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Around the world in 14 days: Part 2

Customer Expectations Define the Experience

On our last day of meetings in Hong Kong we were able to take the afternoon to do some shopping before heading to the airport en route to Delhi, India. We were the most excited to go to one of the market’s areas known as Jardine’s Crescent. We talked to several local contacts, as well as former travelers to the region and area on what to expect. Everyone told us to anticipate tight quarters, crowed booths, and plenty of bargains. We were also told expect to bargain. Some suggested that we bargain aggressively because it was considered a sign of ignorance if you didn’t.

We were looking for local gifts to bring back to our friends and family in the States. Each booth was similar in merchandise and most very crowded with shoppers. Each experience was what we expected – except one. One booth had this sign prominently displayed alongside the handbags and goods they were selling. We were surprised to see it, and even found ourselves challenging it. The shopkeeper was firm in his position, and, ultimately, we moved onwards to find other shops that fit our expectations. I couldn’t help relating this shopping experience to what happens with our candidates as they approach company career sites.

Candidates are inundated with information on how best to reach the organization in which they are interested. In many cases our career site visits are much like walking down a crowded market street. We have in mind what we think we want, but we’re open to what the experience presents to us. How often are candidates told, coached, and advised:

  • We have a social media presence (Facebook/Twitter) = we are social
  • Register your information so we can stay in touch with you
  • Meet us face to face at an event (college, job fair)

In each of these cases candidates know what’s expected: they need to express interest.

Does our process promote an experience that once they engage, is not realized? Do we build out our marketing strategy, branding strategy, and promote the value of ‘quality talent’ only to present to the candidate, a “we’re not interested in you,” experience?

Customer service is key to candidate relationship management. Customer service starts with setting an expectation of what service is and the customer experiencing that expectation.

As the holidays are here and we’re preparing for 2012 – a new year of budgets and competitive recruiting efforts, consider this: When was the last time you were a customer to your own recruiting experience? If you haven’t been a ‘secret shopper’ to your experience, take an hour or two and see things through the candidate experience. You might find that you are promoting one experience and delivering another.