February 6, 2023

Why Experience Matters In A Turbulent Market

The experience of applicants is the baseline, yes. In today’s market, the applicant/candidate experience is starting to matter more…

We have a good sense that 2023 will be somewhat turbulent on the hiring front. Even if there’s not a true recession and interest rates come down, things have been hectic and turbulent since COVID, and the WFH vs. hybrid vs. remote talent debates will continue. Things might calm down a bit, but there will still be turbulence.

One of the big themes we see in lots of year-end content and TV hits is around how we should process a turbulent market. What matters? Where should recruiter teams be putting more attention, especially if they can’t spend as much time hiring and are losing contingent resources as a result?

In short: what matters and where do we need to be focusing attention?

Start with the average number of applications

An average corporate job posting gets 250-300 applications to it. For a well-known brand and a high-compensation position before the executive level, that might be 1,000+. That’s the employer's side.

An average candidate applies at between 21 and 80 companies before starting to get a wave of interviews, and if they’re desperate or lacking direct income sources, they may apply at 200+ in a week, easily – especially with the advent of “Click to Apply.”

These are big numbers. If you follow any theories about social media and psychology, you may be familiar with “Dunbar’s Number,” which posits that we can maybe maintain close to semi-close ties with about 120 to 150 people at a given time. A recruiter at a well-known brand has to deal with that eight times over – and then you need to again multiply by the amount of positions available that they’re sourcing and tracking. It’s a huge amount of people. It’s not manageable.

Now look at the path of a candidate

We’ve done some research on this and also talked to lots of job-seekers and people in TA / people who manage the back-end of corporate sites. Job-seekers very rarely go through the Careers page or Culture page unless the job is directly posted there, and even in that case, they don’t interact with anything on the page except for the job posting. They’re not necessarily watching videos or reading employee testimonials or anything else. Some do, but it’s very rare.

If you combine what we’ve established so far, you have lots of people applying to jobs, probably because they:

  • Need a job.
  • Want a new career.
  • Want to escape a crappy culture.

As they’re doing this process, they’re focusing on the job application and not really anything about the culture – at least not at this early stage.

So what are job-seekers wanting?

Uh, the job. Or at least the pre-screen or first interview.

And when you think about it that way:

So much of the money we put towards “employer branding” is a waste. It’s a compliance box-check that candidates aren’t altogether interested in.

What candidates want is:

  • A foot in the door/a discussion.
  • To be communicated with clearly and respectfully.
  • Some ideas of comp and hours/expectations.
  • Ultimately, the job.

Now, some people want to know all this stuff about culture and careers and DEI commitment and the founder’s history, and that’s great. But that’s not most people. Most people come to understand culture and DEI commitment themselves, once they’re in the door. What they want is a job.

And here comes the irony

You can spend a bunch of money on “employer brand,” but in reality:

Employer brand is completely determined by the bandwidth of recruiters.

If recruiters have no bandwidth and treat candidates like nagging also-rans, those candidates will hate the experience, flee, and go work for other companies. That means you lost out on some “dud” candidates (good), but you also lost some potential stars (bad).

If your recruiters have bandwidth, and can be respectful and transparent with candidates, and personalize the company’s story to their experience, well, that’s a great candidate experience – and a great employer brand. Simultaneously.

In a turbulent market, where candidates are always moving around looking for other options to escape the torment of a current bad boss or income disruption, which do you think wins out?

  • A fancy video about how you all are a family and attend baseball games together?
  • Respectful, contextual, personalized-approach recruiters?

It’s the latter.

And in times of turbulence, candidate experience means more than almost anything. Greetr’s platform brings clarity to the hiring process, instantly conveying updates to applicants with personalized messaging and creating a customized communication solution as they move through the different stages of the interview process. In addition, Greetr offers a rich content-module library and easy-to-implement engagement streams for recruiters, giving employers the ability to track progress, clearly deliver milestone messages, and supplement existing ATS platforms with seamless integration. Making the candidate experience a dramatic improvement.

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