• The Heart of Recruiting: Don’t Underestimate the Power of Meeting Expectations

    Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals
    November 13, 2013

    by Sue Keever Watts

    Sue Keever Watts

    There’s been a lot of talk lately about the candidate experience. Companies go to great lengths and expense to understand how they can exceed a candidate’s expectations as they go through the job-search process. New research has shown, however, that when it comes to exceeding expectations, there’s little to no return on investment. Surprising as that may sound, what most people want is for their expectations to be met; not exceeded, just met. Students have things to do and the more hassle-free the process, the happier the candidate.

    The concept of customer delight was created by a consumer-marketing guru who believed that if you continue to give customers more than what they asked for, you’ll create loyalty. But, there’s new evidence that suggests the higher you raise the bar, the more the customer will come to expect and the more likely you are to disappoint.

    My experience conducting research of students has yielded similar results. They say that selecting an employer comes down to two things: the process and the people. If the process is labor-intensive, unprofessional, confusing, disorganized, frustrating, or time-consuming, and there’s no one available to troubleshoot, it casts a negative impression on the entire organization.

    Think of the process as a part of your brand. What if the only interaction the student had with your company was through your process? Would they think you were competent, professional, empathetic, customer-focused (by customer, I mean the student), and able to quickly and efficiently solve problems? If you can’t answer that question, then I encourage you to stop immediately and walk through every single step that the student goes through to interview with your company—from the first visit to your website to the offer letter.

    The same goes for the people whom students interact with during the job-search process. Do all of the people from your organization treat students as individuals? Do they personalize the experience or do students feel like a number? Do they simplify the process by answering student questions? It’s important to equip your team with the information needed to respond to student queries. You don’t want to send a student to another person within your organization or to the website to get answers—that makes the process more time-consuming and ultimately more frustrating.

    A student may interview with an organization he or she views as exciting or highly reputable, but will be unlikely to accept their offer if the process was clunky or time-consuming. The heart of recruiting lies in creating a simple, hassle-free process that’s supported by knowledgeable, resourceful team members.

    Sue Keever Watts is founder and president of the Keever Group.