In this webinar, we take on the topic of candidate experience – the good, the broken, and the opportunities we have to help candidates feel more love. Joined by two recruiting and talent experts, we talk about the rise of The Experience, ways to show candidates you care (even through small gestures), and how to put a stop to ghosting. We also reveal early insights from our candidate optimism research, which is a brand new way of looking at job seeker sentiment and job market health.

Watch the 5-min recap: #1 Thing Employers & Candidates Should Do to Improve Candidate Experience


Webinar Transcription

  • Briana Harper – Webinar Host


  • Robin Stenzel – Chief Solutions Officer at Outmatch
  • Jason Ferrara – Market Insight Expert at Outmatch

Panel and Talent Experts:

  • Jan’ea Mayberry – Corporate Recruiter at Express Employment Professionals
  • Lynne Zappone – Executive Coach and Business Consultant at The Zappone Group

BRIANA: Thank you for joining our webinar on, “How to Give Candidates More Love in the Hiring Process.” I’m really excited for this one because we have two very special guests joining the conversation today. One is a Corporate Recruiter from Express Employment Professionals and the other is an Executive Coach and Business Consultant who founded her own firm in 2017.

Again, I’d like to say thank you for being here. I know you could be doing a hundred other things right now and you’re here with us. We really appreciate it. I hope we can provide you with a chance to think reflect, plan ahead, and hopefully make some improvements as the year goes on.

My name is Briana Harper, and I’m your webinar host. I’m also your resource for any questions you have about today’s topic. I’ll be taking questions throughout the presentation, so feel free to chat in at any time during our discussion. You’ll also see a follow-up email from me after the presentation with today’s slide deck and a link to the recording. If you’d like to get in touch after the presentation, please reach out. You can email me at or find me on social @OutmatchHCM.

Before we dive into our discussion today, I’d like to give you a quick sneak peek at other upcoming webinars in our future of work series. Next month, we’ll look at the post higher side of diversity hiring. That is, what it takes to make diversity hiring successful as well as create a sense of belonging for everyone in your organization. Then in April, we’ll explore culture bit versus culture ad, monocultures, and how to hire good fits but not clones. And finally, in May, we’ll look at how technology can help create healthy cultures and healthy subcultures and teams.

If you’re interested in any of these topics, I’d love to have you back. You can register for upcoming webinars at You can also catch any of our past webinars on our YouTube channel. Each presentation as well as today’s presentation is valid for one professional development credit for the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP, and I’ll chat in that activity ID at the end of the webinar, so keep an eye out for that.

Here’s a quick overview of the topics we’re going to cover in our discussion today. So first, we’re going to look at the experience, which we all talk a lot about, but I thought it’d be good to just start at the beginning and look at what do we mean when we talk about the experience and how do we measure it. Then we’re going to look at ghosting, so why it happens and what we can do to help stop it. We also have a sneak peek at some new research we’re doing here at Outmatch around candidate optimism, so I’ll share some of that closer to the end of the presentation. And then we’ll have about 10 minutes set aside for Q&A at the end. So, like I said, if you have any questions along the way, feel free to chat those in and we’ll get to those at the end of the webinar.

So, Robin Stenzel will be moderating our discussion today. Robin is our Chief Solutions Officer at Outmatch. Prior to Outmatch, Robin worked in talent management with companies like West Rock, Delta Airlines, and Macy’s. Much of her career is focused on talent acquisition, and she’s done a lot of work building connections through the candidate and employee experience.

Also, we’ll have a special appearance by Jason Ferrara. I mentioned some of that candidate optimism research that’s happening at Outmatch, so he’s going to come on towards the end of the presentation to share more about that. He does a lot of things at Outmatch and he’s also known as our Market Insight Expert, so I thought he’d be good to hop on to share a little bit more about our research.

And as I mentioned, we have two special guests on the call with us today. Jan’ae Mayberry is a Corporate Recruiter from Express Employment Professionals, and Lynne Zappone is an Executive Coach and Business Consultant.

Jan’ea, would you like to tell us a little bit more about yourself?

JAN’EA:  Hello, everyone. My name is Jan’ea Mayberry, and like Brianna just mentioned, I am with Express Employment International Headquarters, and I’m the Corporate Recruiting Manager here. I started off in recruiting about eight years ago as a staffing consultant and just kind of worked my way up here at Express throughout the years. I’m excited to be here today, and I hope the information that we give you guys is helpful.

BRIANA: Thank you, Jan’ea.

Lynne, would you like to share a little bit more about yourself?

LYNNE: Thanks, Briana. Good afternoon, everyone. This is Lynne Zappone. As Briana mentioned, I have my own firm, The Zappone Group, and we specialize in executive coaching and providing leadership, development and talent management consulting to organizations across industries. I’m excited to be part of this conversation today because I spent most of my professional career as a Chief People Officer and Head of Global Talent and Learning, really helping to create cultures and working with leaders to create cultures that attract, develop, and retain top talent. So it’s wonderful to be as part of this conversation today, so I can share from my experiences and learn from all of you. So, thank you for participating.

BRIANA: Yes, and thank you for being on with us.

So, at this point, I’m going to hand it over to Robin.

Hello, Robin.

ROBIN: Hi, thanks for letting me join today’s session, excited to be here, and really excited to get the perspectives from both Jan’ae and Lynne as we go through this conversation. I may jump in from now and — now and again and may ask Jason for his perspective, too, as we go through the conversation. But really, as we think about experience, it’s an interesting topic and as we looked at — as we kind of looked early on of talent trends for 2020, we’ve seen experience pop up yet again.

So if you’ve been sort of watching this trend, it hit in sort of ’17, ’18 kind of really became more to the forefront. We saw it again showing up as a talent trend in ’19, and seeing it for ’20. We’ve coined it as starting with candidate experience. We’ve talked about the employee experience. I thought interestingly, last year, Deloitte use the phrase “human experience.” So really, it’s about that experience that we’re trying to create and it’s really about how do we start to think about our employees and our candidates much more like true customers.

So exactly as we think about the marketing experience. What does that like for candidates and employees? What I found really interesting is the fact that we’ve seen this rise of the Chief Experience Officer, and that’s a role that sits in or near people organizations, and so really creating the experience for us. And when we think about it, and we think about the work, it’s really about how does work get done. So if we tie at the back to today’s topic, if we’re creating an experience of how we do our work and how our work gets done, if we’re in the talent acquisition space, how our work gets done directly impacts our candidate experience. And so it’s really interesting, I think, as we think about that for talent acquisition professionals and what they’re doing along the way.

And so before we get started though, I thought it’d be interesting to find out from the audience, and everyone listening, where are they as they and their organizations think about experience? So I think we’ve got a poll question for you, which is, “How is your company focusing on experience today?”

BRIANA: Yeah, so if you will think about your answer. I’m going to launch this poll and you’ll be able to put your answer in for us.


All right, it looks like we’re getting some answers in. Let’s take a couple more seconds to give everyone a chance to answer.


All right, we’re still getting a couple answers in, but I’m seeing over 50% saying they’re focused on both employee and candidate experience. So that’s really awesome to see.

I’ll close this out and share the results with everyone.


ROBIN: Yes, we see 54% of you focus on both employee and candidate experience, 18 with primary — it’s interesting, even mix between just focused on employee or just focused on candidate. Maybe that means you’ve already kind of gotten if you weren’t focused on the candidate side, maybe you really haven’t focused much on the employee or other side. We’ll focus on that. And then 11% who are not focused on experience, so love to hear more about that.  Maybe that means that you’re either well along in this journey or you’re still making it to your priority list. It’s hard at look we were talking yesterday. There’s so much going on in the HR space and talent, so many things to do and prioritize. So really an interesting piece of this.

So I think as we think about both candidate and employee experience, and that’s kind of what we’re going to focus on, if we look at 54% of that today. I’d love to unpack this a little bit and hear from our panelists, how their experiences compared to their poll as they think about kind of either organizations they’re working with or their current organization.

So Lynne, you know, as you introduce yourself, kind of in your both your past experiences, certainly your current experience, I know you’re working with lots of different companies, what are they sharing with you as it relates to experience and their journey and what they’re focused on?

LYNNE: Thanks, Robin. First of all, I think it’s very interesting that we’ve got that new research and coining the terminology, the “human experience” because whether it’s employee, candidate, or even customer, we’re talking about human beings, right? And how they react to something, and I think I’m starting to see that service quite a bit with clients. And I want to take everybody in the group a step back for a minute because across industries we’ve known for the past, you know, working on two decades now, organizations are investing much more resources and attention on the customer experience. And I think we have something to learn from that work as it applies to the employee and the candidate experience.

So because there are principles that apply to both, which is because we’re talking about human beings, as we sort of just mentioned, so, for example, we know from marketing research and customer experience work that customers respond to or impacted by something we call the peak-end rule, which basically says that the first and last interactions throughout an experience have the most impact and are the most memorable to a person. It impacts how they feel about the experience, it sort of connects with them in their mind about what the experience was to feel like. And it doesn’t mean that all the little touch points in between don’t matter. However, we know from research with customers that the first and last, right? The peak, which is the beginning and the end, really make the biggest impact.

And so you have to really be cognizant about what that looks like. And that, you know, a great way to explain this if you think about if you’re out to dinner, and some parts of the meal maybe are going well, some are not so well, but at the end, if that server really does a nice job of closing the experience for you, you might be more likely to kind of forget about all the incidences in between because it ends, right? The end ends on a positive note and that might impact how much tip you provide, right? So that’s that end experience, just like we often we talk about the welcome matters as much, right? And so, how you feel about the moment you walk in.

So, now let’s take that principle and apply to a candidate experience. In our current environment, the first experience and interaction many applicants are having with you that has eased up our side of the work is with the applicant tracking system, right? They’re not even interacting with a human being, they’re interacting with, you know, a system. So the point is, how can you build a unique experience from this launching point? Their first interaction is with your applicant tracking system. So, how do we make it unique from there? And that’s harder to do, but you’ve got to be looking for every interaction once you decide you want to connect with them. How can you do it through channels that they appreciate? How can you tell the story? And how do you keep connecting with them on the way even if you decide that you don’t want them to continue on the applicant journey?

You know, a local company here in Atlanta that’s actually doing a really good job of this is Delta, right? Huge company. Now, lots of us promise on our applicant tracking system that if you give us permission, we’ll follow up with roles that match your capabilities and experience. And we say we’re going to do this, but Delta is very consistent about it with applicants, and it appears very personalized. Now, I’m not saying there’s not an algorithm behind that, but to the applicant and candidate, it appears that if it’s very customized to them, and so it’s it’s key that they’re continuing to connect. You might not have been the right match for the original role, but you’re certainly someone we want to connect with, and we do so over time.

And the same applies for the end, right? If you just — the communication with candidate just trails off or there’s no followup, it is very frustrating to candidates. We hear that quite a bit. And as I’m doing career coaching with people or people who are in transition, they often say, you know, “I might even gone further along in the process, but then suddenly, it just goes completely cold. I’m getting no information.” And that gives — you know, really impacts the experience and tells them a little bit about the company, and what the culture might be like. And so you’re constantly telling your story, so it’s really important to close that loop. And candidates really appreciate even if you say you’re not the right person for this role. Provide them with some meaningful feedback. You want them to walk away thinking, “Wow, that’s a great organization, because they invested time in me even enough time to give me feedback that might help me land a role somewhere else.”

ROBIN: Yeah, you made a lot of really good points in there. I love that peak experience — peak-end, right? Your first and last becoming very memorable. It’s interesting, too, kind of the interaction if you think about that first interaction being kind of more systematic. I think we’re seeing more, too, a little bit in this space with people using chat bots, and who seemed very real. I didn’t realize I was chatting with one the other day from a customer’s side. And so as we think about that, from the candidate experience, what does that start to do with to your point when it’s still systematic, but hopefully that’s like a way you’re starting to think about it. Can you integrate chat into — these give some sort of two-way interaction because, otherwise, you’re exactly right. You put something in and you feel like it just goes into this dark hole. I love that.

I love the dining analogy because that’s what it does feels like on a date, maybe, even to that extent.

ROBIN: Janae, your organization talks to a lot of candidates. What are they telling you about the experience and what are you hearing from them?


ROBIN: Jan’ae, did we lose you?

JAN’AE: Can you hear me? I’m sorry.


JAN’AE: Okay.

ROBIN: No problem.

JAN’AE: So, a lot of the conversation has been based off of the experience, just the job-hunting experience as a whole. A lot of candidates, you know, dread having to start that process of putting themselves back out there applying for multiple opportunities. And it’s really frustrating when they hear nothing back, or they get that automated, you know, message, “We received your application, someone will contact you soon.” And no one ever contacts them. And I think it goes back to what Lynne mentioned, you know, even if the conversation is that you’re not the right fit, but giving them that feedback that’s going to help them eventually to position themselves for the next opportunity, I think it is very helpful and rewarding to those candidates. So I think that’s important. Some of them, you know, never hear anything back or they go through the entire interview process. They might speak to someone on the phone, and then the followup doesn’t happen. You know, no one reaches out to them to continue that conversation.

So I think, you know, putting systematic processes in place to ensure that you are reaching out and connecting with these candidates are important. Because like we mentioned before, you know, they’re interacting with applicant tracking systems early on and someone, you know, just may need to hear that live voice to feel like they were truly touched and considered for the opportunity and given that feedback of why or why not. So I think that’s important to make sure that we are engaging the candidates throughout the process.

ROBIN: It’s great. I love that you both kind of talked about this giving back piece of it. I’ve heard where some organizations are actually when you hit apply, you get something like maybe if it’s a B2C customer, you know, or organization, you get something back like a coupon for a product or a discount or something like that, which, if nothing else has got to at least like, “Ugh, ut went through,” right” Rather than just, “Thanks for applying,” you know, to get something back. And I think, you know, Lynne, you mentioned and talked about Delta. And I heard someone from Delta talk about the fact that they realized, you know, the number of applicants that they get, they’re saying no to more people than yes because they’ve got a very low turnover. And so really thinking about how are you telling your customers no every day and so I love that, again, the idea of, you know, giving back.

BRIANA: Robin, I love what you said about offering something like a coupon or a discount. We got a question in from Tonya, that was, how do you have that follow up when you have a mass number of applicants, so like over 100 or over 200? And and I think that’s one way to do it. It’s something that’s automated, but it’s also going an extra step. And if you’re not a B2C customer, I think you could think about what is it, what are you assessing, and is there some sort of automated — there are ways that you can give automated feedback as well? So here’s some things that they can do. We can help you think about that. Not to put a plug in, but, you know, certainly I think there are ways that you can provide a little bit of feedback if you don’t have that opportunity to kind of give something back that sort of monetary. There’s some things there from the process as well. And you’re exactly right, when you get that many candidates, it’s really hard to be able to do that. I think Delta is actually giving candidates feedback who apply along the way. I think they should give free flights.

LYNNE:  [Giggles] There you go.

BRIAN: That’d be great.

LYNNE: Robin, I was also thinking do that because you’re right. The point is, I mean, you can’t pay up possibly. I mean, we put an applicant tracking systems to help us sort through the thousands of applicants. You can’t talk to everybody. And I love the solutions we’re talking about. And I just also want to mention the trend that’s there. And this is important for sort of HR folks on the phone is that we have to really lean into the marketing side of our role, whatever that looks like. And I think we’re seeing that more and more because lately, I do a lot of coaching with new chief HR officers or new chief people officers, and many of them are coming from the business and marketing. Because we need to apply some of those principles to the work that we do, the traditional sort of HR or recruiting work that we’re doing. And so you have to be thinking about how do we market to our audience and do it in an efficient way because we can’t speak directly to everyone.

ROBIN: I love that. Yeah, that is so true. And I — you’re exactly right, that sort of new look and kind of fresh eyes on the problem is great to have particularly about that marketing lens.

So, you know, we’ve been talking a little bit about some ideas and what do we look like, but I think part of this then comes in and this sort of ties in nicely to what you were talking about when kind of these fresh eyes, and what marketing does. Marrketing is constantly looking in measuring that outcome. So, if I go and I reach and I touch out to you, what does that realize from a conversion standpoint, what am I selling to you in the end, and how are those touch points looking at that?

And so we, as HR professionals, also need to think about those touch points and those outreaches and what’s happening. So curious to understand how you all are thinking about measuring your candidate experience within your organization. And so, Brianna is going to put up a new poll, and we’d love to see what you all are doing and then maybe chat about that on the other side.

BRIANA: Yep, so that poll is up. It looks like we’re getting lots of responses in.


Give it just a couple more seconds.


All right, I’ll go ahead and close this out and share the responses with everyone.

LYNNE: So, we’ve got — looks like the majority of people — it’s kind of a three-way tie here is — we survey new hires; periodically, we do a pulse check, but no regular measure, or we don’t measure at all; and a few of you are measuring those survey hires and non hires.

So, I think we’re going to kind of turn in to our our experts here, but I’d love to come back to that because I think it’s very interesting again of who we choose to measure, how we do that, and then kind of how do we do that in an efficient way. So we think back on this, we know experience and measurement are kind of work in progress, what we’ve all are doing something around there, but probably still working on those things to get better.

And then we’re thinking about how do we get candidates to continue to engage with us. So if you think about this, and I think, Lynne, both you and Jan’ae brought both this point up, is a candidate is going to apply for us, they’re not going to be right for it, they probably — maybe they applied in one of those jobs that was hundreds of applicants, we don’t really have a way to respond to them. And then we have another posting and maybe they’re actually better qualified for that opportunity and there’s a smaller pool, but if we lost them to Lynne’s point about the peak, you know, peak and end, if we’ve lost them in there, are they going to come back or just like in the restaurant example that Lynne gave, when you have a bad experience and if it’s not great or it’s okay, but at the end, if your server wasn’t great, the likelihood of you coming back becomes not very high. So same thing from the candidate perspective.

And so, we had someone actually write us ahead of time that said that they are starting to see within their organization that they’re experiencing quite a bit of drop-off from candidates. So candidates are almost voting back, right? “You guys have been through all these years, you haven’t responded to me. So now, I’m a candidate. I’m in your process. I’m going to go ahead and just drop out, and I’m not going to tell you and maybe even engaged with me. You’ve invited me in for an interview or a phone screen, and I just — I go silent for a while. I’ve dropped out.”

And so the question, I guess, becomes, I guess I’ll start with you, Jan’ae. Are you hearing from candidates as to why they’ve decided to not show or back out at the last minute? Are they sharing kind of, you know, I don’t know if you all are asking that question in your business, but what are you hearing from candidates as to this sort of no-show or Briana term, ghosting, that’s happening from our candidates?

JAN’AE: It is really a wide variety of reasonings that I here, but some of the most popular answers that that I get from the candidates are that they might accept another job offer. You know, they didn’t hear anything for a week or two, and they were just kind of placing it in a holding sale, if you will. And during that time, they’re still interviewing with other companies, right? They’re still applying to other opportunities, so they might have just accepted another offer. And then also, you know, no one really interacted with them, like you set the appointment and then you forget to follow up. You forget to send that confirmation email, that calendar invite. You forget to send that text the morning up, like looking forward to seeing you. And so they have lives themselves, you know, things going on, children that they’re juggling, families that they’re juggling, and it was just no contact. It was no communication throughout that two or three-day waiting period into they came in to meet with the hiring managers, you know.

So and then after they researched the company because some will do their due diligence after they speak with a recruiter, you know, HR team, and they’ll go and research the company. And so it’s, you know, has something to do with what’s out there on social media, Glassdoor, and things like that. Do you have a good reputation? What are people saying? Maybe a family member interview with them before and was like, “Oh, that’s not going to be the best culture fit.” Those various reasons, so I think it all has to do and surrounded around that experience though, and is why those candidates, you know, will decide not to move forward or just to ghost an employer.

ROBIN: It’s interesting you mentioned this part of no one’s followed up with them, right? I mean, if you think about that in kind of our lives, if we’re expecting something right, you I get — I just got something today as a reminder on my phone from my dentist, “Hey, don’t forget about your appointment,” right? An automated response kind of thing. And we’re seeing more and more of that kind of how do we kind of have those touch points, and I love that you’re saying, “Hey, you know, if you’re not touching base with me, then maybe I don’t feel as important or I’ve just gotten — it’s gotten lost in the clutter because we all have a million things going on.” And so that that followup piece is not happening there. And then I love this, and we’re going to talk about a little bit more too, but just the whole, “I’ve done some research on you, and I don’t think you’re a fit.” So they’re both — those are kind of — and then then just, you know, other offers are interesting.

Lynne, as you’re working with companies, are you used to hearing the same thing from them, and what are they doing maybe to combat the issue?

LYNNE: Yeah, it’s a great conversation because I find it fascinating, but I want to really reinforce what Jan’ae said a bit there is that there’s a tough competition. They have multiple offers out there, and candidates are doing their homework because one thing we know especially about the emerging workforce is that culture, reputation, purpose of company matters to them, and so they’re looking at that and measuring it along the way. And, you know, if I think back to the title of this webinar, right? When someone else meeting another organization is showing them more love, they’re going to lean in that direction, frankly, right?

So, you know, they’re looking for opportunities. They’re looking at the culture. And if they just don’t feel like they’re getting that level of engagement upfront, they’re going to move on. No, I’m not saying it’s respectful to say, I’m coming in for an interview, and I’m not, but I think this idea of connecting them with some way and it could be simple things, which can be automated around, maybe parking is difficult coming to your building. Even if you send an automated text that says, “Here are directions to us. Here’s where parking is. Oh, by the way, you’ll be meeting with multiple people.” Maybe giving them a little bit more heads up around the dress code, right? So if you are a casual environment, they probably shouldn’t show casual, but they should know that so they don’t come, you know, dressed in a three-piece suit.

I had someone recently told me that they went and they were really overdressed when they got there, which is something that’s unusual if you think about the traditional overview, but you have to create a compelling reason for your company to be at the top of their list, you know. They have options out there. So, how do you make your process stand out? How do you tell your story? How can — I’ve seen some clients really go out of the way, especially on the retail side to try to create sort of fun, almost recruiting events, not your traditional job fair, but, you know, a national recruiting event, you know, really kind of fun things happening where people can even bring their family along to learn more about that.

So I think that’s important to kind of give a glimpse into what your organization is about by providing those opportunities. Also, I’ve seen some clients have noticed they’ve been losing candidates because their their process on hiring whether it’s background checks, et cetera, is taking too long, and so they’ve gone to a contingent hiring process that says. “We are hiring you on a contingent basis. You can start tomorrow.” But if your background check or something comes back, or if they’re still doing drug testing, and that’s a problem, then you know, we have a right to turn around. But they realize that if they said, “I need five days to wait for your background check to come back,” they would lose a top candidate to a retailer down the street who could move it through more quickly. And so they’ve added these contingent processing. So you’ve got to create this experience, you have to connect with them, and you have to make sure your processes aren’t so cumbersome that they drag on so long that you lose the candidate to a competitor down the street.

ROBIN: I like that. I really like too that, you know, kind of this idea of creating these events that include your family, right? Because then some accountability starts to happen, right Whether it’s you kids saying, “Gosh, mom (or dad), what happened to that company? It was so great.” And you having to explain kind of that if you dip into one who’s not shown up right kind of thing. That is — it really kind of gets everyone engaged in the process and really kind of that connectivity. That’s a really, I think, a really fun idea to kind of be able to do that and bring people there. And then just this idea of we’ve got to act with speed. You know, the old saying, I guess, of time kills all deals works in this process as well. So great stuff. You know, interestingly —

LYNNE: May I just add one thing to that.

ROBIN: Yeah, please.

LYNNE: That this is not unusual or creative, but I’ve been seeing a lot as we see, again, especially on the retail side and even on the hospitality side, as you see different brands disappearing from the landscape. We saw it a lot last year with Payless. I just saw something posted with Macy’s. It says a lot about companies when you see other organizations reaching out, let’s say to the San Francisco-based Macy’s people reaching out to those current employees and saying, “Hey, we know everybody’s about to be impacted there. We are a similar business environment. We’re interested in you.” You know, if you’re in a team member who is being impacted, and you see another large organization reaching out saying, “Hey, come to our job fair, come to our site, we’ve got opportunities for you.” Again, that’s — you’re in a bad place. And that really can make you consider that other organization. And we’ve been seeing a lot of that. We saw a lot of it last year. A lot of people were reaching out to those Payless team members and I’ve seen it already with Macy’s recent announcements.

ROBIN: It’s a great point. I did see — you know, now that you mentioned that, I saw something on LinkedIn I thought that was really interesting that they had talked about, who was the head of talent acquisition, talking about the fact that people were reaching out and really engaging those employees. And to your point, even if you’re not in the job search, if you see that and you see that from an organization. And by the way, Macy’s, you know, I think that’s a great example because we know that they’re going to open up this new concept store, and they’re need to have people for those stores, and what does that look like. Well, if you see that, it’s an organization that people (A) want to be if you’re there, people want your skill set, and (B) that they’ve cared enough to kind of share the story. I think that’s really great. I think that’s an excellent point.

You know, I think — and so as we’re talking about this, it’s kind of we talked about a candidate driven market. We talked about the fact that it’s really hard to get people and here they’re ghosting us. Yet have we stepped and thought back of it kind of back to the beginning of this when someone comes into our applicant tracking system? If we do nothing, then we’re ghosting them. And I know some organizations sort of got away from the rejection email kind of thing because — or it became very long time before you get it because I’m going to put all these people in and if something doesn’t work out, I want to make sure I’ve got a back-up plan. But it’s kind of like waiting for the date to the prom, right? No one’s asked you just yet. Imagine somebody came to you and said, “I don’t know you might be my date, but I got a couple other people ahead of you. Let me get back to you.” And then you don’t hear from them, right? You assume the answer is no. But you start to feel like not great about that experience, right? It’s not a very in the interest of Valentine’s Day, right? Not very interesting. And so we’re hearing that as an experience that people are really talking about.

I heard from one woman as this topic came up who had — was in the workforce, had gone back, done some upskilling to really become more relevant with her skills, talked to a career coach and said, “Hey, given where I am in my career opportunity, if I decide to go to this path, do you think the fact that I’m a little more senior is going to be an issue and what does that look like?” And the career coach — and look, maybe she got bad advice — but the current coach said, “Nope, I think given your experience in sales and marketing…” And she was moving into more of a user experience role. ” Given that experience, you’ll really be able to be very valuable in the market.”

And she said, you know, what she’s finding is she’s going out applying for jobs and not hearing anything or she’s going out, applying for jobs, someone will say, “I’m interested in you. May see a sample of your work or what have you done in the past?” One organization even said, “Come in and do some work for us for a couple of days, sort of on a trial basis and see what that looks like.” Trial period ends, she goes home, and then here’s nothing.

Right? So there’s no feedback and no loop coming back. That actually was, interestingly enough, I won’t name the brand, but it was a brand that she has in her house, and a very expensive brand. So now she is saying, “Hmm, I’m not sure this is going to be at the brand of our choice as it comes.” So as a customer, you’re giving me — and that brand is excellent at giving customer feedback and recognition and support yet when it came on the employee side, it seemed very lacking from her experience.

So I think interestingly, I actually learned about it — because I called her afterwards — I learned about it from a social media post. So back to we had talked a bit about what happens on kind of candidates who you want are going out and looking at social media. Those candidates that maybe you’re not interested in are also using social media. And so if we make it come full circle, those ones that you want are reading their posts, too. So Jan’ea, can you tell us the impact of social media as you’ve seen it in your role, not just to candidates you’re interested in, but also others that maybe you want to come to work for you?

JAN’AE: It’s actually very crucial. Candidates, like we stated before, they’re actually doing their homework. They’re going out, they’re researching the company, they’re seeing what the world has to say. They’re not just hopping on your website to see what you’ve posted all the wonderful things and accolades about your company, they want to know what the world has to say about your company. So they’re doing their research. They’re talking to family, friends, and things and just really gaining as much information as possible. So those candidate experiences will affect what they see on social media and what they hear out, you know, just networking, if you will. So I really think it’s important that, you know, we’ve mentioned it before, I always say, you know, a declination email is better than no response at all, at least telling them that, you know, “This is not the right fit for you, always decided to move forward with other candidates.” It’s better than just ghosting them. The example that you gave about the young lady coming in and doing a working interview and not even receiving feedback after she left the working interview, that’s something that we all have to avoid because quite frankly, they have other options. And they will, you know, go and just do a bad review. Just like if we go to a restaurant, we have a horrible experience, we’re going to go to Yelp and do a review, right? Because we want people to know, “Do not eat at this restaurant.”

So I think it’s important to follow up and just putting, you know, tools in forms in place, a debriefing form that the recruiter or HR manager might complete with a candidate before she leaves or even doing a 10 -minute, you know, call and debriefing on, “How was your experience today?” “Do you have any concerns on a scale of 1 to 5?” “Would you accept the opportunity if we were to offer you this job?” So I think it’s important that we know that especially even if it’s a candidate that we’re not looking to work for, they have access to the internet and social media. They can post just like a candidate that we do want to work with can go and actually read and review that other’s posts.

ROBIN: It’s great, thank you. And Lynne, what — you know, as you’re working with companies, and you’re hearing this and you’ve got some experience with some innovative ideas that companies are doing to attract people, what are some things that you’re working with on companies or what have you seen to sort of help from this combat ghosting from the employer’s side, right? We don’t want the employees the candidates to ghost us, but how are you kind of encouraging them to make sure that they’re not ghosting their candidates?

LYNNE: Yeah, I think one of the big conversations we’ve been having quite a bit and again, it goes back to what I said earlier about having a marketing perspective, I think Jan’ae is right. I mean, there are channels everywhere for consumers to give feedback about how they feel about products, and potential employees, candidates have those same channels available to them. So one of the biggest things that I spent a lot of time talking to clients about — especially when we’re talking about culture is making sure you’re clear about the kind of organization you are, what are your values and principles, and how is that communicated through your job postings, your website, et cetera. And then most importantly, is are you hiring recruiters or do you see that role very much as a, you know — we have a director of guest experience. Well, it’s a director of a candidate experience, right? And what is the view they take to that role?

Now, again, thousands of applicants, it’s hard to have touch points with everyone. So you almost have to decide along our processes. The masses get this side type of automated response to us. And maybe it’s not all formal. Maybe the system, you know, spits out a very formalized, “thank you for applying.” But is there an automated kind of friendly text that goes out that represents the tone of voice and the personality of your company in your culture? And then as you get further along with the process and people, you know, let’s determine what are our standards of response that we’re going to keep that we think we can actually maintain? Let’s not overdo it because that’s just impossible to keep up. But what are the minimums that we’re going to provide? And, again, what are the types of people you have interacting with candidates?

Well, I’ve been fortunate in my past life when I was inside organizations, running an HR team where I would get feedback all the time from candidates about really appreciating my director of talent acquisition or a talent acquisition manager and really felt they connected with them and saw them as a resource because they’re representing the brand. They’re being honest about who we are and what we’re looking for. And oh, by the way, even when people come on site, what does that experience look like? My last organization, I often would be a last stop with some of our more senior candidates and they would often say to me, “Everybody looks so nice around here and so friendly, do you just tell them candidates are inside?” But it was part about how — you know, that was just the experience of working for us and candidates can see it and feel that, and that comes across on your communication or lack of communication. How do you make people feel seen and heard? Right, that’s what it’s about it. That’s why I love that it’s a human experience because that’s what human beings are looking for. Have I been seen, have been heard? Right? And so how do we create that without it becoming too cumbersome? And that’s the challenge for us, right? We have hundreds of applicants, but how do you create that unique experience?

ROBIN: Right, I love that. And, you know, so a question for both of you just on this. We talked a quite a bit about feedback. So do you think organizations feel comfortable providing candidates feedback that’s less than stellar? And if the answer is no, what would you suggest?

LYNNE: This is an interesting question because I’ve always been pretty an advocate of providing people with feedback. I — as a matter of fact, you know, you asked for one piece of advice. The piece of advice I always give to candidates is, you know, make sure if you don’t get a role, ask for feedback because it’s an opportunity to learn. You might not have, you know, earned that spot today, but it certainly helps you prepare and you know what your strengths and opportunities are and how you can prepare for the next one. I think that organizations have to be good at. I think you want to be really specific about providing them some positive that they brought to the process, and what maybe what the other candidate had that made them a better fit. And I know it’s difficult because people don’t want to say anything that could possibly go the wrong way. But you really want to position it around how much you value them, how much you value their participation in the process. And that here were the experiences they brought to the table that were really helpful, but you just found a candidate who was just a bit stronger as opposed to comparing them to them. But I didn’t need to be very helpful for a candidate.

ROBIN: Yeah. And I love when the candidates call back and say, “Hey, can I get some feedback about what I could do better next time, what I was missing?” I love that.

JAN’AE: I definitely agree with Lynne. I think the feedback is so important to candidates. A lot of candidates will reach out to me and say, “Jan’ae, is there anything you could tell me that would better prepare me for my next interview?” They want that. So I think being able to be candid, respectful, but giving them that true feedback on things that they can improve upon, but also tell them what they did good, you know, as well giving them that positive feedback. I think they would be more receptive to receiving it, but a lot of them want it even if it’s, you know, bad news, “Let me know, so that way I can check you off my list and focus on the other two companies that I’m speaking with.” So, I think that’s, you know, very fair for candidates to have that expectation. So, I think, you know, it’s important. It goes along with the experience, right? What are they going to remember about you and your company. So, you know, in the future, you know, you might need to reach out to the candidate at another time for a different opportunity. Maybe they weren’t the right fit for that role before they apply for but maybe, you know, something comes along when you think of them like, “Okay, I need to reach out to this candidate again because they have the experience I need.” What was that lasting impression that you have with that candidate? They will remember, “That person took time out to talk to me to give me advice and give me feedback on things that I can improve upon.” So I think that’s important.

ROBIN: Great, thank you. Lastly, if you all could leave all of us with two things. One, what is one thing employers should be doing as they think about candidate experience? We’ve talked a lot about a lot of them, but if you could highlight one of them. And then what is one thing you would kind of give advice to candidates that they should be doing as they think about the experience? Jan’ae, let’s start with you.

JAN’AE: One thing that I think employers should do and one thing that I do with candidates especially if they move through that interview process is debrief with them just as I would debrief with the hiring manager, right? Debrief with a candidate as well. You, at times will find out that they’re not even interested anymore after meeting with the hiring manager. So that way, you don’t have to worry about getting ghosted later, right. But asking those questions, seeing how their experience was, you know, thus far, and maybe, you know, answering any other questions that they might have that might have came up and they didn’t quite ask in the first interview, but they need a little bit more clarity on. But I think putting those processes in place to ensure that you’re touching those candidates throughout that recruiting process is important, as well as, you know, I know it can be tedious and time consuming, believe me, I do it on a daily basis, going through those resumes, those applications, but especially when you see candidates that yet they’re not quite there. But, you know, if it’s possibility, reach out to them. Have a conversation because some candidates just are not skilled when it comes to writing a resume and selling themselves. So reaching out to them and talking to them, starting the conversation, it may just be a five -minute conversation, because you might realize that this is not a good match. It’s not the right opportunity for that candidate. But it could turn into a 30-minute conversation or you might end up getting a referral from someone that they may know, you know, that can feel an open opportunity that you might have.

So I think really putting those processes in place so that way you can try to touch as many as possible. You won’t be able to touch all I’m sure, you know, with the hundreds of applications you’re seeing, but try to touch as many as possible. And then for the candidates themselves, selling yourself. A lot of candidates that I see come through, they look good on paper. They have the experience. They have the educational background that I’m looking forward to fill opportunity, but when they get into a room of panel interview, they struggle with selling themselves. But I think, you know, coaching them and giving them information, “Here’s the job description, so that which you can review,” I think is helpful. So that way, they could try to better prepare for that first meeting. But those are the two things that I would like individuals to think about following up and creating those debriefing.

ROBIN: Fantastic, thanks. I really like that candidate debrief. That’s great. And, Lynne, how about you?

LYNNE: Yeah, just two points really. First, from the company standpoint, again, really think about your peak and end, and, you know, there’s lots of little steps in between, but if you can add something unique to the beginning and the end that certainly can help. And I also want, you know, again, as part of this marketing as it’s difficult sometimes to find qualified candidates, sometimes we put parameters or restrictions around even how we post a job like, you must have five years experience or 10 years experience. And granted, you know, if you take out years of experience, you might get lots of people who are underqualified, but at the same time, could it be better to really word it around, “Here are the skills and experiences. Have you done this? Have you done something like that?” Versus saying five years because it may have some people shy away saying, “Well, I really only have three years,” because again, to Jan’ae’s point, they don’t have that confidence. They don’t know how to sell it, and they see a barrier right there in the job posting. So it seems pretty obvious, but I think that’s one thing we need to consider about. Again, how do we tell the story and what are you really looking for in a candidate? What what are the must-haves in terms of skills and experience and does the time in job matter as much? In some cases it does. But you know, make sure you’re not creating a barrier with any of the words or the criteria that you’re putting in your job posting. And again, creating that experience on the front and the back end, essentially.

And for candidates, and I really want to say this mostly about those who are considering ghosting the potential employer. One, it’s about being respectful. But also, every interview you go on is an opportunity to practice interviewing, and to expand your network. And if you don’t show up, you might have missed an opportunity to meet someone who can introduce you to a role in a different organization through their network. And so never pass up the opportunity to practice interviewing, and to expand your network. And then finally, to ask for that feedback, take every opportunity. Be curious to learn and grow about how you can be a better team member anywhere in the future.

ROBIN: Great. You guys gave some great examples. I love that, too, you know, the practice piece, but you never — I mean, I think it’s such a small world. We bump into each other all over the place. And so that really makes it. And also too, as you mentioned, sort of are ou kind of overstating something. We do some work with an organization called Merit America. And they really challenged us to say, “Do you really need to have a college degree on some of our jobs?” And it’s amazing what happens when you get to open that up. So, thank you both for that. And thank you for all of your insight and wisdom. It’s been really informative.

So now, I’m going to transition it to Jason Ferrara who, as Brianna mentioned, is our Market Insight Expert. He’s going to talk a little bit about what we’re hearing from candidates and the candidate optimism report.

JASON: Thanks, Robin. Everyone, thanks for joining today. So with this topic of candidate experience, we thought it was interesting to give you a sneak peek at some research that we’re working on here at Outmatch. And it really goes to this notion that the voice of the candidate is so important in the process. That’s why we’re doing this piece of research that we call The Outmatch Candidate Optimism Report because we want a real-time indicator of candidates in the market and what they think about the job market in general.

So that’s why we’re doing this research. Like I said, it’s a sneak peek. We’ve been doing it for — we’ve been surveying candidates for a few months now, and have some interesting, interesting results to share with you, so I just want to go through those. The first thing I like to talk about is what we’re asking candidates, so you understand the results that we’re getting back. So the first thing we’re asking is really about perceptions in the job market, that you — that a candidate experiences. How positive are they about their ability to get a job? How positive are they with regard to the job market? Second question would be, how long have you been looking for work, right? Somebody who’s positive about the job market maybe new in their job search, want to understand that life cycle for somebody.

And, you know, and the third question is, you feel that the current job market provides you with the right type of salary, adequate or inadequate just to get an understanding there, and what it’s like in the past month, what their experience has been in the past month in their outreach from employers. So this goes back to what we were just talking about, the candidates optimism, their experience and what employers are saying with regard — or what candidates are saying and how employers are reaching out to them.

So some of this research that we found, I have three pieces of the results that I’d like to share with you. The first is job candidates are overwhelmingly optimistic about their ability to get a job and the job market in general. Not sure this is all that surprising, especially when you think of the number of people who are new searching for a job. Most of the people who are responding to the survey have been looking for a job less than a month. But I do think what’s interesting, and as you look at this over months, is to see a trend that aligns with the general economy. How does optimism and the general US economy relate to each other? And that’s something we’ll be looking, a relationship we’ll be looking to see month to month. And then — but the other big thing, I think, for this particular conversation that’s so interesting is candidates are receiving mixed interest from employers. So you have some candidates saying that “I’m receiving more interest from employers,” and you have around the same amount saying “I’m receiving less interest from employers.” And as it relates to this peak-end concept that we talked about, as it relates to how we as as companies and hiring managers are responding to candidates, it’s interesting to see the candidates’ perspective here.

If you think about it, it can be the shorthand here is, “I’m excited about my prospects about getting a job. I don’t feel like employers are all that excited about contacting me.” And that may be a generalization, but I definitely think it hits home with this conversation here. And hopefully, what we take away from it as employers is, let’s look at our experience. What is that experience that we’re giving candidates? Have we gone through that experience as if we were candidates? How do we understand what those candidates are going through? And how can we be more human about that process? So this is what we’re hearing from from the voice of the candidates out there. And as as we learn more, we’ll be rolling this research out more broadly, but just wanted to sneak peek that because I think it really relates to this, how they give candidates the right amount of love and what can you do to think through how you approach a candidate what their experience might be?

BRIANA: Thank you, Jason, for sharing that research with everyone on the call. There’s definitely more to come on that. So we’re happy to share, you know, as we learn more about this and put more of our research report together, and we’d love to be able to share that with everyone. And we’ve got just a couple minutes left. So if you do have a question, please get it in. And if we don’t have time to answer, we can follow up with you after the call.

We did have Jacqueline right in asking for some fresh ideas on how to drive applicant flow. So I hope we were able to cover some of that in our discussion today. And I can write up a recap of top takeaways from the webinar and share that out with everyone.

It looks like we’ve got another question and a couple questions here. So we’ll see what we can get to. How do we manage candidates when there’s a gap and expectation of their current skills? Looks like especially in the IT world.

ROBIN: So kind of, I think, the way I heard that question is, “I’d like to do X in IT, but my skills really don’t allow for me to do that.” And I think kind of to Lynne’s point, maybe some time on the job is important there, I think, as I’m hearing that question. Is that right?

BRIANA: Yeah. And let’s do one more quick one before we break.

Laurie wrote in about, you know, we’re talking about social media and doing your homework on a company before you maybe go in for your interview. There’s definitely a challenge when your brand isn’t as well known. How do you overcome some of that?

ROBIN: If the message hasn’t been as great?

BRIANA: Yeah. So we’re worried about negative feedback on social media. But what if there’s nothing out there for people to learn about you?

ROBIN: I think I’ll just jump in here quickly, but I think, you know, one of the things that you can do as an organization is as you bring an onboard employees, one of those social media channels that you would like them to be sharing your brand with. So, for example, not requiring it but reminding people, “Hey, if you’ve had a great experience, during the candidate experience, we’d love to hear about it.” We use channels like Glass Door or we’re big in LinkedIn or Instagram or whatever your social media channels are. But if you share that with new — particularly new hires because they’re so anxious, and they want to get started, and they’re looking for things to do immediately, you start to bring that into that. I think the other thing is thinking about in your your target area, what is that thought leadership that you really want people to start to think about your brand about? What does that look like for you? And how do you start to do that and what are those posts that you might create?

It’s interesting, I was looking at a couple of organizations recently, and I noticed, you know, nothing had happened on their social media accounts since the end of last year. So again, I think being really active is important. You know, Jason, you’re kind of the market insight expert. What do you — do you have any thoughts for people?


Sorry, we’re in a bit of a room that Jason’s got to run now.

JASON: So I don’t want to be off of the background. No, I think the, you know — if everybody needs to be active on social media, especially, as Lynne said, the emerging workforce is expectation that you are there, you are interacting, and that part of that candidate experience. It is really as simple as if you don’t have someone on it, find someone in your organization to get on it. Starting is better than waiting until you have a strategy, honestly. But then certainly develop that strategy as you move forward, and and then ask candidates who have good experiences, even ones that you may not be hiring, you know, to to to post and to work with you on social media.

BRIANA: Great. Thanks. Thank you, Jason. And you’re right. I don’t think we answered the question about the skills gap. But we do have an upcoming webinar. We’ll have one this summer on upskilling and what to do about bridging that skills gap, so keep an eye out for that. And we’ll be able to dive much more deeply into that.

ROBIN: But we’ve got some other things that we can share in the followup, too —


ROBIN: — I think in between other questions. Sorry, we did —

BRIANA: Sorry. That was a good question. I didn’t mean to just gloss over it. So, thank you so much for everyone who attended. Thank you to Lynne and Jan’ae for being our special guests on the panel today.

I chatted in that SHRM activity ID if you want to grab that before you go, and I hope to see everyone back next month. Thank you.