Think Talent Experience 1st – Candidate Experience 2nd

Talent experience? What is he talking about this guy? Everyone else talks about Candidate Experience. Why is he calling it talent experience? Sheesh.”

Welcome to reality. Most people aren’t your candidates even if you want them to be. Most people are not even considering to become candidates in any of your processes even if you want them to be. One of the main problems is that the ideal ‘candidates’ are not even applying for your vacancies. Yes, I am talking about you as well. No matter if you have a strong brand or not. Everyone relish the same problems. The difference is only if you’re aware of this or not. That is all.

Google stated already in 2009 that despite they collected an entire 1,5 million applications per year, a mere percentage of those were relevant profiles. And then they did not even state whether that percentage were ‘ideal’ or even hired in the end. Giants with great employer brands such as Apple, Tesla, Google among others say that even them have it hard to make the people they really need apply for their vacancies. This because they most often are super passive.

What does this mean? It is very simple. It means that you are facing an ocean of talented people of which some have amazing profiles for your requirements and some others have great potential – but most of those are not even looking at your jobs. This is why you risk focusing on the wrong things if you ‘solely’ is going to look over your candidate experience. As the word implies it does mean that you need to focus on what a job candidate experiences. This is naturally true and very important. But it is only a part of your entire talent experience.

What is talent experience then?

Your talent experience is everything an individual experiences, feels, understands and recognises when coming in touch with your company overall – not only in the recruitment process. And no, it is not ‘only’ what an individual experiences when coming across one of your employer brand activities planned on corporate level. It goes beyond that.

Today, you don’t own your employer brand experience fully. You can only affect the direction, its message and impact. But your people own it entirely. And this is key to understand that what used to be an employer brand strategy needs to develop into a whole talent experience.

Everything you do becomes part of the impression someone get of your company. What your CEO say in an interview about the industry, how the company are described in the news, how the business results are, how shareholders are handled and communicated with, how employees are handled and what they say about the company in various channels, how clients describe the experience of dealing with the company, how partners describe you, how your employees are described by their network etc.

All this becomes part of an impression of the company and every time we consider if the company is interesting to work for, all of these or a few of these variables are taken into account – depending on who the person is.

A conversation can go a little like this:

Person 1: “I saw an update on Teslas new roof tiles yesterday on Facebook. It seems as they are progressing their environmental thinking, right? I was very impressed. I thought they were just a car dealer but this might mean they have a need for other competencies as well?”

Person 2: “Yeah I agree. But are they located in Sweden?”

Person 1: “I think so. I saw a job advert the other day. I didn’t apply to it even as it was my profile kind of. But I realized they were in Sweden at least.”

Person 2: “So what do you think now? Are you going to apply now?”

Person 1: “Not sure, I like it where I am now. I am just interested in them. It seems they have more things going for them than I knew before.”

Person 2: “Actually, my former colleague Jane knows a guy at Tesla. He is coming to the alumni dinner next week.”

Person 1: “Oh really? I might talk to him and hear more.”

This is how an ordinary conversation can go about and here the entity of the talent experience is very important. If a single step is broken or fail to deliver a good impression, the talent will perhaps never become a candidate at all. And this individual might very well be the ‘ideal’ employee for said company.

That said, everything you do as a company will impact whether the company is interesting to invest into. This we have agreed on since ages. But ironically I still hear many people thinking that the only thing impacting the attraction level of your company as an employer, is your own corporate planned employer brand activities.

Sorry to burst your bubble. But your employer brand activities are pretty much like any other marketing activity or PR – but from an employer brand perspective. They are of course vastly important and will put attention on the right messages and strengthen the perception among the right target groups of people.

But (!) as with everything else, when people are considering what is attractive to work for, everything matters. Everything you do, everything you say and everything someone connected to you say about you or about someone else for that matter. That is pretty logical, isn’t it?

So that said, in order to even begin your recruitment process and what is mostly referred to as candidate experience then think talent experience first. If you already belonged to the category of clients who believe what is mentioned in this article is a necessity and of great importance but you called it candidate experience – Fine. Call it what you want. As long as you don’t mix it up and forget about these very important things.

Have a great day!

Daniel Sonesson