How’s your newsfeed - full of LinkedIn 2019 Global Trend Report think-pieces? The most recent report has been dissected by HR influencers the world-over (including this awesome hot take by our own Aussie team), but it was one small sentence, buried at the bottom of the intro that caught my attention:

“...many companies are starting to embrace a more equal employer-employee relationship—not just because it looks good, but because it’s good for business.”

A more equal employer-employee relationship is good for business. Sounds obvious, right?Organisations around the world have been implementing policies to support this shift for a while now. Becoming more transparent, working with employees to design flexible, supportive work environments, investing in benefits and learning&development programmes that are exciting and personally fulfilling.This is cool but the thing that really hooked my attention was the idea that this shift is good for business. There’s a financial benefit to treating your people like, well, people. And if this applies to employees, it has to be true for the candidate/employer relationship as well.Let’s take that idea for a walk for a second.

What’s standing in the way of a more equal employer-candidate relationship?

Trust, respect and mutual benefit are the cornerstones of any equal relationship. Now, I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess most of us have every intention of building our candidate interactions on those founding principles. But the reality of high volume, high pressure recruitment processes mean most of us are missing the mark more often than we’d like.Sometimes it’s a resourcing thing - not enough time, over-stretched teams, tight budgets.Sometimes it’s a lack of inspiration, or a sense of overwhelm with the herculean task of changing anything to do with HR/TA process. Talk about facing Everest - changing processes that are embedded across multiple markets and teams can be an intimidating task.But here’s the good news: Mountains are eaten one, tiny, managable bite at a time. You don’t have to change the whole world. A small change can have big impact when it comes to your candidates feeling more respected or helping them trust you.

What would a more equal candidate-employer relationship look like?

Remember the cornerstones we mentioned earlier? Trust, respect and mutual-benefit - these are deceptively simple to start dialling up in your recruitment process.It starts (kind of obviously) in your ads and job descriptions. Share real information. Make sure they sound like a human wrote them and give clear, concise, honest information. Think about the ads you see everyday - not just the recruitment ones, think about the hundreds you see each day for cars, snacks, toys, homeware. What makes you instantly feel like a brand is trustworthy? As someone who spent the better part of 10 years analysing this stuff, let me tell you it’s not lots of flashy keywords and seductive messaging. Without fail, it boils down to using clear language, not making overblown promises, and giving people the information they need to immediately understand if the thing is right for them or not. Exactly the same should apply to a recruitment ad.Is your application process communicating respect? For example, talking about inclusion and your “people-first” culture is undermined by only asking for hard skills or qualification data in your application. Including some way for candidates to share soft-skills and values information with you is a practical way to show you’re considering them as a whole person - not just a resume.Ahem. There are some really great tools you can use for this. Cough.Giving feedback hardly seems like a revolutionary idea. But it could be. Consider this:

What if the recruitment process itself was rewarding - a valuable, educating experience for every candidate, even if they don’t progress to the end.

Atlassian are doing an awesome job with this. Using their custom Weirdly quiz to give every potential candidate the kind of valuable insight that makes the time they spent applying worth it.

With this kind of experience, the recruiting team gets smart screening and volume reduction, but more importantly the candidates are educated about the company’s values, made more self-aware about their own and the alignment between the two. This is not a privilege afforded to the shortlist. This is respect the team at Atlassian are showing to Every. Single. Candidate.The skills-gap and talent shortage challenges we all face aren’t going anywhere soon. But if we use our application process to help educate candidate pools in small ways we could make real inroads to closing that gap. Whether it’s improving self awareness and highlighting opportunities for soft-skill development, or more overt encouragement toward upskilling.

Individually, these ideas make for a better candidate experience - one that builds trust and shows respect. This mutually beneficial approach puts you and your candidate on a more equal footing. You’re sharing the power - allowing them to make more informed decisions, earlier. And, just like LinkedIn’s quote about employees, that doesn’t just make you look good, it’s good for business.

We've got some cool examples of companies using Weirdly to deliver a better candidate experience. We'd love to share them with you! Just click the link below to book a quick demo and we'll also talk you through how Weirdly could work in your process.