have you tested how your candidate experience stacks up in the heated competition for talent?

June 18, 2015 Tania De Decker

“Good companies sell products, great ones deliver experiences.” This is the number one takeaway from almost every marketing conference this year.

With technology enabling candidates to search for jobs and undertake company research much like how consumers purchase products today, we see there is a demand for employers to build a strong candidate experience similar to how they approach their customer purchasing lifecycle and experience. Curious to find out what hiring companies in the Life Sciences sector are offering to delight potential talent, our Life Sciences specialists paid a visit to the career sites of some of the industry’s top players. With online search and social media driving even more traffic to company careers portals, they remain a primary source of information for job seekers across the globe. Coming back together, the team “unpacked” our online experiences, identified a few areas for improvement, and wrapped them up with the industry’s best practices as well as inspiration from the consumer world. And now we’re excited to present to you a new vision on the ideal careers site and candidate experience to attract the top talent in our sector.

less is more

Have you heard about ‘mobilegeddon’? With an average of 60% of online traffic now coming from smartphones and tablets, Google has responded by introducing updates to their algorithms to accelerate the shift to a post-PC world. Websites that look and perform better on mobile devices will be favored by the search giant and therefore rank higher in search results. Not sure how optimized your career site is for mobile viewing? Take Google’s mobile-friendly test.

Let’s take a look at content. When was the last time you read to the end of a full-page company description or filled out 20 fields to submit an application on your smartphone? We’re guessing the answer for most is never – and interestingly, a LinkedIn study I read says 40% of candidates say “I have stopped applying if their mobile application is not up to par. That alone tells you something about the company’s priorities and whether they are savvy.”

That’s why on our ideal careers site text-heavy content is a thing of the past. If don’t want to lose all of your important information, consider cutting it into bite-sized pieces. Another proven tactic we highly suggest is to give some of the content a makeover by recreating it in a more engaging and easy-to-consume format, such as video, infographics or even music videos. With culture and values playing such an integral role in attracting talent, one of our favorite inspirations in this regard comes from Bayer. Visiting the Bayer career site, you can’t miss their recruiting song, titled “It’s gonna be a good day”. The music video, featuring Bayer’s employees playing different roles in a rock band as well as in the organization, is an excellent way to showcase the company culture, but also challenges the impression of being a conservative environment the industry tends to give.

Next, we’ll prioritize the top three things we want candidates to complete on mobile – learn about the company, find vacancies, and most importantly, apply. One of the things we really noticed are long, complicated application processes and forms, which in a lot of cases are not mobile optimized. Our advice is to simplify the application process: how can you use social technologies to reduce the need for sign ups or to fill out discouraging forms. Integration of professional networks such as LinkedIn with application tracking systems and other smart technologies are all making it possible to give candidates an easy, one-click apply.

if content is king, delivering the right content is queen

Content, or engaging content specifically, is a critical part of our ideal candidate experience mix. We know it’s easier said than done; every talent acquisition expert is keen to crack the code of what entices today’s talent. We believe the best approach is to start everything with a candidate perspective, understand their needs and desires, and then deliver on those expectations. A good exercise we use is to constantly and honestly ask ourselves: if I were the candidate, would I be interested? And more importantly, would I take action?

If content is king, then delivering the right content is queen. To deliver highly-targeted messages in a cost-effective manner, we believe developing ‘candidate personas’ (like a marketing persona, a candidate persona is a representation of the goals and behaviors of a hypothesized group of talent) is a vital step you shouldn’t skip. Broad demographics such as age, education, work experience and geography are a good start, but far from enough. Deep insights into what motivates candidates, what makes them choose, stay with, or leave an employer, what are their career aspirations, and more, needs to be collected and included in your persona creation. Once you have all the persona profiles mapped out of the talent segments you want to specifically target, it’ll become more clear how you can customize the content and delivery mechanisms to meet individual interests.

Another great candidate experience example we came across is the career timeline on Johnson & Johnson’s jobsite. We probably all remember how nervous we were being fresh out of college, not knowing what career option to choose or path to follow. To address young starters’ concerns, Johnson & Johnson created a series of stories featuring some of their most aspiring employees and how they’ve achieved success through different career paths available at the company. Candidates can easily find their “fully-customized” role models matching their career interests.

As we’re wrapping up our ideal careers site and candidate experience review, we’d like to encourage companies in the Life Sciences industry look to employers that are successfully driving an exceptional candidate experience and learn from them. Also keep in mind, be it on a 4-inch smartphone or during a face-to-face interview, candidates should get a consistent, positive experience.

About the Author

Tania  De Decker

As Senior Vice President - EMEA for Randstad's Global Client Solutions, Tania works with Fortune 500 companies to develop and implement processes that improve and drive recruitment and retention solutions. Furthermore she is responsible for design and implementing customer strategies on a global level and liaise with all local operating companies belonging to the Randstad Group.

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