demands, challenges, rewards, satisfiers, learning curve issues, and so on?

Let Me Try It

Candidates are beginning to expect more than words and videos. They want a more dynamic exchange from the employment process. With the stratospheric applicant to hire ratios, human interaction has been eliminated for all but a few of the most qualified applicants. Job simulations can deliver a job-specific candidate education and evaluation experience as challenging as the job and as unique as your brand.

Simulated job tasks can deliver a highly engaging, interactive candidate experience. Candidates can take the job for a virtual test drive. They learn a great deal about the position. You get a work sample. When adequately developed with validation analysis, the work sample may be able to predict critical elements of on-the-job performance.

Candidate testimonials about simulations suggest they feel better equipped to decide if the job is right for them. Recruiters are better able to compare candidates and identify those individual better qualified to perform the job. it’s a double win.

While the adoption rate for simulations is still low, the technology for developing and deploying simulations is well developed. To learn about companies that have implemented a simulation, visit our website to read about the Virtual Job Tryout.

Blog Away

Reading what is on the mind of potential co-workers and hiring managers is of moderate interest to candidates. This may be due to the content being less about the job in question and more about the company or projects in general. Still, blogs are a form of communication that can have strong messages about career possibilities.

Cartoons are for Kids

Animations and cartoons were rated the lowest by candidates as a valued format for learning about the job. Candidates take their career search seriously. A medium associated with games and kids may not convey the level of professionalism a job seeker expects in their candidate experience. The message here may be to leave the animations to the gamers and Saturday morning television programming.