I have some bad news. Your candidate experience—the process new talent goes through to apply for jobs and get hired by your company—is probably awful. And it’s scaring off a huge portion of the highest-performing marketing talent from your business.
Great marketing begins and ends with great marketers. But at a time when competition for sophisticated, cutting edge marketing expertise is at an all-time high, businesses are frequently throwing up obstacles that cut themselves themselves off from A-level difference makers. That’s steering exceptional marketers at all levels away from your marketing department and into the welcoming arms of businesses who have a smoother, more compelling candidate experience prepared.
Fishing from the Largest Pool of Great Talent
Got a mission-critical opening in your marketing department that MUST be filled by an absolute genius?
There’s two things you need to know about finding the best new candidates to add to your marketing team:
- They tend to already be employed somewhere. If someone is a consistent A-player that can prove their value, then smart businesses have already snapped them up and are making use of their talent and expertise. And in the rare instances where they’re laid off or resign, they’re able to find a new job quickly. There are exceptions, of course—plenty of active unemployed job seekers that are fully qualified. But the majority of the professionals who are ideally suited for your job are probably currently engaged elsewhere.
- They’re busy. If there’s one consistent thing I see about the best candidates that come through our marketing recruitment firm, it’s that they have a lot going on. They’re committed to doing a good job at work, they’re juggling a variety of family and friend obligations, they’re pursuing hobbies and passions and side projects. In short, they don’t have a lot of time to waste.
When someone is already happily employed and struggling to find time in a packed schedule, you already have your work cut out for you getting their attention and interest in your job. A frustrating, drawn-out, inefficient candidate experience is the fastest way to get overlooked by the best talent.
The Most Common Candidate Experience Killers
Ask anyone who’s been looking for work lately, and they’ll probably have horror stories to tell about how clunky and unintuitive it is to apply for most jobs.
Seriously, go to your company’s job board and try applying for one of the open positions. If you’re lucky, you can do it with just a few clicks and will get a quick response back. But more likely, you’ll have to jump through a lot of hoops, wrestle with frustrating technology and twiddle your thumbs for days waiting for any feedback—if you get any at all.
A candidate who is desperate for work might be willing to put up with all the B.S. But the “passive” marketing talent we’ve been talking about doesn’t have the patience or the need to tolerate it.
The candidate experience is a multifaceted process, and there are lots of opportunities for hiccups. But as someone who works in a marketing recruitment firm there are a few consistent weak spots I’ve seen that tend to be the worst offenders:
1. Outdated Application Systems:
Most online application systems are a nightmare for candidates. They have awful UI, they’re not mobile-responsive, they require meticulous, repetitive manual data entry.
43% of job applicants have to spend thirty minutes or more completing an average online form, and 10% spend more than an hour, according to research from the CandE Awards.
If you were giving your customers a user experience like that, they would abandon you in a heartbeat! Expect the same treatment from top passive candidates.
2. Bad Job Descriptions
Every good marketer knows the importance of a first impression. So it’s surprising that the first impression most people will have of your marketing jobs—the job the description—is so frequently inadequate. Too many published job descriptions today are out of date, sloppy, or just inaccurate. According to a survey last year from Software Advice, 90% of applicants reported that a weak job description is one of the biggest detriments to their experience (and 50% said that a bad JD could “significantly worsen” it).
You have a short window at best to catch the attention of someone in this premium pool of passive talent. When your job description has been recycled from a 5-year-old version of a similar-but-not-same job by an HR professional that doesn’t really understand marketing, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Take the time to create thorough, up-to-date, and engaging JD’s for your most important marketing positions.
3. Primary Contacts Who Don’t Get the Gig
Smart, sophisticated marketers want to be engaged with other smart, sophisticated marketers who can communicate on the same wavelength and appreciate their abilities. If your candidates are dragged through the hiring process by people who are out of touch with modern marketing or don’t really understand the purpose of the hire, they’ll quickly be turned off.
That goes for your internal or external recruitment team, the HR rep responsible for managing the hire, and even the interview panel. A weak link at any point that’s not able to speak your candidates’ language will scare them away in no time.