Have you ever gone out to dinner and asked the server what they would recommend off of the menu? The whole experience can be pretty interesting. Sometimes, the server has no idea what to recommend because they haven’t actually tried anything on the menu. Other times, they’re reluctant because they don’t want to recommend something you might not like. And then there are the times you’re blown away by a great customer experience when a waiter confidently singles out two or three dishes to have.
It was this type of moment while dining out that sparked an idea for Chris Mulhall, VP Talent & Organizational Effectiveness at PointClickCare. Great customer service grows business, so why couldn’t the recruiting experience be any different?
“I realized when out to dinner with my wife that she always asked the servers what they would recommend,” says Mulhall. “In this case, she said, ‘If you had to choose between the shrimp tacos and the steak sandwich, which one would you choose?’ So the server thinks for a second, asks my wife some probing questions, and then says, ‘I’ve tried both options, but the shrimp tacos, it’s a ton of work to prepare. I’ve seen them. The seasoning is amazing! And if you love taking pictures of your food, the presentation is beautiful.’ That was all my wife needed to hear. So it worked out well for both sides. She ordered the shrimp tacos. She loved them. And then she left a really nice review on Yelp of both the server and about the experience.”
Here’s how Muhall turned the candidate experience at PointClickCare into one that feels like fine dining — and how you can, too.
PointClickCare is a software platform in the senior care industry. They create electronic health records, software for nursing homes, retirement homes, and home care agencies. They are headquartered just outside of Toronto, and have about 1,500 employees. PointClickCare will likely make about 500 hires in the next year, mostly for software development, customer operations, and sales roles.
1. Create a pre-interview correspondence template
A pre-interview email can go a long way to ensuring the interview is productive on both sides. After all, interviewing is a two-way street. Setting up candidates for success before they arrive doesn’t just make their life easier, it also saves your team time.
“First, you’ll want to cover a lot of logistical and tactical things in the beginning,” says Mulhall. “All that pre-interview anxiety that a lot of candidates go through, trying to get ahead of it and let them know that you’re on their side.”
Important details to include in your pre-interview email:
- Where to park if there’s no parking
- Meeting room location and directions
- Who they’ll be meeting with on the day
- Dress code and any other important notes
2. Make a candidate experience “What to Expect” video
This second thing to include in your pre-interview correspondence email is a video. Creating a video helps give candidate a visual of what it’s actually like to go through the first day. So instead of having to drive the day before and make sure they know exactly where they’re going, they can just watch the video. A video focuses their efforts on doing their homework. You’ll want to point them to both good and bad reviews on Glassdoor to help ensure they come prepared with any questions as well.
“The main goal here in the what to expect video and resources is to ensure they will be happy working at the company day in and day out. The more information you can give them to make that decision the better,” says Muhall.
Tip: Lever makes it easy to preload all these different correspondence templates and choose the one that’s right for you. You can store communication templates and automate them to send in bulk. This is especially helpful when you have multiple candidates applying for the same role.
3. Prepare your candidates AND your interviewers
On one hand, you’re encouraging candidates to go on Glassdoor and read some reviews, while on the other hand, you need to ensure that interviewers are ready to handle any questions that the candidate might have when they come in.
“You might want to create a ‘how to handle Glassdoor review questions’ guide,” says Muhall. This ensures that if candidates ask about the work/life balance or performance management or culture, that interviewees are prepared with their response. Just like the waiter was prepared to handle questions about the menu, you’ll want to ensure your employees can give their firsthand experience and shine a good light on your company.
4. Share regular updates where candidates stand in the process
If your dinner is delayed, or multiple people are deliberating on perfect execution in the kitchen, you would want to know. Your candidates are no different.
“At PointClickCare, that’s a really important step because if I look at the high volume roles, 20% to 25% of our hires come from candidates that have reapplied to the opportunity.” This low percentage shows that those that did not come back weren’t happy with their experience. It was clear that candidates wanted to know where they stand even if there wasn’t much of an update to share.
5. Implement “Followup Fridays” to reach out to silver-medal candidates
PointClickCare created the initiative called Followup Fridays, so that any candidate that was still in play in the recruitment process heading into the weekend would receive a touchpoint from the recruiter.
“What’s nice about it is if you have multiple candidates at the same status for the same req, you could send them all out in bulk to all the candidates at that same status,” says Muhall. This step also ensures that step #4 doesn’t fall through the cracks or get in the way of a recruiter’s workload.
6. Give actionable feedback to candidates in decline emails
So what are candidates looking for in the decline experience? “A candidate survey benchmark result, which surveyed nearly 200,000 candidates, noted that when candidates received job specific feedback, when they get declined, either at the interview or the prescreen stage, their rating of it being a great experience increases by 20%,” says Muhall. And that can go a really long way if you think about the impact to your Glassdoor scores and your employer brand as a whole.
At PointClickCare, they saw it as an opportunity for the company to do better (and better than their talent competitors) and figure out a way to give really meaningful and heartfelt feedback to candidates when they decline them.
“The first paragraph is pretty straightforward with the, hey, thanks for applying to PointClickCare,” says Muhall. “But it’s what comes next that matters most. The next paragraph we talk about the fact that unfortunately, they’re not the successful candidate for the job. And the key is to give some specific feedback: What they did really well, some of their strengths that they can continue to develop and exploit, and of course some of the areas where they fell short relative to the candidate that was successful for the job.”
“One of the great things about Lever is all the correspondences are housed in the system so if they do reapply, and it’s a different recruiter the next time around they can say, oh, I noticed that when we gave you feedback last year we talked about developing your skills in X, Y and Z,” says Muhall. “You can ask questions specific to what have you been doing over the last year to continue to develop in those areas. It also shows candidates that you’ve taken that feedback to heart.”
7. Measure metrics to track your progress
Implementing specific metrics has helped PointClickCare see a reduction in new hire turnover rates year over year over year. Also, giving a realistic preview has helped candidates decide if they want to opt in or self select out before taking the job.
Some good metrics to track when it comes to candidate experience include:
- New hire turnover rates
- The recruiting budget / role
- Employee referrals
- Recruiter efficiency
“We run a really lean recruitment marketing budget, so we rely on our employees to really act as brand ambassadors for the company,” says Muhall. PointClickCare relies a lot on driving referrals, going to recruitment events, and referring people within their network. And it’s so much easier to drive top of the funnel lead generation if people know others within that have had a really great candidate experience.
Interestingly, PointClickCare’s candidate experience initiatives have actually improved their recruiter efficiency. Friday Followups have given more consistency to the process. On the phone screen with a candidate, recruiters now mention that they’ll touch base on Friday. There’s less clutter coming into the recruiter’s inbox from candidates looking for a status update on Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday because they know they’re going to receive an update on Friday as far as where things stand. It also ensures recruiters focus on other tasks and block time Friday to dedicate to this.
Final Thoughts: A candidate experience that feels like fine dining
“The first thing to do is figure out what your 80/20 will be,” says Muhall. “You can’t do everything and need to determine what key things will help you stand out in comparison to your talent competitors. Second, figure out how to scale those candidate experience initiatives. So this is where you can look at how do you leverage technology to make a meaningful difference. For us, it’s been really easy with Lever to automate a lot of our correspondence and templates. And third, speaking of recruiters, none of this is feasible without the support and buy in of your recruiters. So when you’re interviewing recruiters, spend a lot of time interviewing them and asking about their perspectives on candidate experience and the initiatives they would put in place.”
To see Chris Muhall’s session at RallyFwd where he presented all these learnings, access the full 25-minute session here!