Candidate Experience Matters

Being a candidate is hard.

You find a role. You get jazzed up. You spend a couple of hours perfecting your resume. You press submit. And you never hear back.

It’s no wonder people hate recruiters.

Over the past 6 months, my team & I have clarified what candidate experience means to us. We haven’t perfected our process, nor have we committed to adopting it forever.

One thing we do believe in is that action is better than no action, and often you just need to start!

At Relic, candidate experience means:

· Communication from Application through to Decision. Communicating with candidates is basic, yet, so many people skip it. If a candidate goes through the effort to apply on their #dreamjob, we can go through the effort to respond. We believe in responding to each & every candidate (usually within a week!) and over-communicating with our top candidates throughout the process.

· Onsite Experience. We prepare our candidates for interview day by explaining to them what to expect — and also what to wear! We’re a pretty casual office, so we reinforce to them that our interviews our conversational in nature — and that hoodies & jeans are a-okay! Throughout the screening process, we encourage candidates to be themselves. Candidates often feel hesitant in sharing and being “real” with employers. Our goal is to break down those barriers and reinforce with candidates that their goal should be to work for a place that appreciates who they are — inside and outside of work!

· The International “Wow.” From time to time, we fly in out-of-town candidates to interview at the studio. Our international “wow” includes leaving goodies in their hotel room pre-arrival, giving them time during their visit to relax & take a deep breath, and ensuring their visit is personalized to their interests. This might mean taking them for a beer, challenging them to the Grouse Grind or suggesting a walking tour of the West End.

· Post-Interview Feedback. We believe that candidates are the best source of information when it comes to improving our candidate experience. We have been experimenting with conducting candidate surveys, and starting in the New Year, we will be sending out a survey to all candidates who interview onsite.

· Being Human. From start to finish, we believe that people are people and we’re all in this together. We treat people like we would want to be treated — and that means honest conversations (#realtalk) and, sometimes, apologies!

Candidate experience isn’t rocket science. If you want to create an exceptional experience, begin by getting clear on how you communicate, how you treat people and how you want to be remembered.

If you’re looking for quick fixes to your candidate experience:

1) Revamp your Job Postings. 99.9% of job postings are boring (including the ones at Relic — we’re working on it!). Take a look at your job postings, remove the corporate speak and anything that translates to BLAH, then add a dose of your personality, culture and insight into what they can be part of (think problems to solve & projects to work on). Looking for inspiration? Buffer, Tesla, and Riot Games all have postings packed with personality.

2) Clarify Roles within Interviewing Team. Forget about formal training and keep the process simple. Prior to kicking off interviews, gather your interviewing team together for an easy breezy conversation to discuss who’s doing/saying what (ie. What is each interviewer’s goal? What do they need to find out?). Educate your team on what the candidate already knows (ie. your company’s “story” or history, the basics of the role, the dynamics of your team, etc). Your interviewing team plays a critical role in showcasing your culture and it’s up to you, to help set them up for success.

3) Set your Candidate up for Success. A couple of days before your candidate’s interview, drop them a note with their interview schedule, let them know who they’re meeting (include each interviewer’s LinkedIn profiles), provide them with directions to your location (include the name of your Receptionist) and challenge them to do some homework. You might ask them to research the company or think through a few topics (cultural/technical) that you know will come up.

4) Take your Candidate on a Tour of the Office. Kick off your interview with a tour of your digs. It’ll calm their nerves and start their day on a social note. Use the tour as an opportunity to introduce them to your ambassadors, showcase your culture and show them what a day in the life might look like! An office tour will often generate questions from your candidate about your company’s norms (ie. scrums/meetings, communication style, social events, etc) and will also provide an opportunity for your candidate to have a better understanding on if they’ll thrive working on your team.

5) Customize your Auto-Responses. If you have an ATS, you have auto-responses! And if you’re still using the templates that came with your ATS implementation, then you’re in every candidate’s bad books. Invest a couple of hours into improving your templates. This might mean aligning them with the “voice” of your company/brand, being honest about your process and/or personalizing communication based on role or team.

We believe in investing in candidate experience because we know that candidates may very well be our future employees, customers, or brand ambassadors. Word of mouth is powerful and the industry is small! Our ultimate goal is to ensure that every candidate has a positive interaction with our brand.

Whether a candidate is hired or not doesn’t matter — what does matter is how you treat them along the way.

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Jillian Walker — Director of Talent at Relic Entertainment. Fan of hustle & getting shit done. My #BestLife: running, eating clean, sweet tunes & exploring the great outdoors. You can find her online at @jillianwalker.

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