Treat Your Candidate as a Customer

February 17, 2020 Aon's Assessment Solutions

When managing your candidates, there is plenty to learn from marketers whose job it is to market to and nurture customer relationships. Here are some ideas.

Shift your mindset and adopt marketing principles.

By shifting your mindset and viewing candidates as customers of the organization whether or not they are actually consumers of your products, you will start to think of how you are portraying your brand.

Just as marketers understand and test out the presentation and positioning of a product and then segment their audience and target tailored communications to each group, recruiters can do the same. Understand the different talent pools you are focusing on, what is important to each, and how your brand offering will appeal to them. Convert this into your messages (and visuals) on you careers web page, the email communication and the process in general. For example, you may want to attract more female applicants. Check out how many women are featured in your illustrative case studies or images on your site.

Develop a great candidate experience

Just as a marketer maps out the customer journey and experience and examines it at every touchpoint, so do recruiters: they map out the candidate process. Indeed, designing a candidate-centric selection process is now one of the most important things to get sorted on a recruiter’s To Do list. Advances in assessment technologies mean that applicants get to complete short, easy-to-access, and obviously employer-relevant assessments.

However, the candidate experience starts before the assessment.

Think about the attraction strategy, your career pages and any insight you offer to the role via, for example, Realistic Job Previews.

  • Build in swiftness and feedback – and make sure the entire process is well-choreographed. Stand out from your competition by offering your applicants something that others are not giving; a personalized report on their assessment scores, suggestions for next steps or ideas for professional development. Investing resources to give something back even to those not successful in their job application strengthens your employer brand.
  • Make it an intuitive, mobile-friendly process. Most applicants search for jobs on mobile devices so make your process clear, accessible and easy to work through on desktop and mobile.
  • Communicate consistently and clearly. The key to building any brand is consistency in the message. Use the same language, tone of voice, don’t leave it too long between touch points with your candidates and always use the language that reflects your brand.
  • Solve any issues and address concerns as they arise. Don’t let issues fester or go unresolved. If you get feedback about your process, accept it and see how you can learn from it.

Think about how you reject

Marketers and customer experience professionals make sure that they look at how they manage any disillusioned customers by defining easy returns and cancellation policies – always treating the customer with respect and politeness.

Similarly, top hiring organizations understand the importance of rejecting unsuccessful candidates respectfully, and in a timely fashion. It also matters when you turn a candidate down. Don’t take too long and always explain why you have made the decision.

Candidates will find rejection easier if you can explain clearly how the decision was made.

Why is all this important?

  • 62% of applicants satisfied with their candidate experience – regardless of whether or not they are offered a job - recommend the hiring organisation to others. Only 28% will do this if they experience a less satisfactory candidate experience.1

Candidates share their opinions more than ever

Candidates, just like customers, have the means to share almost instantly both great and not-so-great experiences of a hiring organization. Social media, as well as sites such as Glassdoor, make it easy for their opinions to reach a wide audience quickly.
A great candidate experience though is more than simply a way to avoid a poor experience being shared; a great candidate experience attracts talent, creates buzz and reinforces your employer brand values.

Treating your candidates like customers is not just the ‘right’ thing to do; it makes real business sense.

You can reach new talent

Creating a positive buzz about your candidate experience will also help your candidate sourcing efforts. We know that potential applicants check out what others say about your organization from others – and believe it more so than what you may say about yourself!

You demonstrate that you invest in your people

As well as getting the best talent for your organization, the hiring process lets your showcase your organizational culture and values – and what is important to you. The use of talent assessment offers huge insights into candidates for you – and for them. Take time to bring this to candidate’s attention and explain how career progression, development and career ownership works in your company.

If you would like to explore how we can design and develop a more engaging candidate experience, then get in touch.

To learn more about Candidate Experience, read our Whitepaper: The Elements of a Great Candidate Experience

1 Source: The far-reaching impact of candidate experience, IBM Smarter Workforce, 2017 -

About the Author

Aon creates smart measurement solutions with valid and innovative online assessment products. Aon is globally the preferred partner for organisations who demand the best.

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