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Micro-experiences in digital recruiting

Most organisations know that they are operating in the experience economy - their success no longer rests purely on maximising transactions, but is dependent on how those transactions are delivered.

Consumers and clients expect a seamless, intuitive, and effortless experience that makes their life easier. And so do our employees, as Brian Kropp, VP at Gartner, said in 2019: “Employees want their 9-to-5 to look like their 5-to-9”.

Research tells us that the way we treat our employees; recognise them; support their growth and development, and enable them to achieve their best work, is important to their decision to stay with us.

Shaping the candidate experience:

The evolution of the interview

Is it time to re-think the recruitment process?

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My own research amongst jobseekers found 87% said it is how they are treated during the application and interview stages that will determine whether they join or not. And data from Glassdoor indicates that 72% of jobseekers will share the details of a bad candidate experience online, deterring others from applying.

Many HR leaders see the candidate and employee experiences as something that they can create. In reality, it is how candidates and employees experience, perceive, and remember the hundreds of day-to-day interactions they have with their workspace, technology, colleagues, management and more.

These were identified in the OC Tanner 2020 Global Culture Report as “the personal, every day, career-defining, micro-experiences that shape their life at work”, and 92% of employees surveyed for the report said that they see the employee experience as their everyday experience.

This is hugely important when recruiting. To be able to attract and hire the digital talent we need, HR and talent acquisition teams need to be able to understand what our candidates are experiencing, so that they can create an application journey that works for candidates as well as the organisation.

Candidate frustrations are usually around a lack of feedback; length of time of the process; not knowing where they stand, and not having all the information they need to make a decision. It is important that these take priority when designing the application and hiring journey.

To fully understand the impact of micro-experiences, we need to reference the work of Doctors Chip and Dan Heath, and their book The Power of Moments. They differentiated between positive (peak) experiences and negative (valley) experiences.

Chip and Heath’s research found that the positive benefits of a peak experience can last up to four weeks. The negative feelings of a valley experience last only two weeks, but they are likely to be deeper.

Positive experiences are the ones we are likely to share with our friends, family, colleagues, and fellow jobseekers, so it makes sense to try to create as many of them as possible.

Research from The Talent Board found that candidates want consistent, concise, and timely communication from start to finish, and to understand the length and number of stages in the recruitment process.

The leading digital consumer brands know what their customers want, and can analyse, personalise, and optimise their experience in real-time. By focusing on the micro-experiences, we should be able to offer our candidates, and employees, the type of candidate and employee experiences that they will want to champion and share.


Matt Alder is a strategic consultant and Mervyn Dinnen a researcher, writer, analyst and influencer on HR, talent and worktech trends. Together they authored the book Digital Talent.