A CANDIDATE POSTCARD SENT FROM 2021.

Chris Raw
Chris Raw
Apr 29 · 15 min read

Overreach for the impossible. You never know what you might end up with.

This is more of a story than a postcard. I wrote this towards the start of 2018 when trying to challenge myself with a blue sky “what if” vision about a kick ass hiring experience where both humans and tech play a big role.

A great task to get you to visualise is to write a postcard to yourself from the future. I took it one step further and tried to write a story (or at least detailed description) that would help challenge our thinking in HR and Technology to put candidates right in the middle of our thoughts.

Why am I sharing this now?

  1. I was asked to share it by a friend who has read it
  2. I want to share more stuff that I write
  3. This is not a perfect story. There are still many ifs/buts when I re-read this myself but these were first thoughts based on what I knew at the time of writing this and may benefit someone rather than pick up dust in my google drive.

In no uncertain terms, should we think this is an easy task to accomplish or even agree this is the right way to go, but it might stir up some thoughts, comments, challenges — all of which I am happy to discuss? What I know as the norm in 2019, quite frankly sucks, so don’t hate on a dreamer trying to think big about how things could be different. :P

For the purpose of making it sound more authentic as a story and not like a user manual, I used real names for chatbots. I also used Fashion Buying as the hiring role (as that was for many years my jam when hiring). I also used fake company names to be completely impartial.

  • BERLINDA — Candidate Assistant bot
  • SIMONA — Hiring Manager Assistant bot
  • JOSEFIN — Recruiter Assistant bot
  • Teresa — Fashion Buyer / Candidate
  • Matthias — Recruitment Coordinator / Candidate Concierge
  • Klaudia — Recruiter
  • Charlotte — Hiring Manager
  • Bob — Interviewer 1
  • Lena — Interviewer 2

…Are you sitting comfortably? (this is an epically long read)

Now let’s begin.

Teresa is a buyer at BEST CLOTHES LTD. She is flicking through Instagram and finds one of their people stories and is excited and inspired by a story of a Claire, a Buyer at SUNDAY CLOTHING. Teresa researches further information about Berlin and their office from their careers site and makes the bold decision to apply for a Senior Buyer role at SUNDAY CLOTHING.

Teresa submits her CV and Portfolio with ease via the careers website and is invited to take an interactive tour of the department through a pre-filmed interactive video exploring the department in the way she wants to. She can also ask some questions about the role along the tour. In the end, she then receives a message via email thanking her for her interest, a suggested timeline of events, what to expect next. She is also invited to connect with BERLINDA, their dedicated candidate Chatbot where she can ask questions about the role and gain exclusive content that gives her further insights into the job role, team and company. BERLINDA acts as a concierge and can also book directly an appointment with the dedicated recruiter or ask the hiring manager a direct question using their slido integration. Teresa uses BERLINDA to find out more around the Berlin lifestyle and relocation. She is also curious to find out about her potential role, so asks BERLINDA to pass on a question around differences between the UK market and working at SUNDAY CLOTHING.

The next day, BERLINDA delivers a push notification to Teresa phone with a note to check her email. Teresa has not only got an answer to her question, but she also received a transcript of the other questions asked by other candidates as well as the answers from the hiring manager. Teresa feels she has some extra insights that give her confidence.

BERLINDA reaches out to the Teresa and delivers a message to say she has been selected for a getting to know you call, with the dedicated recruiter, Klaudia. Teresa gets to pick some time slots within the chatbot interface that are free and ready in Klaudia’s diary. Teresa selects a time and receives the details of the appointment, as well as some info and tips on what to expect, and what kind of preparation would help her present her best version. Teresa is excited, confident and feeling ready for this next step.

Teresa was busy on a work trip so quickly scanned through the links but made sure she listened to the 2 min SoundCloud interview prep link the recruiter team produced. Teresa was happy that she had content that she consumes on the move and a nice break for her eyes.

Klaudia rings on time. She is in a soundproof booth with plenty of light. She is warm, friendly and approachable. Teresa is nervous but Klaudia puts her at ease by building a rapport with their love of shopping. She explains again the purpose of the getting to know you interview and away they go. To loosen up Teresa’s nerves, they have a little ice breaker question e.g. what was the last essential item you bought for yourself? Teresa answers this with ease and is settled. She is ready for the next questions. She remembers the advice from the podcast about using examples to back up her answers and uses the advice during the interview after sketching some notes on her phone whilst she prepared for the interview.

Once the interview call is finished, Klaudia feedbacks instantly as she was convinced by Teresa confidence and clear examples are given. She mentions that they will be looking to interview a short list of candidates via a video interview with the hiring manager within the next 7 days and to expect a prompt again from BERLINDA to arrange a date. She also mentions that BERLINDA will deliver some top tips and insights to help her with the hiring manager.

Teresa returns to work feeling great and is excited about the next step. She knows that she will be contacted within the next 7 days.

Whilst Teresa waits for a time slot, BERLINDA is sending some articles about nice culture topics at SUNDAY CLOTHING. She was inspired to know how many volunteer hours they give away as well as some info on the new brands they have just signed up on their platform. A few days later, she gets a prompt to give her availability. She is impressed at how easy and quick it is to book an appointment.

BERLINDA sends a PDF document via a docsend integration where she can view some content on what to expect for the HM interview and some top role facts like budget spend, key trends they are pushing. There is also an interactive quiz about bestseller trends from the previous season to help create an icebreaker with the hiring manager.

The hiring manager, Charlotte calls Teresa ​on time and introduces herself, what she does and why she joined SUNDAY CLOTHING. Teresa is fully locked in and is inspired to impress. She answers the questions accordingly and with vigour and confidence. Teresa is given the opportunity to ask questions. Whilst she is a little shy, in the background, the hiring manager got a list of prompts back from docsend about where Teresa read the pre-read pdf document and uses this info to fill in the gaps and create understanding about topics within the document. Teresa had spent a long time looking at the relocation page so Charlotte was happy to share her experiences of moving to Berlin. Teresa leaves the call even more excited and inspired. She really wants this job.

Charlotte believes Teresa is a good match for the brief. She passes the feedback through to SIMONA — her dedicated hiring manager assistant which connects to the Greenhouse scorecard. She simply selects the button to add feedback along with with @tagging the candidate name and job role. Charlotte also has the options to create voice notes from SIMONA that parse into the fields to help make things easier when travelling with work. Klaudia is looped into the feedback due to a workflows flag within her notifications. She receives a push notification, SMS, and/or email to tell her feedback is in the system.

SIMONA talks to BELINDA. BERLINDA reaches out to Teresa and can see she has been selected for an On-site experience. BERLINDA explains the next steps and outlines what info is important to capture from Teresa in order to arrange the interview. Teresa selects a day from the three options. She is then informed about the interview plan, what to expect, what she should think about preparing, and the hiring team with links to their LinkedIn profiles. This is important for Teresa as she wants to feel like she can get to know the team. She is also given an outline of what they are likely to test so that she can prepare accordingly. Teresa appreciates the transparent approach to help her be at her best for the interview day. BERLINDA requests her details for booking accommodation and flights to Berlin. Teresa picked a Thursday for the trip. BERLINDA was clever enough to ask the questions about previous stays in Berlin and suggests taking an extra day so she can get a feel for the city. BERLINDA requests the booking via Egencia and then sends an approval request to Klaudia. Once confirmed, everyone gets an appointment, and agenda from BERLINDA/SIMONA. Each interviewer knows what part of the job they are asking questions of Teresa. Everyone is aligned.

In the days before the appointment in Berlin, BERLINDA gets in contact at the request of Klaudia to arrange a catch-up call to help prep and coach Teresa. Klaudia believes that candidates who get to onsite interview are most likely good enough for the job role — and therefore, to help Teresa be at her best, she wants to align with her about what her expectations are, and what Teresa might be worried, nervous or even excited about. Teresa books the call through BERLINDA, and a date is set. Klaudia calls Teresa. Teresa is anxious about the presentation task that has been set. Klaudia shares tips from previously successful candidates on how they approached the task and relaying back tips on how to prepare yourself in an interview presentation. Power poses for relaxing was one and Klaudia shares a link via the hangout chat feature. Klaudia also talks through the process of answering great competency based questions and informs her that there may be a roleplay exercise. Teresa feels empowered as it feels like SUNDAY CLOTHING are doing everything they can to secure her and help her be at her best.

It’s the day of the interview, Teresa arrives at the head office a little earlier with help from BERLINDA as it calculates the quickest route from Tegel Airport. Using beacon technology to automatically sign in the candidate at reception via BERLINDA, Matthias gets a prompt that Teresa has arrived by push notification, SMS, or email. As there is time, Matthias takes Teresa to the Reimagine room. This is a room filled with SUNDAY CLOTHING artefacts. Key moments in their history as well as showing off the products that they make at SUNDAY CLOTHING and buy for the category. Teresa can interact with the product whilst the 2nd beacon prompts her to give feedback on the products and add an opinion. Matthias takes the time to sit with Teresa for the 1st 15 minutes in the interview room and they chat informally over coffee and Matthias pumps up Teresa for the 4 hour interview day. She points out where the facilities are, and gives her a lunch token for their onsite restaurant, where she can take a break on her own / or with one of her prospective teammates. The refreshments within the interview room are prepared as Teresa notified us via BERLINDA her preference for Club Mate. Matthias gets a prompt that the 1st interviewer is on her way. Matthias finishes up and points out a feature within the app where she can @tag Matthias using BERLINDA to get a message to her. Matthias is a concierge and is there to make sure Teresa is comfortable and has everything she needs.

The 1st interviewer (Bob) introduces themselves, what they do and why they love working at SUNDAY CLOTHING. They also make sure to ask a question about the product from the Reimagine Room. Teresa shares her opinions and they chat about it before going into the assessment. The interviewer, Bob sets the scene and runs through the agenda for the day and what kind of questions he will ask. This puts Teresa at ease and gives her clarity and understanding.

The 2nd interviewer, Lena gets a prompt via SIMONA to go to the interview room. Lena heads there and has a smooth handover and friendly exchange with Bob and with Teresa. Again, Lena sets the scene *the why*, offers refreshments or bathroom break and when ready asks her questions. Lena is taking a different segment of the role and asks different questions so that they do not double up on questions. Teresa notices that all of the questions are challenging her as they are focussing on key parts of the role. Through her previous insights from SUNDAY CLOTHING, Teresa feels she has the inside track to do well.

The 3rd interviewer, Charlotte (Hiring Manager), gets a prompt via SIMONA to go to the interview room. This is discreetly sent from Lena via SIMONA. Lena has actually finished her interview slightly earlier than usual. Charlotte was not ready, so Lena stays with the candidate and offers Teresa the chance to ask any questions about moving to Berlin as it was flagged by SIMONA, and Klaudia as a concern for Teresa. Teresa asks about area’s to live and how long it takes to get into the office. Lena informs Teresa of the possibilities and some advice on what kind of things to expect in the first few weeks of the role. Lena now pings Matthias that her interview is about to end. Klaudia is already waiting outside the interview room and is invited in by Lena. Matthias greets Teresa.

It’s now lunchtime — and Teresa has opted to take lunch alone as she wants to use this as an opportunity to go through her presentation and the notes prepared from her coaching call with Klaudia, one last time, so Matthias drops off Teresa at the Onsite restaurant. The queue is huge, but thanks to Teresa’s VIP pass within the candidate experience app, she has a queue jump. This takes the stress out of lunch as it gets quite busy. Teresa is thankful she can get a taste of the culture, as well as a taste of the day in the restaurant. She starts to feel a bit SUNDAY CLOTHING and starts to imagine herself in the role. She feels strong, confident and ready to run through her notes one last time, before seeing Charlotte, whom she met in the video interview round and her future boss. Matthias picks her up and surprises her with a tour of the building to see more of where she will work. Along the way, SUNDAY CLOTHING’s beacon technology start to push content directly to Teresa’s phone telling her where she is in the building. Matthias mentions that this was a lifesaver for her when she first started. Not only to find herself around the building more easily but also who sits where so she could find people easily too. As they walk across the 3rd floor, they arrive at SUNDAY CLOTHING and directly on Womenswear. This is the department where Teresa would work, and there is a little surprise waiting in the kitchen. CAKE. Not just any cake, Candidate Cake. Matthias then hands her over to Charlotte who is there with some of her team to greet Teresa and tell her about the plans of the department. Each of the team members chips in on what they are working on and how they would work with Teresa in the role. After some coffee and cake, Charlotte takes Teresa back to the interview room. Teresa feels relaxed, and also pumped to perform well.

Charlotte arrives and thanks Teresa personally for taking the time to apply for her vacancy. Charlotte officially kicks off the interview with a deeper introduction, explanation of why the role is available and what she is looking to get out of the interview with Teresa. What capture Teresa imagination, is the fact that the role is due to internal promotion. She instantly sees that this is somewhere that really helps career development. Charlotte asks Teresa to take her through the powerpoint presentation and opens up with a question of what did you like about the task? Teresa uses this as an opportunity to showcase her passion for researching the latest trends. A great buyer should be totally focussed on the product. Charlotte is pleased with the answer and Teresa starts to present. She remembers the advice that Klaudia passed on and calms her nerves with the power pose tip. After the presentation, there is a role play to look at influencing the designers and merchandisers to come together to back a trend. Teresa remembers that she was told about this from Klaudia and used her tips to practice role play preparation so is not fazed by the process. Charlotte uses the closing part of the interview time to “close the role” to Teresa. Charlotte made a mental note that Teresa is someone she would like to potentially hire after the interview and takes one last opportunity to explain the why and where it could take Teresa, once again referencing the reason why the role is available. Teresa feels wanted. She has another application with a rival company but feels that due to the preparation, coaching, and efforts made from SUNDAY CLOTHING — this is her number 1 company to work for. The interview finishes with professionalism, courtesy and with respect for each other as specialists in their field. Teresa admits to Charlotte that she found the task and interview process challenging but rewarding. She enjoyed it. Charlotte then notifies Matthias via SIMONA and Matthias picks up Teresa.

As Teresa is walking with Matthias, they pop back down to the front desk, where a small gift is waiting for Teresa. It’s a SUNDAY CLOTHING Box — filled with a guide to Berlin, StilInBerlin Map, SUNDAY CLOTHING Lookbook, and voucher code to spend at SUNDAY CLOTHING for 40% off (just like an employee). Teresa is taken aback but gladly takes the gift. Matthias then thanks her for her time and mentions that we take hiring seriously and as such, they welcome feedback either via BERLINDA or via an email link that will be sent out to her within the coming days. They want to be different from others, and they need feedback to improve. Good and Bad :)

Teresa is more than happy to fill out the survey as she really believes that SUNDAY CLOTHING has pulled out all the stops not only to make her feel welcome but also to make her feel wanted, make her feel like a customer. Highly valued and appreciated. She goes back to her hotel, with her map of Berlin, tips on great places to eat and looks forward to chilling out with a glass of wine to reflect on the day. She does this with a cheeky thought to what if….and with a renewed vigour, She has decided she must work at SUNDAY CLOTHING. Even if she is unsuccessful, she has decided that she wants to be here.

Teresa gets a message from BERLINDA — her virtual assistant to contact Klaudia. But not to worry as its good news (insert smiley emoji). Teresa is quite excited and because of the discreet prompt, manages to slip away and contact Klaudia. Klaudia congratulates Teresa and thanks to her for her time and efforts during the interview. She is delighted to share that she has got the offer. Klaudia asks for feedback on the process and how she felt she did, and requests to book another time so that they can go through the details more formally. Teresa is appreciative that she can get back down from her happy cloud so that she can compose herself and not panic about negotiation. In the background, Klaudia has prepared a draft offer so that we close the candidate quickly. This has been drafted by JOSEFIN based on the correct information that has been collected along the way, making the contract process a very easy process. Teresa books a time with Klaudia via BERLINDA. On the call, Klaudia gets BERLINDA to show a preview of the offer via Teresa’s Candidate Experience App, where Teresa can add comments. This covers off questions that she may have after the call, but the offer is great so through a two touch approval process, she confirms the information is correct, and then produces the contract through BERLINDA and digitally signs it through the DocuSign integration. Directly after signing the contract, BERLINDA automates a referral bonus special offer for her 1st 6 months at SUNDAY CLOTHING, as well as sending a 50EUR SUNDAY CLOTHING Voucher for her first SUNDAY CLOTHING work outfit. On top of this, they send a survey with prompts leading to their Glassdoor review site to tell the world about the hiring experience. Teresa is taken aback but takes the time out on her commute home to fill out the information, whilst gleefully smiling at the clothes she has just picked on the SUNDAY CLOTHING app for her first day.

Chris Raw

Written by

Chris Raw

Experience by design. Candid by default. Self confessed Recruitment, HR + Technology nerd. CS, CX, product strategy @ jobpal