What is candidate coaching and why should you offer it?

April 8th, 2020

Wait, what? Coaching for people who don’t even work for you? Why should you even consider it? We get that it’s a new concept, but we believe there are powerful reasons to do it. 

First let’s talk about what it is. Candidate coaching is a modest career transition benefit afforded to a select group of finalists that gave their best through a long hiring process, but ultimately weren’t hired. Every hiring manager has had the experience of wishing there were two (or maybe more) positions open, because the top handful of candidates were that good. You made your choice, but were sorry to see the others get away. These are the people to offer a candidate coaching service.

It’s a tangible demonstration of your appreciation, and it also speaks volumes about your culture and employer brand. And, since so few organizations are doing it at this point, it has the potential to have a really big impact on your reputation as an employer of choice.

It’s part of a concept that’s gaining ground in HR circles: the candidate experience. 

First, it was all about the customer experience (CX). CX refers to customer perceptions of the interactions between a business and a customer over the life of their relationship. It’s basically how well customers like you. A few years back, HR pros extrapolated that concept out and started focusing their efforts on the employee experience (EX). It’s about workplace culture fit, having the right tools to do the job, even career pathing and coaching. Basically, it’s how employees feel about their workplace and their day-to-day jobs. It’s important for hiring, retention, job satisfaction, your own company brand, and a whole host of other things. 

Now, there’s a new X that we need to be mindful of in HR: The candidate experience. It’s such a new concept, it doesn’t have an acronym yet. How about CanX?

CanX refers to the experience job candidates have from the beginning of their interaction with your company all the way through the hiring process. It covers the way they find out about a job opening, their initial contact with you whether it’s answering a posting on an online job board or networking their way to consideration for an interview, the interview process itself, and how you let them know they didn’t ultimately get the job. Adding candidate coaching to that experience 

Why should HR be focusing on people who aren’t yet employees? For many of the same reasons you focus on the employee experience.

Employer brand. We all know how important it is in the quest to recruit and hire top talent. A few savage reviews online and the associated word of mouth about the way you ghosted candidates or sent canned rejection letters will impact the quality of your next candidates. But if you offer candidate coaching, the word will get out of how well you treat people you don’t even hire. People will start imagining how great it must be to work at your company.

Bottom line impact. According to the Talent Board, a nonprofit organization focused on the elevation and promotion of a quality candidate experience, 41% of job seekers who give their candidate experience a (negative) 1-star rating will definitely take their alliances, product purchases, and relationships elsewhere. It also means that they won’t refer others to your company, and won’t apply again themselves. On the other hand, 64% of job seekers with 5-star candidate experiences will definitely increase their relationships with those employers.

Future openings. It makes sense to keep those relationships with qualified people on the front burner as you say farewell. You’ll have job openings down the line and may want them to apply again and recommend that others do so. You want them to be champions of your company out in the world. You want them to say nice things about the process on Glassdoor.

We’ve built our business on providing outplacement services and career development coaching for employees, but now we’re taking it one step further to provide coaching support for job candidates as well.

Want to find out more about how we can help boost your CanX? Contact us and we’ll be happy to talk with you about it.

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