The way professionals are treated during an application process is now a key deciding factor in whether or not they join a business, irrespective of whether the role is right for them.

Considering this, businesses must understand the differing expectations and preferences of the emerging workforce. These are the people whose skills and abilities, enthusiasm, drive, and energy, businesses want to bring in.

But what does top talent expect and why has the relationship between potential candidates and businesses shifted?  

To explore the mindset of the future workforce, with a focus on that of millennials in the workplace, we spoke to Mervyn Dinnen, multi-award-winning author, blog writer and HR tech influencer following our recent event, ‘The millennial mindset: How to recruit and engage top talent in your workplace’. 

Understanding the shifting demands of professionals in hiring processes 

Almost every business will be undergoing digital transformation in some form, which is why Mervyn highlighted that is important to bring in people who are comfortable with the uncertainty around digitalisation. What is key to attracting this talent, is ensuring that the experience of joining your company aligns with their expectations.  

“We need to move away from thinking it's about attracting a certain subset of people and broaden the thinking to how the world operates today, Mervyn explained. “The talent we need to move forward, whether they're 21 or 61, expects to be hired in a certain way.”

When looking at those who are just entering the workforce right up to those in their early 30’s, businesses need to understand that these professionals have grown up in an age of constant information, constant updates, and constant notifications. “And it's not some fad, it's the way they live their life,” Mervyn stressed.

“The way we look at generations has to change. We must recognise that it's the socioeconomic, cultural, and family influences during adolescence that shape values, behaviours and expectations of individuals. For millennials particularly, what we see as new tech and the new way of communicating, is the norm for them.”

Your communication with candidates is losing you the best talent

Today, when doing anything online, most people expect things to happen quickly and want easy access to information. When applying for a job, professionals don't just want to put in an application, they want all their questions answered.

Ultimately, it's about respecting everybody, Mervyn said. “It doesn't matter what generation they are a part of, keep them in the loop so they know what's going on.”

Be upfront about the time it is going to take to arrange second interviews. If it's going to take two weeks, tell them. Mervyn said: “We want you back for another interview but it's probably going to be two weeks. We need to get the right person to interview you, or we need to set up an assessment”. Alternatively: “We like you; we just need to see more people because…” Be honest; if you’re honest, people don't mind. 

On the other hand, if you signal that perhaps you aren’t sure about that candidate, they are likely to go off and explore other opportunities. Open and transparent communication is the expectation among candidates, right across the generational divides. 

Ensuring an exceptional candidate experience is key

The simplest way to assess your current process is to apply for a job in your own business. “See how difficult it is. You'll be amazed by how many businesses don’t do that,” Mervyn commented. “Just ask people from around the business to apply for jobs to see what it is like and get their feedback.”

The second way to assess your process is asking candidates about their experience. “Interview people. Don't just send out a questionnaire, actually speak to them,” Mervyn said. “Whether you hire them or whether you reject them, find out what they liked and didn't like about the process. Because the main reason people pull out of an interview or turn down offers is the way they were treated during the process.” 

One mistake that many organisations make is to view their recruitment process as a filtering exercise. It is not. This mindset that those who really want to join the business will stick with the application process or they're not right for the company, is wrong.  

Mervyn suggests interviewing all candidates who apply to your business to investigate the following: 

  • How do they feel about the organisation?
  • How did they feel about the process?
  • Did they feel engaged?
  • Did they feel as though the information was delivered quickly enough? 
  • Did they feel respected by the organisation? 

The two most crucial touchpoints in a hiring process are between the first and second interview when you’ve decided you want to bring them into the next stage of the process, and after you've made them an offer before they start in the role. However, what several companies have found through assessing their processes is that the information delivered during these steps is lowest and the speed is slowest. So, if you assess your process and discover that you’re not meeting candidates’ expectations at any of these points, you know exactly what you've got to change.

If you would like to discuss how we can help support your hiring processes, get in touch with your local Michael Page office today.

Beverly Nicholas
Regional Talent Director, PageGroup

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