Empathize with Candidates, Make Better Hires

May 17, 2017 | Alan Mellish | HCI
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Every recruiter wants to hire engaged, super-talented employees (even if it’s only to get their hiring managers to leave them alone). The problem is there aren’t enough geniuses to go around. This has always been a problem in talent acquisition, and it’s about to get worse.

Standing out in a crowded field.

In a soon to be released HCI research study, 77% of respondents report that the volume of open positions at their organizations has either “somewhat” or “greatly” increased. That means more competition between you and other employers to scoop up all the high-performing brainiacs out there. When a scarce supply meets an increasing demand, it’s time to start rethinking how we get things done.

Is your candidate experience holding you back?

If you’re losing high quality applicants to other employers, it might be time to revisit and redesign the way you attract, engage, and hire talent. Poor communication, mismatched branding, and unnecessarily burdensome processes are just a few of the factors that can harm your organization’s access to great talent. Think about it, if your candidate experience is on par with regional air travel, the most talented in-demand applicants probably aren’t beating down your doors to work at your company.

We at HCI believe that principles of Design Thinking can rapidly improve your organization’s candidate experience and, by extension, the quality and quantity of your candidates. This focus on Empathy, Ideation, rapid Prototyping and Testing is intended to help teams and entire organizations develop better solutions at a greater pace than traditional approaches to product development.

Eat your own dog food.

For example, the Empathize stage of Design Thinking might lead you to “mystery shop” the hiring process and apply for a job at your company under an assumed name. We’re willing to bet you’ll notice opportunities for improvement immediately. You’ll notice how difficult it is to upload a resume or discover that your job descriptions are confusing. Do your candidates get a dull as dishwater e-mail used by every employer with the same ATS as you? Or do they get a communication that reflects the culture and employment brand that your organization wishes to project in the marketplace? Developing a sense of empathy with the end user is essential to improving any process or piece of technology.

Design thinking improves key talent outcomes.

What kind of results can you expect from applying Design Thinking to rethink your recruiting efforts? In that same upcoming HCI study (look for official release at HCI’s Strategic Talent Acquisition Conference ), we found that organizations using principles of Design Thinking were 32% more likely to report a strong talent pipeline for business critical positions.

These organizations were also significantly more likely to report high levels of employee engagement. This suggests that Design Thinking can improve the employee experience as well.

 Want to learn more about human-centered approaches to your talent challenges? Sign up now for HCI’s 2017 Innovation@Work Conference.