Let’s talk about blind spots. You know, those hard-to-see areas where problems lurk until it’s too late and they bite you in the butt. Blind spots are in your candidate experience right now. Even though you try to design an ideal candidate experience for your company, the integration of people and technology isn’t always perfect, and you can be sure there are problems that are out of view.
Candidate experience blind spots are a real issue because, while you may not see them, it’s almost certain that some candidates do. Talent that you’d love to engage with are being discouraged from submitting an application or considering your company for future job opportunities, or worse, are trash-talking your employer brand with anyone who’ll listen.
One blind spot that I’ve noticed with many employers is their welcome experience. I’m not talking about your new hire welcome experience during the onboarding stage. I’m talking about the very first time that a candidate introduces themselves to you: the Talent Welcome Experience.
Let me explain what the Talent Welcome Experience is and what you can do to provide a better first impression with your candidates that will deliver long-term benefits to your recruiting strategy.
What is the Talent Welcome Experience?
The Talent Welcome Experience is how you welcome candidates the very first time that they introduce themselves to you.
In recruiting, a candidate can introduce themselves to you in many ways, like:
- Joining your talent network
- Signing up for job alerts
- Chatting with your chatbot
- Messaging your Facebook page
- Texting your recruiting shortcode
- Creating a profile on your careers site or ATS
- Visiting your booth at a recruiting event
- Following your company on Twitter, and of course
- Applying for a job
Each of these ways is a contact point during which the candidate shares their contact information with you, such as an email address, mobile phone number or social handle.
Take a look at this list above to see if there are some contact points that you might be overlooking. Many employers are focused on improving what happens when a candidate applies for a job — and rightly so! — this is a super important time in a candidate’s journey. But as you can see, there are lots of other ways that candidates can reach out to you, often before they apply, and that’s why these might be in your candidate experience blind spot.
When a candidate initiates contact with your company by taking any of these actions, not surprisingly, they expect a response. How and when you respond is the critical opportunity, and it’s what defines your Talent Welcome Experience. A great Talent Welcome Experience is one that goes beyond a reply or simple confirmation to seize the moment to welcome candidates to their relationship with you as an employer.
A great Talent Welcome Experience is one that goes beyond a reply or simple confirmation to seize the moment to welcome candidates to their relationship with you as an employer.
Product companies do a great job welcoming new customers. They carefully consider every moment of your purchase experience, including how they communicate with you after you place your order to the unboxing experience when the product arrives.
I can think of so many positive consumer experiences I’ve had that start with a great welcome email. While these emails are automated, the best ones sound like they’re coming from real humans who work at the company. I particularly love it when the email is signed by an employee, whether that’s the CEO or a customer service representative. I can tell that’s a company trying to develop a relationship with me for the long term, and that approach instantly starts to build brand loyalty with me.
Now, when I compare my welcome experience as a consumer to what I often experience as a candidate, it’s pretty appalling. I’m always on the hunt for best-in-class approaches to share with the Rally community, which means I visit careers sites all the time and I sign up for lots of talent communities and job alerts. What I get back 9 times out of 10 is a reply, not a welcome. It’s a generic system message that disappoints me instead of delights me, typically lacking warmth and sincerity, never mind breaking all the rules of good email marketing.
But we can fix this! If you’d like to create a great Talent Welcome Experiences, the first place I recommend to start is by improving the automatic email responses that your recruiting systems already send.
Elements of a great Talent Welcome Experience email
A great Talent Welcome Experience email does 4 things well:
- Sender – The email comes from a branded email address that sets up a long-term relationship between the candidate and the company (more on this below)
- Tone – It is written with sincerity and awareness for where the candidate is in their journey (looking for a job is an uncertain time and we know the candidate experience can be frustrating), and with the employer’s brand voice (you’ve taken time to define your EVP pillars — are you living up to your values in how you communicate with candidates?)
- Expectations – The message sets an expectation with the candidate about when and why they’ll hear from you again (is the candidate signing up for a quarterly e-newsletter? will you send them other news and events? will they hear directly from a recruiter?)
- Call to Action – There is a clear next step that invites engagement so that the relationship can develop further (after they’ve read your welcome message, what would you like them to do next to continue exploring you as a potential employer?)
Here’s an example of one of my favorite Talent Welcome Experience emails. It comes from Eventbrite. They do a great job welcoming candidates who join their talent network (or “Britelist”), not merely confirming that they received the candidate’s request. Here’s what this welcome email does right:
The sender email address comes from Eventbrite; the message is personalized with the candidate’s name; the tone is casual and approachable which clearly aligns with their overall brand; it sets an expectation for future communications; and there is a call to action to visit the company’s careers site and to follow Eventbrite on social media. Well done!
Plus, the email allows candidates to unsubscribe and manage their communication preferences. This isn’t just email marketing best practices, it’s also the law (GDPR, CAN-SPAM, CCPA).
Caution: Check the sender address in your automated recruiting emails
Do you know what email address is used to send candidates automated messages from your ATS, CRM or recruitment marketing platform? Some good options are:
But here’s what not to do:
- An email that says “Do No Reply” anywhere in the message
This is not only one of my biggest pet peeves, it’s also a big no-no in email marketing. So is this:
This is a bad approach because the sender’s domain is the vendor, not your company. It means you aren’t building a good email reputation with your candidates, which means other emails that you’d like to send may not get through email filters as easily. I know a lot of vendors use these email sender methods, so be sure to ask when evaluating solutions.
Rolling out the talent welcome wagon
By thinking through all of the ways that a candidate might first reach out to you, you can overcome this common candidate experience blind spot and create a Talent Welcome Experience that becomes a recruiting advantage. Of course there are lots of first contact points, but you can make a big difference just by focusing first on rewriting the automated email messages that are coming from your recruiting systems. Let’s think like a marketer and seize this opportunity to communicate our employer brand values and build a long-term relationship with talent.
P.S. I know there are more great examples of Talent Welcome Experience messages. I’d love for you to share your examples with the Rally community so please get in touch with me!