Talent Acquisition

The White Glove Treatment: Treating Candidates and Employees as Consumers

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What’s your definition of employee experience?  Here’s mine: A place to pick up new skills, tackle engaging projects, and be surrounded by whip-smart peers who support and challenge me. So in the instances that the magic didn’t happen, the flame died, or the match never even got the chance to light, where did it go wrong, and why?

IBM InterConnect 2017, where 20,000 gathered to hear and see the latest in cloud innovation, planted these seeds. What does a mostly cloud-specific event have to do with HR? Well, what company isn’t transformed by HR? It’s a noble, serious business, and no longer a silo responsible for just the first phase of the employee journey.

In terms of my own career path, I’ve recognized a few “if-only’s” that were common themes during InterConnect sessions featuring Watson Talent:

If only analytics had powered the recruiting process.


No one likes to feel like just another number, or worse yet, invisible. Have you ever been on an interview where the recruiter or hiring manager didn’t bother to vet your resume? “We decided to go with a candidate with more of <insert proficiency here> background.” Or the classic recruiter ghosting. All about you in the beginning, then poof, gone. With the thousands of applications in the queue, it’s a given that each candidate won’t get a call or email. However, with cognitive tools such as Watson Talent Insight, organizations can filter the top talent more quickly and more efficiently thanks to a holistic, hyper-specific view—even down to skill set and job family.

If only the company had treated me as a consumer.


True story: One summer I decided to walk to a final-round interview at a company I’d long admired and consumed. Baaaaad call. The skies opened up, and torrential rain soaked me from head to portfolio pouch. A short trip to the company gym (which had hair dryers) failed to dry my formerly pristine shirt dress, and I was forced to slog through the interview. This obviously didn’t score any sympathy with my would-be manager, as a few weeks later, he sent my writing samples back with a Post-it marked: “Stay dry.” Woah. Rude, much? Recruitment is marketing. Just as candidates are expected to make a strong and lasting impression, so are companies. I never bought from that brand again.

If only I had opportunities to grow.


The reality of the job market calls for every professional to sharpen and pick up new skills regardless of seniority level. In fact, opportunities for growth ranked as a high priority for millennial job seekers, according to Mario Del Angel, a solutions consultant for Watson Talent and Kenexa. Don’t dead-end an employee who is taking the initiative for career development. Del Angel demo’d IBM’s cognitive Watson Career Coach tool, which maps a career path, pairing internal candidates to skills and jobs that might be a natural next step.

If only the company put a premium on culture.

As organizations look to outpace their competitors, investing in corporate culture needs to be a given. “When CEOs talk about why they win, it’s about having a culture that outperforms their competitors,“ Duke Daehling, Partner, GBS Talent & Engagement, North America IBM Watson and Cloud Platform, said during a session on employee experience. And improving that culture is a long-term win that extends beyond the walls of your own company. With Watson Talent Insights, both HR and leadership are able to surface social sentiment data from sites such as Glassdoor to refine their messaging to woo candidates, and correct internal problems in real time before their reputation gets rained on.

Failing to acknowledge and address the pain points is losing control of the business, and that can be detrimental to the bottom line. The breakneck pace of innovation demands that leaders partner with HR to execute upon their strategic vision.

I was thrilled to capture so many thought-provoking takeaways from the speakers at IBM InterConnect 2017, and hope to reunite with them again next year! To learn more about how cognitive solutions can transform your business, visit Watson Talent.

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