September 26, 2019

Building Company Culture Starts with the Candidate Experience

Today’s job market is hyper-competitive, which means recruiting and people teams are on the hook for proving how their organizations stand apart from the rest — and that begins with delivering an exceptional candidate experience.

It’s not enough to think about just the hiring piece or the retention piece of your employees’ life cycle in a vacuum — these hugely important factors must be considered in tandem if you want to truly deliver the best experience to bring on and keep the best talent.

TripActions recently hosted a webinar featuring our very own Chief People Officer Leslie Crowe and Namely Chief People Officer Lorna Hagen, where they discussed hiring and retention for HR leaders looking to attract and nurture talented employees. Here are a couple of our favorite takeaways from their presentation:



Adopt a Thoughtful Approach to Candidate Experience

No matter where you are in the world, exceptional talent is scarce, which is why it’s important to showcase how your organization is differentiated when hiring. A sure-fire way to do so from the get-go is through providing a great candidate experience. Your pool of best-match candidates is small, and the majority of people you speak to will likely not get hired at your organization. That being said, aim for candidates to walk away from their interviews feeling overwhelmingly positive about the experience. A positive interview process isn’t just about the candidates you interview, but the potential network effects as well.

“The most important thing is that candidates walk away from their interview and say, ‘I had a really amazing interview,’ so that they feel confident recommending their friends to interview as well,” said Leslie Crowe, Chief People Officer at TripActions. “We’ve gotten some of our best referrals from candidates who interviewed, didn’t get the job, but introduced us to someone in their network, and that all flows back to that hiring experience we provided.”

It might be easy to ignore, but especially for organizations in growth mode, you can’t be running so fast that you deliver a poor candidate experience. This damage has a clear impact on your recruiting and cultural brand, so hire recruiters that prioritize potential candidates, treating them all as future employees. It could be as simple as booking travel for your candidates to make sure you’re putting your best foot forward when interviewees carve out time to meet your organization in person.

Also consider how you communicate your values to future employees — it makes a huge difference for your candidates if they know what kind of company yours is and exactly the kind of employee that fits. Not every organization is for every person and helping employees understand what they’re getting into not only helps hiring, but also helps with retention if you’re hiring employees for the right reasons.

Retain Talent with a Culture of Continual Learning

You’ve successfully hired the talent — now it’s about keeping your team intact. It’s easy to focus on straightforward career development programs or specialty perks, but the truth is that employee growth comes from the learning experience, especially in times of hyper organizational growth and scaling. A culture that supports employees learning and growing in their roles will help you stand out in the hiring market. If you want to hold onto your best talent for the long haul, it’s critical to consider whether or not your organization is truly fostering a culture of learning.

At TripActions, we have a culture of debriefing and every manager is tasked with integrating this into their team’s regular schedules. We celebrate and even encourage mistakes, since mistakes are often just a symptom of trying new things and taking risks — within reason, of course. Challenging the status quo has been a TripActions core value from day one, but living that value doesn’t come without missteps.

“I spend most of my time on the retention piece of HR and there’s been a clear shift in the expectations of employees and candidates, and you really have to think of your employees as internal customers,” said Lorna Hagen, Chief People Officer at Namely. “You should be constantly surveying your candidates about the interview and onboarding experience to keep your process accountable.”

This last point may go without saying, but HR teams should aim to prioritize opportunities internally for people to grow their careers and skill sets within your company. You went to great lengths to hire great talent for a reason, and providing clear tools for growth will help leverage this talent internally as you grow as an organization.

If you’re curious about other initiatives you can take to improve your HR team’s efforts, be sure to watch the full recording of Behind Successful People Teams: How to Build and Scale a Stellar Culture.