Recruiters’ fear of transparency blocking real-time engagement
Shortlist Thursday 25 July 2019

Recruiters now have the ability to give applicants and candidates real-time updates in the vein of Uber and other platforms, but many are shunning this option out of fear of transparency, says JobAdder CEO Brett Iredale.

“Why aren’t we transparent with jobseekers? Why don’t we treat it like UberEats? When you order your Uber, you can track it and see exactly where it’s at,” he says.

Showing applicants how they are progressing through the recruitment process – such as whether their CV has been viewed – is a capability applicant tracking platforms can already automate, he notes.

“There is a lot of information we can reveal to them, but we don’t, because we get the feedback that’s not what [recruiters] want,” says Iredale.

“We need to be thinking about this, because every single other industry that you can think of… is working towards complete transparency with their customers.

“Why do we keep everything so close to our chest, and what can we do to start thinking about revealing?”

Presenting at a recent Captain’s Table event, Iredale said he understands the concerns recruiters have about increasing the transparency of the recruitment process to applicants and candidates.

A common objection to increasing transparency is the lack of time, he says.

Many recruiters also see the process as too fluid to implement an Uber-style model, because they don’t want to “show their hand” too early.

“You might move people through a few different stages before you settle on someone. For example, I like someone today, I’ll put them in my longlist. Tomorrow I’ll re-read it and I won’t like them, so I’ll take them out. And I might go through that process a couple of times before I settle on a shortlist.”

But being able to demonstrate an application has at least been viewed by someone is valuable information, he says.

In most cases, if a person has taken the time to craft an application, write a tailored cover letter, and do their research, “they deserve more than a generic email, even if they’re not appropriate [for the role]”.

Executive buy-in determines candidate experience
Candidate experience is “absolutely an executive initiative”, Iredale says. “This has to be a top-down mission, coupled with training and education. If you don’t do those things, there’s no tool on earth that’s going to solve this for you.”

Many recruitment agencies, for example, do not have a dedicated candidate experience manager, he says, but it certainly warrants clear ownership within the business.

“It’s not a new job; there will be someone in your company – a receptionist, administrator, someone who has time. Make it their job.”

Iredale says HR and internal recruitment teams do try extremely hard to improve candidate experience but many still don’t have the executive buy-in to support them in their efforts.

“There’s a massive disconnect I see between what executives are saying at the boardroom table, and what they feel [about] talent acquisition and HR. We’ve got to look at where HR reports through to. Does it report to the CEO, for example?

“We’ve been reading some good research about how companies are structured, and if the HRD is not reporting directly to the CEO, is [HR] really a high priority within the company?”

Testing the process
Most organisations (agencies and employers) are clearly not testing out their own application processes to understand what their candidate experience is like, Iredale says.

While it’s difficult to place a precise figure on how many companies do test out their candidate journey, “from what we’re seeing, it’s less than 5%”, he says.

The overall candidate experience isn’t just limited to digital and phone communications, but the physical world as well, he says.

“We’re so encased in our virtual world now, we’ve stopped thinking about what the experience is like of hopping into a lift to come into your meeting room, going to the interview. The physical stuff is every bit as important, so let’s think about that.”

Along with the need for more communication with candidates, Iredale urges recruiters to shed their reticence about using video.

Producing videos doesn’t require the expensive software that many assume, he says, and “it’s incredibly engaging” for candidates.

“Stop using time and expense as an excuse – that doesn’t [cut it] anymore. Personalise everything you can. Look at every touch point and personalise it.”