Candidate Experience & Cultural Fit – Interview with Anja Kristin Bank – Vodafone

Published on 05-10-2017

Integrating a high-quality candidate experience into the recruiting process can be a big challenge. As part of our expert interview series, we discuss topics such as Cultural Fit, the impact of a company’s culture and limits of applicant management systems with Anja Kristin Bank, Employer Brand Manager at Vodafone Germany.

What is the current situation at Vodafone in terms of candidate experience? How relevant is the topic?Interview with Vodafone Germany

A positive candidate experience is extremely important during the recruitment process. Obviously, we are not the only company looking for talent and especially nowadays it is highly relevant to convince candidates of Vodafone’s advantages during the recruiting process. Also, it is just as important to us that we treat applicants we have to reject in a fair manner. We would like applicants to be satisfied with the process, even if they do not get the position. In the end negative experiences such as ‘the process took too long’ always spreads quicker than positive. On top of that, a fluid candidate experience makes our lives easier as well: If the process flows without any disruption there is no extra work involved for us such as answering questions due to missing information. It’s a win-win situation!

“A fluid candidate experience makes our lives easier as well, (…). It is a win-win situation!”

What role do social media channels and other online recruiting methods play in the candidate experience?

First of all, it is important to define the starting point of the candidate experience. For us at Vodafone it begins with the tracking of possible talent. Obviously, we are also using social media channels for that. Vodafone Germany is present on all major platforms. However the likes of Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram etc each have a very specific target audience. That is why we are not producing and distributing the same content across these channels but analysing first who is using which channel. Based on our findings, we generate specific content and adapt the amount of information. So, for example, our Snapchat account is mainly focusing on a young target audience and therefore includes rather simple and funny content. Our LinkedIn and Xing profiles, however, are aimed towards working professionals and thus feature more serious content such as current performance results.

To which extent are you in contact with candidates during the application process?

At Vodafone, we have a lot of touch points with candidates during the application process, via mail, phone and in person! Also, we ask the candidate for feedback about our application process twice: The first time after an application has been received, to know if in terms of technology everything worked out, and a second time at the very end, after hiring or rejecting the applicant. Another touch point is right before the job interview: We send candidates a short video in which we welcome them again and provide them with a short introduction of our campus, employees and provide a bit more information about working hours, etc.. This way, they have a clearer picture of life here at Vodafone before the actual interview!

Let’s discuss the Job Interview stage in a bit more detail.  How is Vodafone trying to create a positive experience here?

A basic rule for job interviews at Vodafone is that we treat one another in a respectful way. Even though sometimes it is obvious that a candidate is not the right fit for us, we give them the chance to present themselves properly. We do not just stop the interview. This is the only way we can guarantee constructive feedback for and from the candidate at the end. 

“Even though sometimes it is obvious that a candidate is not the right fit for us, we give them the chance to present themselves properly.”

When we invite a candidate for a second job interview we also give the candidate a voucher to grab a cup of coffee with a potential future team member in our cafe before the actual interview. This gives the candidate the opportunity to ask any questions – peer to peer – without a manager or recruiter present to truly understand the work environment.

Working at Vodafone

Do you have any special arrangements for a newly hired employee in the time between offer acceptance and first day at work?

We do, indeed! Newly hired employees receive a link to our PreStarter portal. On this platform we try to answer all the questions someone could have before starting a new job at Vodafone. For example, “Are there parking spots available?”, “What is the dress code?”, “Are there lunch options?” and many more. Besides those work-related questions we also try to provide support for employees who have to move to Dusseldorf, location of the Vodafone headquarters, for their new job. Questions such as “Where are the best restaurants?” and “Are there any sights I have to see?” are included in our Q & A catalogue. After all, just as much as our new employee we would like everything to go well on the first day!

Where do you still see room for improvement?

In my opinion, especially in the area of applicant management there is still a lot of room for improvement. It doesn’t matter which software a company is using, it often makes neither recruiter nor applicant 100% happy. Especially the user interface isn’t where we want it to be yet. However, it is difficult to change due to the huge amount of information and data those systems gather and process. At Vodafone, we therefore offer candidates the opportunity to send us their data via mail and we, ourselves, put it on the system. This might cost us extra time but improves the candidate’s experience immensely. That way, we don’t lose applicants due to minor technical difficulties such as forgotten passwords or incomplete file information.

“CompanyMatch enables us to communicate Vodafone’s values and working structure to applicants in an early stage. That is often impossible with a simple job ad.”

The CompanyMatch trend report clearly indicates that topics like Cultural Fit and corporate culture are increasingly relevant for job seekers. How do you adapt to this trend in terms of Vodafone’s candidate experience?

First of all, I should say that Vodafone has a very unique culture. On the one hand, it is extremely collegial, social, open and without fixed hierarchies, on the other hand, working for Vodafone is also demanding and challenging. From the very first day, we expect employees to be able to make decisions as well as work independently. Obviously, everyone who asks for help will receive it but we do not offer precise instructions of how to fulfil a certain task. Many people are not suited to such an amount of freedom. That is the reason why we are using the CompanyMatch services and product. CompanyMatch enables us to communicate Vodafone’s values and working structure to applicants in an early stage. That is often impossible with a simple job ad.

Thank you very much for your interesting insights into the candidate experience at Vodafone, Mrs Bank. CompanyMatch is looking forward to a successful partnership with Vodafone in the future!

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