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Candidate Satisfaction: Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead

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Post Candidate Satisfaction: Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead   Sat Aug 13, 2011 8:52 am

If you have not seen Joe Cross's documentary "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead," you have a real treat to look forward to. It's free on Netflix Instant, watch it when you can.

It's Cross's story of traveling across America on a 60-day juice fast. The 309 lb. Aussie comments on life, food and fitness while interacting with Americans from New York to the shores of the Pacific. He loses a ton of weight, throws his medications away and rediscovers his health.

The twist in the documentary comes from the connections Joe makes as he traverses the continent. One chance encounter becomes the most uplifting and inspiring part of the movie. Cross happens upon a trucker in Winslow Arizona who weighs 419 lbs and shares Cross's ultra rare skin condition (the very condition Cross hopes to shake with his juice fast). Cross evangelizes the power of health and juicing to the trucker, offers to help him if he ever chooses to accept it, and continues his journey. Months after the fast, and after the film has ostensibly wrapped, Ross receives a quietly desperate call from the trucker that launches the third act of the film: The trucker's even more amazing and inspiring transformation.

What does this have to do with candidate satisfaction? I view the film as being primarily about connections. Ross's connections with the people he meets on the journey help fuel him through his fast and provide the meat for the story's progression. And his chance encounter with the trucker, which seems innocuous at first, ends up enriching his movie and the lives of the two men in ways that are as profound as they are unforeseeable.

Now think about all the connections that are made with your candidates for your open positions. Not just the ones you personally interact with. That's just the tiniest fraction. Think about all of them, anonymous as they may be. And let's assume you've created a compelling employer brand. One that captures the imagination of your prospective employees.

Like the trucker in Ross's movie, many have formed an unknown connection with your company. And many have so much value they could provide to your company, even if it's not apparent at the moment. You've captured their imagination with a strong brand that runs through your career site. But you don't have positions for all of them and most don't even apply. Now what?

Ross talked with hundreds if not thousands of people on his journey, and you can see in the movie that he captures each one's imagination with his honest tale of juice fasting and a quest for personal redemption (his brand). Ross leaves the door open and magic happens with just one chance connection.

I would guess that a lot of magic lies nascent in the connections that are being made with your online recruiting today. How well are you communicating with these connections? Are you encouraging these connections? Treating every connection with the respect and compassion that facilitates the kind of magic that is possible when connections align?

My experience is that most well intentioned recruiting organizations are killing these real and virtual connections with bad candidate experiences that diminish their brands and choke off their ability to access the best candidates. Great branding is wiped out with unnavigable career sites, frustrating online applications, indifferent follow-up and non-existent nurturing.

Remember, great brands are rooted in a fulfillment of a promise. They are proven with high satisfaction levels. If Google's career site returns poor job search results (kinda like YouTube's horrible search) and is incompatible with the latest browsers, then the promise is broken. If Zappos' application process is difficult and the follow up is uncaring, the promise is broken, satisfaction drops, and the chance of a magic connection happening is all but wiped out.

Ian Alexander is Founder and CEO of Survale online recruiting software. He was previously vice president of marketing for applicant tracking system provider, Cytiva Software. In his roles as vice president of KnowledgePoint and president of CCHKnowledgePoint, he was instrumental in building and marketing some of the industry's first Software as a Service (SaaS) applications.

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