How ‘Chat’ Can Improve Your Candidate Experience

Technology can be a powerful tool when it comes to improving the candidate experience. That is, unless it ends up getting in the way of having genuine conversation.

In recent years, employers have increasingly been using technologies such as email, chatbots, social media, video and online events to attract and engage job candidates. But as they set out to do that, there’s always a concern that these technologies could ultimately get in the way of delivering a positive candidate experience.

At a session titled “Where’s the Talent? Next Level Candidate Experience in Healthcare” during last week’s Recruiting Trends & Talent Tech LIVE in Las Vegas, SSM Health System Leader of Employee and Candidate Experience Becki Feldmann detailed several strategies her employer is deploying to ensure these technologies are being used to maximum effect, including the use of “quick chats.” (Feldmann shared SSM Health’s story with the help of Brazen Director of Marketing Joe Matar and Katon Direct Managing Partner Marc Weissman.)

“Nobody wants your job,” Feldmann said. “They want to feel connected and hear your story.”

To that end, Feldmann and her team began a few years back to create a candidate experience at SSM Health, a Catholic, not-for-profit U.S. healthcare system with more than 40,000 employees in four states (Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Illinois and Missouri) that was “fair, transparent, fast and accessible, informative, always providing the opportunities for communication and feedback.

“I think the biggest change that we made in our process was to really open up the opportunities for candidates to learn about us and to engage with us before completing an application,” she said. SSM’s strategy to better connect with candidates included providing them with access to videos, allowing them to connect with the organization via social channels, receiving online alerts, signing up for live chats, attending in-person events and more. The last part of the equation was allowing them to search for a job.

Quick chats, in particular, have been successfully used to engage job candidates, Feldmann said.

Feldmann asked those in the audience to recall the last time they changed an internet provider. “How many times did a chat influence your decision to continue to engage versus walk away?” she asked. “This is what they’re expecting in the recruitment process, too. They want an easy connection right there and then, when they’re ready to talk.”

Through “real-time, quick chats,” launched last fall, candidates can connect with recruiters to ask questions that weren’t included in the job description, such as, does the job require working weekends? Or does it require a rotating holiday schedule?

If recruiters aren’t around, say at night, candidates can leave a message via chat so recruiters can get back to them the next day.

To complement the chat capability, SSM Health has also added an FAQ bot that features answers to questions that are repeatedly being asked by candidates. It also regularly holds online chat events presented by nursing leaders and other experts on topics that are relevant to the candidates.

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