Head of Talent - SnapTravel
Fintros: Hi Brett, in today’s market, where large organizations and startups alike are constantly looking to improve the end-to-end recruitment process in an effort to reduce candidate churn-rates, can you point to one or two areas of the candidate experience that you see as needing improvement?
BR: Definitely! I think there are a lot of people and organizations that over-complicate the recruitment process, and in turn, the candidate experience. It all comes down to 2 things: transparency and follow-through.
For Transparency, be honest; be clear about what you’re looking for, clear when you give feedback, and set expectations for what the process looks like and how communication will play out. At SnapTravel, we outline the full recruitment process for candidates during our initial phone interview, and set the expectation that they’ll hear from us, at a minimum, every Friday afternoon. No candidate should go into the weekend without knowing where they’re at in the process.
For follow-through, it’s just about walking the walk after you talk the talk. If you say you’ll update the applicant within a week… update them within a week. Sometimes the phone call to disqualify someone sucks. Sometimes you truly don’t have an update. Doesn’t matter… you said you would touch base with them, so just do it, and be honest. They’ll appreciate it far more than if you ghost them or give them lip service.
Fintros: In your responsibilities at SnapTravel, can you speak about a few of the strategies that you have put in place to ensure an improvement in the overall experience of the candidates. Regardless of an applicant’s success, how do you ensure that an individual remains engaged throughout, at times, lengthy hiring cycles?
BR: For sure. The easiest one I can think of is to support the candidates that have made it through your recruitment process, but aren’t going to be hired. As Recruiters and professionals working in HR and People Ops, we are all pretty well-connected with other “People People”. Just because a star basketball player doesn’t make it onto the Toronto Raptors doesn’t mean that he isn’t an amazing athlete. Likewise, with candidates, if we won’t be moving forward, I try to offer to help them in their job search… two minutes reviewing a resume and providing feedback, a quick email to intro them to another Talent/HR pro, etc. These are small gestures that don’t take much time, but provide an exceptional experience and leave applicants engaged with your brand even after being disqualified for a role. Although they may not have been ready for the role now, this leaves them with a positive experience so they’re more willing to refer connections, or re-apply themselves in the future when they’re ready.
Fintros: Can you list a few of the technologies that you have implemented in your current workflow that help with the above?
BR: Having an effective Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is key. It lets you keep candidates organized, follow up quickly, and even set up automated communication to let applicants know where they stand in the process. At SnapTravel, we use BreezyHR, which is a light-weight solution that helps us to provide a quick, high-touch experience.
Another helpful tool is Slack. There are a multitude of Slack communities for HR/Talent folks, and these are a great way to help promote candidates. Recruiters can mention that they interviewed an amazing Front-end Software Engineer with ReactJS experience, and if they’re unable to hire them can try to connect that candidate with others looking for that same skillset in the area.
Fintros: Can you think of any technology that you would like to see developed that could help you in your efforts to perfect the candidate experience?
BR: One of the biggest factors harming candidate experience is when a candidate has questions and isn’t able to get the answers. Recruiters are busy, juggling many candidates simultaneously, and candidates often want to move quick and have their questions answered. An interesting technology is Chatbots that can answer simple questions applicants/candidates have about a role, recruitment process, company culture, etc. would be key!
Fintros: A piece of advice for hiring managers?
BR: Be honest! Hiring Managers have this mentality drilled into them by HR leaders and Legal departments that they can’t say this, and shouldn’t say that. They feel like they need to tip-toe around candidates, and are reluctant to give honest answers and real feedback. This doesn’t help anyone! If a candidate isn’t right for a role, let them know, and try to help them understand where/how they can improve.
If I was a candidate going in for a 60 minute interview, and the hiring manager knew after 30 minutes that I wouldn’t be hired, I wouldn’t want them wasting 30 minutes of both of our time finishing the interview just so I “feel good”. I’d much rather them interrupt the interview, tell me the truth, and then spend the last 30 minutes helping me understand where I can improve, how I can grow, and what I can do differently next time. This is a tough conversation to have, but when done properly everyone wins.
Fintros: Thanks Brett!