How did we do? What people told us about their recruitment experience

How did we do? You can answer this question with the list of metrics that Neil suggests in our earlier blog and his book. As we are looking at Value Based recruitment there is another question – did we live our values in recruitment? What was peoples experience like and how can we improve?

After our recruitment workshop for Coaches and Community Circle Connectors, I asked everyone five questions based on the ‘touch points’ in their experience of recruitment. I did this by email, after they had been told whether they had been successful or not, and since then we have used the same questions as a survey monkey.

For each question, I asked people to give us  a score out of 10 for how well we did (10 was amazing and 1 was very poor) and I asked people to describe what worked well and how we could  improve. This gives us our first base line scores for our recruitment practice, as well as specific ideas about how we can get better. We have introduced some of these ideas already, and they also become the experiements that we test with out next recruitment. I made a mistake at the end of our recruitment process. I tweeted that we were delighted to have recruited our team in Wigan. Through this survey candidates pointed out the impact this had on them – thinking that this meant they had not been given the role. I am an enthusisatic user of twitter, and I learned an important lesson. I was tweeting that we had made a decision and did not think about how this could be interpreted by candidates. I would  not have known the impact of this if we had not done this survey and I emailed people individually to apologise.

Here are the five touchpoints we asked for feedback on, the information about the role, the conversation with candidates, the recruitment pack, the recruitment workshop, and feedback after the workshop.

1. The information about the role. 

I asked people about the advert, the ‘Could this be you?’ (our version of a person specification), the role description, and the ‘week in the life of’ information.

Score: 96%

What did people say worked about this?

People told us that they appreciated the “clear picture of what the role looked like help me to see myself in the job, understand whether or not I would enjoy it, be good at it and give me a really clear picture of the sort of person you were looking for. I like the way it moved away from qualifications and experience as often recruitment can become very bogged down in this.”

Providing ‘a week in the life of’ got several mentions, for example “I loved a week in the life of as it gave me a strong sense of the role and I could see the tasks broken down. I could then assess whether I felt I could fit in/deliver/relate my work experience to the role/team.”

Candidates suggested that we got a good balance of information, and appreciated the weekly video information as well “I found the literature engaging, captivating, open, warm, transparent, informative. You gave the right level of information about Wellbeing Teams and overall concept, but not enough to drown candidates. Please continue with the b/vlogging – it really shows your passion, commitment and humbleness of what you hope to achieve through the creation of the teams. You are practicing what you preach.”

People  told us that the advert stood out on Indeed, “I liked that it stood out to me, it grabbed my attention straight away when I was searching for positions because it wasn’t your stereotypical social care advert. It felt more personal, it had character and I just got a good sense of the people behind the advert which appealed to me.” 

People also commented on how different this way to the usual person specification  “I’m familiar with revising topics via a person spec so this was a refreshing change! It was more personal, around who are you and what can you bring rather than you need this certain skill set or you will not be successful.”

How could we improve?

People told us we could improve by adding video. “The information was great but I think this could be enhanced in the future with a short video from a Practice Coach  or coaches introducing the role and giving clear picture of the role and what a week looks like for them. As this way of working is new to most people, maybe a visual of the roles and how they work together. I know it’s written within some of the documents but it may make it easier to understand. It may provide some more context as it’s a new way of working compared to more traditional structures.”

Another person suggested having a Q and A page on the website.

What are we going to try next based on this feedback?

These are excellent ideas, and we are going to add a film from our Practice Coach, Team Coach and Community Circle Connector when we advertise for our next team, and have a link to Questions and Answers about the role.

2. The conversation

We invited people to have a 20 minute conversation with us as the next stage of the process, for us to learn more about each other.

Score: 94%

What did people say worked about this?

People told us it felt like a two way process  “It felt like a 2 way process rather than the usual application process. It was great to have the opportunity to pick a convenient time to speak. I felt like I got to,learn a lot about the role and the people in the organisation as much as she got to learn about me.” and “I think this is an excellent way to form a stepping stone with what could be your potential employer and it makes the initial meeting less stressful and formal. It also gives both parties the opportunity to assess their suitability before the next stage of a recruitment exercise.”

Candidates talked about it feeling efficient and I was relieved about this as we had added an extra step into the recruitment process and Neil emphasises the importance of being effecient “The ease of booking the appointment with Harriet. There were very few steps in the process which made it quick and simple. It was great that Harriet was able to give me a decision whilst on the phone. Harriet was friendly, happy to answer questions and gave a great impression of what it would be like to work in the Wellbeing Team.”

People alluded to how we were trying to look at power in the recuitment experience differently, “I liked the initial ‘booking a time’ to chat with Harriet because it felt to me, that it was a mutual appointment. Usually in the recruitment process you’re told what time you’re being interviewed, where and when whereas this was a different approach. Again, it appealed to me. I also liked the fact that I didn’t need to send anything to Harriet prior, she was simply calling me to see what I had to offer which I liked.”

How could we improve?

Two candidates were concerned about the first impression that they might have given “My only worry with this approach is that I believe that first impressions count. Although I feel confident on the phone and feel I can sell myself quite well in this manner, I think depending on your character, you might undersell yourself. I also like to see people’s expressions and body language. This is only my opinion however, I didn’t think it was a bad approach! I enjoyed the experience! My scoring reflects thinking in a wider context.”

What are we going to try next based on this feedback?

Next time we will experiement with using Zoom or Facetime with candidates so that we can see each other.

3. The recruitment pack 

We sent people the one-page profiles of the recruitment team, invited people to develop their own one-page profile and asked people to complete some basic information.

Score: 85%

What did people say worked about this?

People appreciated learning about the recruitment team through their one-page profiles  “good to get an idea about the people who were facilitating the workshop before the day itself” and  “It described everyone’s values and their personalities. I felt like I already knew everyone when I attended the recruitment day” and “I liked how you included the whole team, person-centered approach, I felt I got to know a lot about you all prior to meeting. It clearly displays how important you value your team as people and not assets!

Candidates said that then information was clear and detailed “there was plenty of information and it was all very clear” and “detailed, thorough. I had plenty of time to digest the info and wasn’t overwhelmed by the tasks. They were meaningful and relevant to the post.”

How could we improve?

We emailed packs to people, and one person commented that they would have liked a hard copy “I have a tendency to preferring information in hard copy, so my only reason for a score of 9 is that! Although I completely appreciate why info was sent via email.”

Unfortunately one candidate did not receive her pack (hence our low overall score in this category).

What are we going to try next based on this feedback?

We are going to proactively check that people have received their pack and we are also going to check whether people want the information in different formats, at the conversation stage.

4. The recruitment workshop 

Score: 94%

Everyone commented on the atmosphere. “the workshop felt like a big welcome – everyone was so relaxed and friendly.”, “I liked the warm and friendly approach, you greeted everyone personally, it was more like a team away day than a recruitment workshop.” and “It was nice to be part of such an open process that wanted to see people succeed.”

People told us that it did not feel competitive “the format of the day allowed us to all play a positive part, it didn’t feel like we were up against each other, the activities were all fun and encouraged our participation” and “It was fun and didn’t feel like a competition. I uttery enjoyed it!”

People liked the idea of the shared lunch, “The shared lunch was a great idea, it felt like we all played a role in making the day what it was. I really left having enjoyed myself and felt like I’d learned a lot.” “Lunch sharing was great too.” and “Creating a shared lunch was fab, it relaxed everyone over lunch and creating lots if opportunities for discussion.”

People said that they enjoyed the experience and it gave people a range of ways to express themselves “The exercises were perfect (right number also!) and gave the opportunity for people to just be themselves. Non-intrusive assessors. A really refreshing way to recruit…!” and “Varied activities gave a good range of options for us to express ourselves and celebrate our passions, strengths and voice our challenges in a way that felt safe, honest and authentic.”

Candidates had the opportunity to interview me and commented on this “Great that we got to interview Helen”. 

How could we improve?

Two people mentioned an activity where people were given a question and asked to position themselves along a rope where one end was ‘yes’ and the other end was ‘no’. Two people expressed concern about this “When we used the rope for the statements activity, I felt like some on my positions could be interpreted in a wrong way because most of us had a chance give one only answer each. It would be much beneficial to ask the every member’s answer for each position because we all think differently” and “The string of opinions exercise was good but could have been expanded to allow us to relate the statements to examples in our previous/current work in more detail”

Another person thought we could have done more with the one-page profiles “I felt one page profiles could have been used more effectively…Perhaps could have used them to work in groups to reflect on current and previous working practice in more depth.”

Also, was there enough opportunity for people to share their individual story? “I would have really valued the opportunity to maybe ‘share a story about me’ with one of the recruitment assessors on the day.”

The final point was whether the observers (recruitment team) were able to hear and see everything “My only criticism of the day was that on one of the tasks I wasn’t heard, this being due to the fact that our observer was not present when the task began. I also felt that I was observed by the same person but this was due to the groups mixing up, maybe the observers could be allocated a table and when the groups are asked to chose a different place they would go to someone different, only because different people see different things.”

What are we going to try next based on this feedback?

We are going to review how we use the rope exercise, build on one-page profiles more, and think about how we ensure that the recruitment team see and hear everyone. I also want to explore how we can enable people to share their personal story and the best time to do this during the recruitment process.

5. Being informed of the outcome and getting feedback

Score: 83%

What did people say worked about this?

The approach and the feedback was mentioned by several candidates: “receiving a telephone call from Harriet explaining that I had not been successful in my application was a positive experience because Harriet provided feedback and was very warm, open and encouraging.” “…communicated the outcome to me clearly and it was done in a sensitive way. Even though I wasn’t successful in the role I applied for, it was great to receive positive feedback and hear about other possible opportunities.”

The continuity – hearing from the person who you had the conversation with, and that is was not sent in an email  – was mentioned “Having a chat with Harriet to round the experience off was great, it felt like it had come full circle’.. It was a positive conversation, despite not having been successful in this particular role.” and “I like the way in which you called us individually and gave feedback and it wasn’t just sent in an email.

The speed of getting back to people was mentioned “Excellent that the response was within 24 hours” and “I was expecting to have to wait a day or two as this is what I am generally use to, sometimes a week! I was called within around 2 hours of leaving the recruitment day and was over the moon. It felt again, personal and in honest, I felt valued

How could we improve?

This is where people mentioned seeing my twitter post, “I was disappointed to see that Wigan posts had been offered and that this was posted on social media before all applicants had been informed. I was hanging in suspense until i got the call.” and  “I initially found out that I had not been successful by reading on-line that candidates had been offered the roles on the same day as the workshop.  It was a bit disheartening finding out like this and I wonder if in the future, would it be possible to inform all candidates before posting on-line.”

As well as hanging in suspense, the time of the call did not work for someone “The timing wasn’t great for me – I was in the middle of my daughters swimming lesson so not able to hear/speak as fully as perhaps would have been preferable – there’s not much you could change about that  it is up to me to follow up any further questions I had.”

What are we going to try next based on this feedback?

The obvious one that I have already mentioned is making sure all attendees hear they outcome before getting excited on Twitter. We are going to book a session with candidates to give them feedback when we meet them at the recruitment workshop, so that we have an agreed time to call, instead of people waiting by the phone.

I have learned a lot from this, and we have specific ideas to put into practice next time. Personally, I would never have known about the negative impact of my tweet if we had not done this, and if nothing else, I am glad I had this opportunity to learn and change (and apologise.)