In-house vs agency – The value of the candidate experience
In-house recruitment teams in large corporate organisations, more often than not spend a lot of time and resource investing in each stage of their candidate experience. The impact of a poor candidate experience on their employer brand, and in the case of consumer-led business, their corporate brand, is a constant cause for concern.Could the same be said for recruitment agencies? The revenue target led culture of agencies can often mean seemingly ‘soft’ value add behaviours, such as candidate experience, are left by the wayside when pressured recruiters need to move on to hit the next month’s number.
Referral and redeployment
According to Bullhorn’s 2018 trends report, 20 percent of recruitment agencies place less than 15 percent of candidates on their next assignment. But in a market where one of the biggest challenges faced by recruiters is the talent shortage, this presents itself as a relatively easy win for agencies who can get candidate experience, referral and redeployment right, directly impacting the bottom line.
Who’s responsibility is it anyway?
One of the critical challenges Bullhorn’s report cites, is the question of who in the agency owns candidate experience? Some believe it’s the individual recruitment consultant’s responsibility, some believe it’s down to marketing, and others believe it’s a shared responsibility across the business.
In our experience of working extensively with both recruitment agencies and direct employers, it’s the responsibility of everyone in the organisation to create an unforgettable candidate experience.
Firstly, at board level, candidate experience needs to be seen as a critical priority to disseminate this message to the business. IT; to implement the most efficient technology to automate the candidate experience. Marketing; to build a brand that speaks to the target audience, engages them with the right messages at the right time and positions the agency as a trustworthy organisation that cares about both candidates and clients. Office support; a candidates experience of an agencies physical office needs to reflect those values and finally the individual recruitment consultants who are building the relationships with the candidates. They need to believe in the importance of the end to end experience, even after placement and deliver the best customer service at every single touch point.
So what can agencies do to get ahead of the competition?
According to Bullhorn’s report, agencies getting this right are relatively few and far between. This is a great opportunity for competitive advantage for agencies willing to place wide organisational importance on the candidate experience.
- Incentivising consultants not only on placements but referral and redeployment stats (measured via your CRM)
- Maintain human contact at every stage, especially after on-boarding right through, at least, to their first year of employment in their new role
- Continue to incentivise the satisfied candidate to make referrals on an ongoing basis, not just while you’re placing them
- Partner with specialists in the sector you operate in and offer to coach candidates
- Run competitions amongst great candidates in your CRM to win valuable training in their chosen field
- Map out every touchpoint of the candidate journey. From on and offline engagement, engagement with the hiring client and the channels of communication (which should be tailored according to the type of candidate you’re engaging with)
These are just a few suggestions from an endless list. The real value will come when agencies take the time to consider the target audience, think outside the box and come up with experience strategies that not only stand you out from the crowd but also reinforce your brand message at every stage.