Our Candidate Experience – Good, Bad or Ugly?

We spend a lot of time working with our customers – recruiters and hiring managers – to make sure Fitzii offers them the tools they need to hire better. But, it is important for us to remember that we also have another “customer” group – job applicants. Now these people don’t pay us to use Fitzii, or in some cases even know we’re hosting a company’s application process, but we think they’re as important to us as our paying customers, for the following reasons:

  1. Companies that use Fitzii to find and assess applicants are trusting us with representing their brand to job seekers. A bad applicant experience is associated not only with Fitzii, but also our customer. This is the worst thing we can imagine. (OK, we can imagine worse, but we take this very, very seriously).
  2. Looking for work and applying for jobs is hard work and can be frustrating. Every job seeker is also a human being and should find the process as painless as possible. If we can make it rewarding and perhaps useful or fun, even better.
  3. We give job seekers access to our support channels because the last thing we want is for someone not to be able to apply for a job because of a technical issue. However, while it’s important they can contact us, we’d rather the process is so robust and simple they don’t have to.

We don’t normally get to talk to applicants directly, but we do give every single one the chance to rate and comment on the application process after they are done. We let them know that their feedback will not be shared with anyone involved in the hiring decision and will solely be used to improve the online process.  We review this data regularly and use it to drive improvements. We thought it would be interesting to share some of our recent results to start a discussion on how we can continue to make the applicant process better. We found this is a topic that is often talked about in general terms, but it is much harder to find real data on what companies are doing to drive improvements.

The data below summarizes the results from the last 5,000 applicants to leave feedback (which is completely optional) after applying for a job powered by Fitzii.

Rating

Number

Percentage

1-star

43

0.9%

2-star

66

1.3%

3-star

450

9.0%

4-star

1949

39.0%

5-star

2492

49.8%

Total

5000

100%

Not bad! Almost 90% of applicants give the application process a 4 or 5 star rating. Remember our process is 12-15 minutes and assesses the applicants on our 3 dimensions of fit –  it is not an “upload-your-resume-and-click-apply” kind of a deal. Now, despite the clear notice they are given that their feedback will not form any part of the hiring decision, there is likely still a tendency for candidates to “be safe, rather than sorry” and write nice things. However, this high level of approval suggests we’re on the right track and establishes a baseline that we can manage to and try to improve upon.

In addition to the rating, the comments people provide present us with the opportunity to really understand what it is that the job seekers like, or don’t like, about the process. Interestingly we found that the comments associated with the 3-star rating offered the most value as these were often balanced and thoughtful.  Some representative examples of the feedback we received from the entire satisfaction spectrum are given below:

The Good (4 and 5 stars)

We had a hard time selecting a small number of these. It definitely gave us all a warm and fuzzy feeling to read the feedback from the 90% of people that gave the process a 4 or 5 star rating. Can you imagine, job seekers actually saying that applying for a job was “rewarding”, “motivating”, “a chance to reflect” and “fun”! The overall theme here was that the application process was different, but in a good way.

  • “I wish that more employers would have job applications like this one! The candidates can answer questions of relevance directly in direct to the point answers. Cover letters can take hours out of your day and the applicant never knows the impact it’s made. The job application experience with [your company]  is a win-win experience for both the applicant and the hiring company!”
  • “Best application process I have experienced. Saved my assessment, as it is a valuable tool and I believe provided an accurate evaluation in all areas covered”.
  • “Probably the best application experience ever. It was very unique, interesting AND unexpected! It manages to make the application process a lot of fun”
  • “This process was different than any other application I’ve submitted.  I appreciate the thoroughness and the need to be succinct while still being given the opportunity to have a voice.  I would definitely use this service if I were doing the hiring”
  • “Intuitive, and far better than the mundane application submission forms online.”
  • “It was actually kinda fun to fill this out.  Kudos”
  • “Very concise and clear. Modern and very easy to navigate. Very motivating”
  • “Easy to use and fill out, especially by connecting to the LinkedIn profile. Survey portion was easy to understand and complete. Application time and survey was very quick, less than 10 minutes. Great job”
  • “As a Manager who also staffs my own employees, I really thought this application hit the nail on the head for almost every question I would ask a potential employee”

The Bad (3 stars)

Actually this feedback isn’t really bad, it’s incredibly useful. We’re not going to make a process that everybody likes, but we truly appreciate the people that take the time to explain why it wasn’t great for them. As mentioned before, this generally came from those people that gave the process a 3-stars rating. The common thread in this feedback was the length of time it took to apply, having to enter some information already contained in the resume and other usability issues.

  • “I like the personality assessment but having to submit employment/ education is a bit redundant since it’s already on my resume”.
  • “Experienced a glitch in uploading documents but the help desk was able to remedy the situation for me promptly”.
  • “Better than others, but longer than should be”.
  • “I wanted to write a great “impact statement” that differed from my cover letter and LinkedIn profile but there wasn’t enough space”.
  • “The forms were easy to complete.  The survey should be optional, in the event applicants do not wish to disclose certain information”.
  • “A brief list of requirements should be listed before start the application process, in order that the applicant have everything on hand”.

 The Ugly (1 and 2 stars)

Of course, there were also some people who absolutely hated our application process. No real theme here and some feedback we can’t print due to bad language, but the sentiments generally seemed to reflect a frustration with the job application process as a whole.

  • “Terrible. Waste of time answering stupid questions”.
  • “I would have preferred to just send my resume and cover letter that I had already prepared and customized for this position. Both were ready before I even entered the first “apply” button”.
  • “I dislike this process…for all the reasons I’m sure you are already aware.”
  • “Your survey is pathetic. A job seeker needs direct websites and quick way to apply”

Our Favourite:

Of all the job seeker feedback, yes we do review it all, this was our very favourite. Why? Because it reflects our goal of having every applicant treated objectively and fairly.

“I really love using this site. It’s a very human way to do human resources. I feel as if I’m more than just a resume on a pile.”

Some other key lessons from the data and feedback we’ve collected:

  • Applicants don’t mind a longer application process if they feel they are being asked to provide information that leads to a better screening process
  • A large percentage of people will provide feedback if you give them the opportunity. This is vital if you want to make things better
  • Applicants directly correlate the application experience with the brand and culture of the company they are applying to

We think we’re off to a pretty good start so far, but in order to keep improving, we will continue collecting and acting on this data and acting to make our process better. We’ll also continue to make the data public to drive the bigger discussion around candidate experience.

We would really love to hear how you measure the way job seekers feel about your online application process.  Please enter comments below or contact us.

Exciting news from Fitzii

We want to share some big news – Fitzii has been acquired and we are now part of the Ian Martin Group.

We took the decision to sell after a lot of soul-searching. Fitzii is just over two years old and we’ve been steadily adding customers across North America since we launched our platform last year. What we found in the Ian Martin Group, however was a fit that was too good to ignore. Here’s why we’re excited:

  • Ian Martin was one of our first customers. They’ve used the Fitzii platform extensively and can honestly say “we liked the product so much, we bought the company”. Personally, we’re very happy to be joining a company that we’ve worked with, know well and  that aligns with our values and beliefs
  • Ian Martin is a B Corp. The B stands for “Benefit” and certified B Corporations meet higher standards of social and environmental performance. We always imagined being this kind of company when we “grew up” so are pleased to have been acquired by one.
  • Hirefly is also an Ian Martin Group company that leverages Fitzii to deliver a full-service shortlisting package, from ad creation through screening. We’ve worked closely with them for a while now and have discovered there is a great benefit to our customers in having the choice between two approaches. To put it simply, Fitzii offers a platform that can be used by internal hiring teams, while HireFly offers a full-service offering more targeted to small businesses or companies without dedicated recruiting resources.  By joining forces we can make sure our customers can choose freely between, and even mix-and-match, the two options. (What’s more, anyone introduced to Hirefly via Fitzii already enjoys a 20% discount).
  • Our vision is to make tools for better hiring accessible to as many companies as possible. The financial and operational support Ian Martin brings will allow us to continue to expand and keep our company focus on providing the best product and the best service possible.

We truly believe this news will lead to only good things for our customers. Fitzii will continue to operate as an independent entity, working closely with the other Ian Martin Group companies to make sure we match the right customers to the right solution. We will, however, have the backing and support of a much larger company, allowing us to bring better hiring to more companies faster.

You can find the official press release here. If you have any questions or thoughts please share them below or use our contact form to get in touch.

 

How much baggage is too much?

Imagine you need to hire for a key opening in an established team. The team is led by a strong manager and has been performing well for a while, but recently lost a key team member to a competitor. You have two short-listed candidates and have been asked to recommend one. To make your decision easier, you’ve been given videos and reports detailing aspects of each candidate’s performance at their previous employers.

Candidate 1 – A very talented employee (top 20%). He has had 2 previous employers during the past 8 years and has consistently performed well. Candidate 1 has worked well with his previous team mates and has had no significant disciplinary issues. Candidate 1 has a salary expectation of around $50,000.

Candidate 2 – An exceptionally skilled employee (top 1%). He has had 5 previous employers during the past 8 years, including two where his departure was acrimonious (one of which was after just 3 months). Candidate 2 has faced disciplinary action on several occasions and there are also signs of friction between him and current team members. Candidate 2 has a salary expectation of around $75,000.

Which candidate would you recommend? Why?

This scenario is loosely based on a recent personnel decision taken by a football (the round ball kind – excuse me, I’m originally from England) team in Europe – They chose candidate number 2. (The jury is still out on whether it was a good decision. The player in question is delivering goals, but has already faced disciplinary action and caused friction within the team).

Variations of the situation described above are often seen in the sporting world, where a player’s previous performance and behaviour are more public, and it got me thinking: How do we make the trade-off between talent and behaviour? If, say, in the scenario above, the 1st candidate was as talented as the 2nd – he’d be the obvious choice as he is both less expensive and comes with a better behavioural track record. What about then if he was just slightly less talented – say in the top 2%, 5% or 10%? – When does the benefit of more talent outweigh the “baggage” of behavioural issues?

There is obviously no “right” answer to this question, however, from personal experience and observation I would offer just two pieces of advice:

  • Make sure your hiring process does not focus solely on the skills and experience of the candidates. Use tools such as personality testing, behavioural interviewing and effective reference checking (with prior managers, peers and subordinates) to assess the candidate’s suitability.
  • For candidates, or employees for that matter, where the talent required comes with negative behaviours, the most important success factor is a strong team leader that is able to manage the individual’s performance while minimizing the impact of the behaviour (and hopefully, over time, addressing it).

In summary, while we all want to hire “A Players”, “Rock Stars” and “Ninjas”, it is vital to keep in mind the overall performance of the team when hiring any new employee and not be blinded by talent.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and personal experiences on this, as well as the English Premier League, below.