How Retailers like Follett Leverage Automation to Create a High Touch Candidate Experience

3 ways thoughtful automation can help transform your candidate experience.

I'm a contacts guy -- never had the urge to wear glasses.

But something changed recently. I'm not sure why, but I've had a strong desire to buy my first pair of eyeglasses.

I mean, who doesn't want to look smart and sophisticated in a hip pair of frames? 🤓

So I went with a friend and his sister to our neighborhood Warby Parker store.

We tried on a bunch of glasses and finally I landed on a pair I loved -- eloquently dubbed 'Percey'. I mean, who comes up with these wonderfully hip names?

While we were there, my friend's sister -- we'll call her Sarah -- made a comment about how much fun it would be to work at Warby Parker. She was about to graduate from college and was working at a restaurant and trying to figure out what was next.

Then we left and I went home to show off my new frames to my wife.

I saw Sarah a few months later and asked if she ever applied with Warby Parker. She hadn't, but she had recently started an entry level sales role for an insurance company, which came from a warm referral from a friend.

Which got me thinking -- when it comes to recruiting, how many potential candidates are we missing due to timing, noise, distraction, and/or just bad luck?

A modern recruiting strategy requires that you engage with potential candidates at the moment you have their attention -- or risk losing them forever.

And that's where thoughtful automation comes in.

3 Ways Automation Can Help Reimagine Your Candidate Experience

Automation gets a bad wrap. We've all experienced automation gone wrong -- where someone has carelessly pulled together an automated workflow that does nothing but benefit them.

It sucks if you're on the other end of that.

But thoughtful automation is something completely different. It requires deeply understanding the experience from a candidate's perspective.

At the end of the day, automation only works if both sides benefit.

Let's look at what a few innovative companies are doing to reimagine their candidate experience with the help of thoughtful automation.

#1: Give Candidates the Ability to Chat About Jobs While at Your Store Locations

Let's go back to the comment Sarah made while shopping at Warby Parker.

What if, while Sarah was shopping with Warby Parker, she could have easily chat about job opportunities and schedule time with a recruiter?

What if she saw a sign by the front door or the counter that said, "Interested in exploring careers at Warby Parker? Text JOBS to 89743 to chat with us about openings."

Sarah could have been matched to jobs, had her questions answered, and if she was qualified for an opening, scheduled time with a recruiter to discuss the role further, all while shopping for frames at the store.

That's exactly what retail brands like Follett and EyeCare Partners are doing -- making it easy for candidates to get matched to open jobs and text with a recruiter while they're at their stores/clinics.

And while this greatly improves the candidate experience, it also drives nearly 60% more traffic to jobs and increases the number of qualified candidates by 20%.

#2: Allow Candidates to Get Matched to Jobs, Pre-qualified, and Automatically Scheduled with a Recruiter -- Directly From Your Career Site

As a recruiting leader, you're spending lots of money driving eyeballs to your job postings, career site, and social media pages.

What if by improving the candidate experience, you could convert up to 25% more traffic on your career site into qualified leads and applicants?

73% of the workforce is passive candidates and they aren't coming to your career site to apply -- they're in research mode, trying to better understand your company and culture and checking out the types of roles you hire for.

Sarah actually went to Warby Parker's career site after we visited the store. But she had a bunch of questions and was overwhelmed, so she did nothing.

Passive candidates like Sarah aren't applying for your jobs. But it doesn't mean they aren't interested.

They will gladly engage in a conversation. And that's where a candidate-centric chatbot can come in handy.

Chatbots allow you to engage with candidates and drive more leads inbound through the power of conversation.

With a chatbot on Warby Parker's career site, Sarah could have:

  • Been quickly matched to job openings that were relevant for her
  • Gotten pre-screened for an opening on the spot
  • She could have scheduled time directly with a recruiter if she was a good fit
  • And if she had general questions about the company, culture, or process, should could have asked and gotten immediate answers

Putting candidates in the driver seat, allowing them to action on their own timeline, when and where it's convenient for them, can have a profound impact on the candidate experience.

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#3: Nurture and Engage Candidates via Text Message

Pause and think about the current state of your personal email inbox. Or your LinkedIn inbox for that matter.

If you're anything like me, you're getting a ridiculous amount of noise and spam and you check these channels relatively infrequently (a few times a week at best).

I regularly miss messages from friends across both channels.

But a text message? I'll see it in under 5 minutes and respond within the hour.

Your candidates are the same way.

Personal email and LinkedIn response rates are on the decline. Open rates hover around 20%.

But with channels like text message, 98% of your messages are opened, and they are responded to within the hour.

That's why we built Grayscale as a messaging-first candidate engagement tool--so you can engage and nurture talent the way they want to connect, which allows you to build stronger relationships, boost response rates, and move the process forward faster.

And you can easily respond to candidate messages and make proactive outreach directly from within your ATS, so you won't miss a beat.

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Give candidate what they want -- real time engagement on the channels they use every day.

Give ALL Candidates a Consistent, Thoughtful Candidate Experience

The worst thing as a candidate is to get the silent treatment from a company you're excited to work for. You spend all this time applying for a job and never hear back.

Or you interview with the company and patiently wait for feedback. But all you get is crickets.

What a terrible, disheartening experience! No wonder we all hate searching for a job.

Leveraging thoughtful automation helps ensure everyone has a great experience, regardless of whether they're a fit for your company or not.

The crazy thing is this -- by treating people with the dignity and respect they deserve, and by focusing on optimizing your process for their benefit, you deliver uncanny results for your hiring process.

You start attracting and converting more candidates. You have to do less selling. Glassdoor ratings go up. It's a virtuous cycle that helps drive down your time-to-fill.

Join us in creating high touch candidate experiences and humanizing the hiring process for all.

Want to learn more? Drop us a note and say hello! 👋

Ty Abernethy

Ty Abernethy is a former recruiter and co-founder & CEO of Grayscale.

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