Last week, I described the “typical” candidate experience as a kind of pandering, a way to beg the candidate to “like” the company rather than as a means to intentionally incite and stoke an emotion within the candidate.
I’m not the first to complain that CX, when it is even considered at all, is thin enough to considered all but see-through. It’s a series of form emails and automated “Hello [firstname]” correspondence to create the theater of CX but without any heart or soul. It is facts and details about how to log into the interview, but not any reason why. It is a link to the interviewer’s LinkedIn profile but no mention of why they might be interested in talking to you.
And we call this an “experience.”
There are two major issues here, and they are related.
The first is that despite recruiters and sources being some of the most process-adverse people I’ve ever met, they love to force candidates into processes. That resume better have the information they expect to see (career stops with dates, education, skills, power words, etc) or it will float to the bottom of the pile. Application processes seem to be getting longer as we ask candidates filtering questions before we deign to look at the application. Applications are asking candidates what their salary expectations are without ever offering any sense of what the pay bands are.
Candidates are barbarians at the gate and it is only through the love of rigorous process can recruiters keep the hordes at bay.
That idea is directly connected to the second idea: despite the numbers and data around how many people are quitting and how hard it is to hire talent, companies still pretend they are in charge and can dictate terms. CX becomes the paint on the staged sets to make it look like companies care.
What does an experience feel like (please note the word “feel!”)? You tell me. What do you want a candidate to feel in the process? Do you want them to anticipate a meaningful conversation? Do you want them to feel like someone’s looking out for them? Do you want them to feel like they might belong? Or that a great opportunity awaits them? Do you want them scared or excited? Nervous or appreciative? This isn’t a trick or a rhetorical question. What do you want them to feel?
Now list ten things you might do (if money and time were no concern) to create that feeling. What would you say? What would you show? What would you share? What would you ask?
(For a master course on what it means to create an experience, take a look at Ann Hadley’s post
about her experience going to a restaurant in Oslo. “It was like mental ASMR. Triggered by an email.”)
With the right context, with the right timing and the right intention, a single email can make the candidate spend a minute or two daydreaming about what they can look forward to in the interview, or in the job. You can create a little more desire instead of a form letter. You can build emotional connections instead of just ticking a box.
So what do you want your experience to feel like?