It started at my kid’s soccer game. I just happened to overhear a conversation from someone who had recently applied at SSM Health. Naturally, my ears perked up, but my interest quickly turned to disappointment when they didn’t have good things to say. Couple that with a message from leadership about a referral that shared that our application process took too long, and the message was clear: it was time to take a good, hard look at the SSM Health candidate experience.
Gathering the Data
It started with feedback and measurement. First, we wanted to hear from everyone involved in the TA process, so we went on a listening tour to hear what they had to say and get their commitment to the changes we wanted to make. We started collecting data where we could so that benchmarks could be established – for example, how long it took our candidates to complete an online application. And, we participated in the CandE Award Research through the Talent Board to hear directly from our candidates.
The results confirmed that the work that we have done and continue to do is dramatically changing the look and feel of the candidate’s experience with SSM Health. With more than 100,000 candidates annually, we can’t promise them that they’ll all get hired, but we can promise them a hiring experience that will deliver on 6 things:
- It will be fair
- It will be transparent
- Our team will be fast & accessible
- It will be informative
- We will offer regular communication
- We’ll provide opportunities for feedback.
Delivering on Our Promises
We work to deliver on these promises every day. We’ve created an applicant status tracker that candidates can access anytime, to see where they are in the process. We’ve brought in new technology like Montage that helps to free our team from some administrative tasks, letting them interact with more candidates.
Seeing the results has been phenomenal. It now takes candidates an average of 3 ½ minutes to complete an application on our site, and we only have an 8% drop off rate. We’ve been honored with a CandE Award and other industry accolades. Candidate feedback is strong, and there’s more to come.
5 Ways to Transform Your Candidate Experience Now
Starting a project like this can feel overwhelming, but there are easy things any organization can do now that will have a real impact.
1. Start measuring
Do you know how long it takes a candidate to fill out an application? How many candidates drop out before they finish? How long candidates sit in any part of your hiring process? Start measuring and find out!
2. Show who you are
Our culture makes SSM Health who we are, so we let employees share their stories. No fancy equipment or crew required – it’s just me and my iPhone!
3. Be a resource to job seekers
We want to be a resource to our community. For example, we’ve started a series called Talent Talk, which features SSM Health representatives discussing common job-hunting questions and concerns. It streams live on Facebook and then we post to YouTube.
4. Be accessible
Offer alternate ways for candidates to connect when it’s convenient for them. At SSM Health, you can apply online, you can attend a live chat, or you might start the process via text!
5. Use your technology with your team
If you’re bringing technology onboard, try it out on your team first. Before we launched Montage, I recorded an on-demand video interview that talked about why we chose Montage, and how it was going to benefit our candidates and our recruiters. If your team members can get their hands on the technology first, they’ll accept it more readily.
Becki Feldmann is the System Leader of Employee and Candidate Experience at SSM Health. She has been with the organization for 13 years. Most recently, she has been a key player in prioritizing the organization's commitment to candidate experience. As a result of this work, SSM Heath was one of only three health care organizations to receive the CandE Award from the Talent Board in 2016. SSM was also recognized by Glassdoor for Best Places to interview in 2017. SSM Health believes that the way they treat candidates will be the differentiator that makes them choose SSM Health as an employer…and as a health care provider.