Kristina FinsethMarch 20, 2017
Topics: Recruiter Experience

4 Recruiting Terms, 1 Challenge

There are four terms you’ve probably heard being thrown around countless times in the recruiting world.

- Candidate Experience

- Personalization

- Integration

- Passive Candidates

I challenge you to forget the definitions you already have imprinted in your mind about these terms. I’m going to redefine them.

Candidate Experience Think about any popular app or website you use – maybe Netflix, Spotify or Amazon. In this day and age, those examples serve the kind of experience that consumers (AKA your candidates) are expecting. These companies have set the standard for not just consumer experience – but candidate experience.

In order to provide this level of experience, it goes further than just having great content or making sure your career site has a different picture on every job category page. You can have a slick looking site, but if it’s not tailored to each individual – then it’s just another static career site.

The brands I mentioned before have such great experiences because they learn the behavior of their consumers, and get smarter as they interact. That’s the kind of candidate experience that’s expected today.

For example, when you navigate Amazon, it’s a linear journey – meaning it’s not the same static landing page each time you come back. It knows what you look at last time you visited the site, what you may be interested in, and starts to learn about you. Plus, you don’t see their back-end system when making a purchase, concealing their internal process.

This is how companies should be redefining candidate experience, taking note from e-commerce and the apps that are disrupting industries across the board.

Personalization Personalization is in the same arena as candidate experience. Again, just having great content and segmenting it by job categories isn’t true personalization.

True personalization goes back to that e-commerce-like experience. Each candidate should get a different experience – based on who they are, what they do, and where they are located. It should get better with each and every visit.

Content is an amazing way to personalize. While sending out targeted content to different talent communities based on interest is good, it’s also kind of obvious. Content personalization should start on the career site and speak to candidates in real-time based on their behavior. It shouldn’t be limited to what the candidates tell you they want to see.

We’ve talked about “The Great Content Divide” and how 70 percent of your traffic lands right in your ATS – completing bypassing the content on your career site anyway. Weaving your content down to a job description page can be the difference between engaged candidates and back-to-the-job-board candidates.

If Amazon didn’t remember your last visit and offer up product recommendations, it wouldn’t be Amazon. If Netflix didn’t remember what you watched last and offer up new shows, it wouldn’t be Netflix. If your career site isn’t detecting candidates, remembering them, and making recommendations – it isn’t really personalized.

Integration I'm talking about integration from the candidate perspective. I won't dive into API's and how your systems should be integrated on the back-end, because it's simply above my technical pay grade.

When redefining integration from the candidate side, you can easily decide whether or not your technology passes the test under this new definition.

When you navigate your career site and application, does it feel seamless? Can you tell you're interacting with a bunch of different systems?

If your career site, talent community, and ATS are integrated for a candidate, it means that they will feel like it's one seamless experience.

It's an archaic journey for candidates with how many different pieces of technology they can encounter in a job search. If you want it to be an experience that's up to date and enjoyable, then the candidate should never know how many different pieces of technology they are interacting with on the front-end.

Passive Candidates This is a term every recruiter knows – the passive candidate.

Up until recently, capturing passive candidates was strictly done through a talent community – meaning that candidates are offered a form to fill out and that’s your “passive candidate.”

I wouldn’t define someone who willingly (or unwillingly, if your talent community form is required) filled out their information as passive.

While talent communities can be valuable for talent relationship marketing purposes, it’s just a form that candidates have to opt into. It’s not ground-breaking technology.

You know who I would define as passive? Candidates who are looking at your site, consuming your content, checking out jobs, and not filling out any information.

Having access to those candidates means having access to engaged individuals who are looking in your window, but haven’t knocked on your door. It also means you can use that personalized content you worked hard on in a more targeted and intelligent way.


It may be challenging to take what you know about those four terms and throw it out the window. However, I urge you to try it. When you start thinking differently about something, you may start noticing gaps that you didn’t before.

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