They hate the experience. We can fix it.

Filling reqs isn’t as simple as posting and praying anymore. You know the story already. Record unemployment, gig economy, yada, yada, yada. Our reality is more about understanding our audience and how they make decisions. We need to attract them, grab their attention with the things that matter to them. Late last year, I ran a survey with a customer. They survey validated what I’ve been saying for the last three years. The reason people hate looking for work is that they really, REALLY hate the mystery of it all. Our biggest challenge is the experience we’ve created. The dreaded black hole. Because perception is reality, we need to start digging into this a bit and see what we can do to shift not only our behavior, but our belief system.

In my work, I talk to so many brands, hiring managers, and job seekers (both active and passive). Frankly, no one likes what we are doing today. It’s working for no one. It truly is one size fits none. In fact, one survey respondent said that if we wanted to find a way to torture humans, we would make them apply for jobs over and over again and never hear back. I am paraphrasing here, but the word “torture” was used.

The real damage here is that if we get someone to the apply stage, and they wade through username and password creation, upload their resume and them re-enter that information all over again, and input some very personal information, the least we could do is learn a little about them so that we can make that experience less harrowing.

On the bright side, people look for new work because they are optimistic about their future. They have hope and they are curious. These are two key drivers for your employer brand messaging. What are the amazing things they are going to do with you and for their career. How can they impact. In fact, the data shows, they are most likely to change even if they are not looking for something compelling. But I will caution you, do NOT overpromise and under deliver in this area. If you do, they will leave. We have an opportunity to paint an honest picture of their future and what their future looks like with you! We should do that!

While a lot of what I currently believe was validated by our survey, something more concerning popped out at me. Our talent will endure our crap process if we do enough at the top of the funnel. If your brand is strong enough, if your reputation is completely baller, they will suffer nearly anything and it will not be memorable as suffering. Because they want it that bad. What alarms me about this is:

1. You need a really great brand/mission/culture/reputation to pull it off.

2. They don’t know that it could be easy to apply for a job.

We have an opportunity to create surprise and delight for our top talent. Psst…we should do that, too.

All of this points me back to what I know the best brands are already doing. They are spending time looking at their personas and candidate journeys. They are finding brand alignment, content to create and stories to tell based on what they learn about the key people they want to hire. These simple pieces are research are illuminating to brands who are willing to put in the energy to create them. And fun fact: I do these all day! If you’re in the talent research mode, we should talk. If you’re in the mode to really look at your candidate experience and design something that is more focused on how you can bring the best and the brightest to your brand, there’s a little button at the top right, you should click it and we should get started.

The fastest way to improving the candidate experience, playing up on that optimism and hope of a new job is to really understand what your target talent needs. When you have that information, you can see the opportunity and where it lies for your next great hire. And you can stop posting and praying and start pipelining the hires you’re going to need for the coming year.