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What the Founder of The Muse Wants You to Know About the Candidate Experience

By Kevin W. Grossman

digital candidate experienceWhen it comes to the candidate experience, many organizations act like acknowledgement and closure — a.k.a. the bare minimum — is good enough. All you have to do is tell the candidate you see them, and then tell them you’ll be moving on.

But organizations doing the bare minimum do so at their own peril, says Kathryn Minshew, founder and CEO of talent platform The Muse. She works with candidates and job-seekers, harnessing the power of technology to create a better digital candidate experience — and a better candidate experience overall. She shared two big tips every organization should consider when crafting their candidate experience.

Keep reading for more of our conversation, or check out my interview with Minshew on the CandEs Shop Talk podcast.

The Candidate Experience Is a 2-Way Street

We often think of organizations as the ones doing the vetting on candidates. But Minshew notes that assessment is a two-way street. “Companies [need to] understand and respect that the candidate is assessing you as much as you are assessing them,” she says.

To help candidates assess the organization, companies need to give candidates as many experiences as possible. Creating a digital candidate experience is incredibly important, as it’s typically the organization’s first touchpoint with a candidate. Try offering candidate-centered marketing materials for your own website or for sites that cater to job-seekers, such as LinkedIn and The Muse.

Remember to also embrace the possibilities of the digital realm. Multimedia, particularly video content like employee testimonials, can be enormously helpful. However, Minshew cautions that testimonials shouldn’t be treated as a simple marketing tool. Instead, have your employees tell their own unique stories in a way that can “highlight the attributes and elements of your organization that you can really lean into,” she says.

But the most important touchpoint for creating a two-way assessment occurs during the actual interview. Minshew recommends having your interviewers save five to 10 minutes at the end of every interview to ask candidates what questions they have. “It’s really powerful when employers acknowledge that candidates have agency and that candidates have choice,” she says. “Even a small amount of movement in this direction is highly recognized and appreciated by candidates.”

Use Technology to Make Long-Term Investments in Candidates

The candidate experience used to work much differently than it does today. Organizations were only focused on the short term: finding the best person for the job. “Your goal was to find the one needle in the haystack and discard the rest,” Minshew says.

She says organizations need to treat the candidate experience as part of a long-term plan. To best do this, organizations need to embrace digital tools to create higher-quality engagement with the candidate and to identify candidates for future positions.

There are tools available to scale important recruitment responsibilities such as responsiveness. Organizations can use ATS tools to send text messages or emails to candidates, and they can employ chatbot technology to get information to candidates quicker. This helps create a more human experience, Minshew says. “A single human would get exhausted and burn out” if they had to contact every single candidate for a position, she says.

Automated messaging, though, is not the only way to create a more human touch. Again, video is a powerful component in the digital candidate experience, and organizations should use it whenever possible, such as when introducing a candidate to a video interview system. Videos give communications a more personal touch. “It feels like a relationship,” Minshew says.