The fluidity between the customer experience and the candidate experience should be seamless. As an individual moves from one identity to the next, they should be supported and engaged the entire way. Your customer base is one of your best resources for new hires; as you reach into the customer pool to source new candidates you want to ensure they are receiving the same service excellence that they receive as a customer. After all, they have come to know your organization for a certain level of expertise and customer service, so why not carry it forward and deepen their connection to your brand.

The mantra “The customer is always right” holds that superior service should be provided to the customer, even when they are wrong, to ensure repeat business and brand loyalty. This same philosophy should be applied to your customers who seek opportunity for employment. By providing the same standard of excellence, you are ensuring that you don’t lose their business, even if they are not chosen to move forward in the selection process.

The notion that “The candidate is always right” might make some uncomfortable, particularly when thinking about the fact that only a miniscule percent of applicants are ‘right’ – right for the job, right for the company, and right for the current need. But if we shift our thinking just a little, it’s easier to embrace the notion. The applicant – not just the candidate – IS always right. Right in the sense that they too deserve respect and a little attention to let them know you appreciate their interest.

Three Steps to Providing a Standard of “Candidate Excellence”

Providing your candidates an experience that is on par with that of the customer experience is easy when they are sitting in front of the hiring manager for an interview. Two-way communication, information sharing, and a personal connection is developed. But this is so far along in the process, it’s pretty much at the ‘buying’ stage that a customer would be in. Don’t wait to provide an excellent experience; create it right from the start. Talent communities allow you offer this experience the moment a person signs up as a member. It is the digital experience for a candidate that would be equivalent to a customer walking in the front doors of your establishment and being greeted by a staff member.

Talent communities provide an effective and engaging way to transition the relationship with your customers into candidates. With the right talent community platform, companies can push their brand and agenda in a non-invasive way, while providing an interactive and inclusive experience to members. They can drive two-way communication, connect with all applicants (not just those chosen to move forward), and provide a consistent experience. The experience should be reflective of the customer experience.

Provide real engagement with a two-way communication method

Current approaches of one-way communication with email blasts and job announcements are impersonal and spam-like. Rather, offer conversations between your organization and your talent audience on topics that matter to both your company and your prospects, sharing insights, interests, and skills. Deliver the information that they want to know about your company that will help them make a better decision about working for you, while you can gather valuable insights about each person to help you make informed hiring decisions.

Create an environment that embraces all prospects

This approach connects well with the “candidate is always right” philosophy. Even when an applicant is a poor fit, they shouldn’t receive any less of an experience than the ideal candidate receives. An equal playing field means that those who are not selected still felt heard and valued, and will walk away from the experience feeling positive. That positive experience reflects kindly on your company and would not deter them from continuing on as a customer of your business.

Provide a continual and consistent experience

Connect with your talent audience in that way that is not dependent on a specific job opportunity, but rather on a relationship with your brand. Don’t let applicants drop off into the black hole because they either are not a successful candidate or they haven’t found a current position they are interested in. Instead, develop relationships that are ongoing, that keep interaction fun and easy, and that offer benefits other than immediate employment. Reward your members with insider information, pre-sale access to goods, and even discount coupon codes. Encourage not just the applicant-employer relationship, but the consumer-company one, to help nurture brand loyalty.

Your candidates deserve a standard of excellence the same way your customers do. Many businesses are so focused on providing an excellent customer experience that they forget to adopt the same level of service to prospective employees. While you are not going hire all of those applicants, they all have a credit card in their wallet with room for purchases from your company. Make sure they don’t tuck their credit card away and use it elsewhere.

Visit our blog again soon, as next week we will explore methods to tap into your current customer base to source top hires.