How to Deliver the Unexpected Experience Every Time –– KGI’s Delivery Framework

The What

In over ten years of professional services engagements, we at Kinney Group have learned a lesson or two about how to really deliver the unexpected experience for our customers. As you can imagine, there are hundreds of elements that factor into delivering a “good” engagement.

Let’s focus on one engagement. You gather your NPS score and feedback in areas like the quality of your technical expertise, project management team communication, and the end solution that your team provided. Then, you place a bet on what made the project a win.

Now take hundreds of engagements, like the 500+ engagements Kinney Group has delivered on behalf of Splunk. This is where you start to identify trends and consistencies that truly made your engagement a win.

Historically, the secret to setting a team up for success on every engagement has been a mystery. But with years of data and customer feedback, we’ve created a new approach that ensures customer and company success… every time.

 

The How

There are four foundational elements essential to our business operations, each of which ensures a successful delivery framework:

  1. The Three Returns on Investment (3 ROIs)

As a company, we focus not only on the financial savings that our services provide customers, but also on the human and mission returns on investment that a successful delivery brings. Saving an organization the financial dollars, minimizing time spent on human intervention, and ensuring impacts that align with business objectives are the cornerstones of our delivery approach. Heck, we don’t even “close-win” our sales deals without nailing down the 3 ROIs to ensure we’re molding our offerings and services to best fit the customer’s needs.

  1. Culture

At Kinney Group, our CEO Jim Kinney (known to colleagues as JK) likes to say, “culture is our number #1 advantage.” A positive culture lays the foundation for direct communication, strong team structure, and colleague empowerment that ensures our people do good work. And in today’s age of remote work, the work from home stipend doesn’t hurt, either!

  1. Talent & Expertise

It’s no surprise that our world-class talent at Kinney Group is the result of a kick-butt recruitment team and high-quality colleague referrals. We like to think smart people know smart people (and then recruit them to join other smart people at KGI). This technical talent provides the expert knowledge and skill to deliver unparalleled work for our customers. Every team of well-equipped KGI colleagues are experts in their own fields, ready to offer support to customers and colleagues. Our robust recruiting efforts, from sales and marketing to project management and finance, all lead our engineers to deliver the best work for our customers.

  1. Methodologies & Systems

We are a highly technical company, so an obsession with effective systems is built into our operations. With the power of our analytics and automation experience, we “eat our own dog food,” as JK says, when it comes to investing in our systems and automating process to scale. We encourage transparent and consistent practices between our teams through team playbooks. Every internal team has a playbook filled with our documented processes, so when it’s game time, we have the play-by-play ready to hit the field.

 

The Why

Now for the why. The Kinney Group’s Delivery Framework is inspired by Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle: the What, How, and now the Why. Each of those layers became thoughtful steps we worked through in order to deliver the best services for our customers.

  1. A formula for customer success

If we use the 3 ROIs to truly understand what our customers need, everything we do should be focused around creating business value. Showing up and just completing the items on the statement of work is boring, and it doesn’t always provide the outcomes that leaders are seeking. Getting to the bottom of why our customers engage industry experts is crucial for our team to live up to our potential and showcase what our technology can do.

  1. Enable scale and consistency

Over the last year or two, we’ve really been able to focus on our delivery process. In that time span, we restructured our delivery department, added a customer success team, and implemented post-engagement support. We’ve been able to boil down the process of delighting our customers to a fine science with a consistent rhythm.

  1. Remove risks

With so many different teams working to ensure a positive customer journey, inter-departmental communication is key. We do this by installing an agile champion in each and every department (even the HR and Marketing teams)! Believing in the agile mindset is no small feat. We all have regular team stand-ups and syncs with others across the company. This allows us all to be on the same page and have our eyes on any potential issues that may arise. Keeping these meetings short, sweet, and to the point is crucial to moving at a Silicon Valley speed–even here in the Midwest.

The 3 Business Advantages of an Agile Framework

At Kinney Group, Agile methodology is an essential component of how we deliver projects and execute on customer success. To adopt Agile and reap the full benefits, it’s important to see the full picture of what this process can do for your business. In our years of execution on this process, here’s what we view as the key benefits that Agile can bring to your business model.

1. Ability to Pivot

 

Pivots are a mess to watch and can be intimidating to get involved with…(queue up the scene of Chandler and Rachel helping move a couch with Ross yelling “Pivot!”).

If a customer comes to you and says we just upgraded our systems from v1.5 to v2.0 – you’re next step will be to make changes to the software you’re developing for them. Maybe it’s an easy fix, but what if that’s just one of many continuous changes you see in a project… How about when a new revenue stream emerges for your business to take charge of before the market is saturated with competitors? Is your team scared to try bringing on the new challenge? Have you tried and fallen on your faces?

The ability to pivot quickly can be life or death in some situations. The best way to turn this chaos into a competitive advantage is to put a new way of thinking around this new idea.  Let’s talk about pivot and process.

2. Drive Your Process

 

First, let’s talk about different processes that drive agile. Agile is a mindset. There are many frameworks to get the job done- Scrum, Kanban, Scrumban, Extreme Programming, SAFe, LeSS, Lean Software Development, Crystal, DAD, AgileUP, the list goes on. Take the framework that fits your team and run with it. Make the AGILE planning scale to your business.

A perk of working at a company like Kinney Group, that’s fast-paced and zoned in on results, we’re able to constantly adapt our Agile methodology to fit our team’s needs. As a Scrum Master, here are some questions I’ve seen asked by team members…

Can we do a PI Planning Session for a team of two people?

How about combining two different scrum teams into one stand-up?

What about a Scrum of Scrums? Can we get our business leaders internally tracking on company goals? Oh, and leave out the Scrum Masters?

I’ll give you a hint, the answer to all of the above is YES. Typical PI Planning is for an Agile Release Train (ART) made up of 50-125 people from multiple scrum teams consisting of 5 or more individuals. With a company size of about 85 employees, that would be our entire business. Make the planning process meet your business’s needs and size down.

3. High Performing Teams

 

The best leadership trait from the Agile Manifesto is to Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need and trust them to get the job done. At Agile MeetUps, I hear this all the time from other Scrum Masters: working with high performing teams is one of the best feelings. Realistically, a team reaching this status only happens 1 out of every 10 teams you work with. It’s your job to empower your scrum teams to be excited to work on each project. Agile encourages up, down, and all-around communication.

Our CEO, Jim Kinney, tells us all the time, “When we’re running in the same direction, we are unstoppable.” Delivery early and deliver often. You’ll never have the dreaded conversation “Stop! You’re going the wrong way” again. Delivering small bits of value on a consistent, often weekly, basis will keep your stakeholders informed of what you are working on and the direction you’re headed.

 

“When we’re running in the same direction, we are unstoppable.”

 

Kinney Group uses Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®) as a jumping-off point for our Agile journey. We’ve taken this process, made a few mistakes along the way, and turned it into a process that has brought our company to the next level. By utilizing this process, our company has been able to accomplish our goals quicker, bring on new revenue streams, and develop our own product solutions package. All while keeping our company culture and doubling down on a customer-centric approach. If you’re looking for successful services delivery, let our process work its magic and help you solve your analytics and automation needs.

Learning on the Daily at a Scale-up Tech Firm

A group of engaged Kinney Group employees volunteering at Gleaners Food Bank.

“A day without learning is a day wasted. There is so much to learn and so little time to learn it.”
– Sir John Templeton

It happens all too often where I’m sitting down focused on my to-do list, and… WHAM! I get hit with a curveball: researching new technology, working with an unfamiliar client, or communicating to a diverse audience.  As a scale-up tech firm, Kinney Group is selling more services and products all the time, making it is impossible NOT to learn something new every single day. That’s the beauty of it. I can confidently say that I’m learning and gaining skills that will further my career every day I come to work.

Does that sound like something you might be interested in?

Working at Kinney Group

In order to function at a fast-paced tech company, you need to work hard, trust yourself, trust your colleagues, and hope for a little magic along the way. Each day, I spend the majority of my time recruiting and hiring people who have the talent to take Kinney Group to the next level. I get to see the tangible impact of that work when we’re able to secure a new contract or increase our service to clients—that’s inspiring. That is something that drives me to better myself and have detailed discussions with those around me so that I’m able to find new colleagues who will add to our team.

A group of engaged Kinney Group employees volunteering at Gleaners Food Bank.

 

At Kinney Group, every new engineer we hire brings his or her very own skill set and knowledge of different techniques to the table. In a world where the tools at your fingertips are continually being created and updated, staying relevant is vital. So it’s wonderful to see our talented and supportive team work to keep each other on their toes.

The “Non-Work” Times

Don’t worry, we have some fun too. I may lose a friendly game of euchre more than I win, but everyone is always a good sport. I can’t even begin to touch on the elaborate theories that came up during our weekly Game of Thrones recap meetings, where I was always having to defend why Bran is not the Knight King. And when the whole company comes together at the beginning of the year for our annual Kick-Off meeting, it’s a grand celebration of our work and each other.

Members of the Kinney Group Team having fun at our annual kick-off meeting.

Big Tech Skills, Small Company Vibe

Working at a small company has its perks, including wearing a lot of different hats. Some days I may be wearing my “culture and engagement” hat, and other days I may be wearing my “benefits and administration” hat. Some days I may be wearing my “trusted advisor” hat (AKA: “I’m going to google that this evening and get back to you tomorrow” hat). If I’m lucky, I may wear all those hats even before I go to lunch.

The best part about being a smaller firm is that everyone at Kinney Group is consistently getting pushed out of our comfort zones and is encouraged to try new things. In the past two weeks, I was able to attend a regional hiring and culture conference, make changes to our company-wide communication policy, attend a TechPoint summer engagement breakfast, and do some research on new vendors that pair with our Applicant Tracking System. This is all while hiring new colleagues and working towards my quarterly goals.

Charting Your Course at Kinney Group

At Kinney Group, your journey is up to you. The trick to staying relevant is reading different blog posts like this one from your fellow employees, watching our engineering team’s webinars, and taking part in our many employee functions, such as our annual Indianapolis 500 Carb Day celebration… Above all else, fine ways to challenge yourself every day and know that no matter what, you can find a group of people you can be yourself around here.

If this sounds like a work culture you’d like to join, consider exploring our Careers Page to see if Kinney Group could be the place for you.

About Kinney Group

Kinney Group is a solutions-oriented professional services consulting firm specializing in automation and analytics to harness the power of IT in the cloud to improve lives. Security is in Kinney Group’s DNA, enabling the company to integrate the most advanced automation, analytics, and infrastructure technologies as an optimized solution powering IT-driven mission and business processes in the cloud for federal agencies and Fortune 1000 companies.

We are an elite team with a unique combination of credentials for strict security environments who serve our customers with an unexpected experience. We specialize in Splunk, AppDynamics, Puppet, and VMware to serve our customers as they journey through digital transformation. Learn more at kinneygroup.com.

 

Colleague Spotlight: Carrie Neumann, Senior Sales Support

Kinney Group’s Colleague Spotlight Series returns with our Senior Sales Support member, Carrie Neumann.

Everyone has a set of values that they live by each day. Values influence behaviors, relationships, and decision-making. Family is a value that Carrie Neumann doesn’t budge on. Carrie has a few other values that overlap with Kinney Group’s, showing some science around why she is such a great fit with the organization. As a Senior Sales Support Specialist, she has fostered her own family environment at Kinney Group. Knowing what drives individuals is paramount to ongoing success and the team’s mission within an organization.

When you are grinding through major growth at a company, you create a bond with your fellow warriors in combat. With an environment as agile as Kinney Group, Carrie needed to stay on top of direction changes, new ideas, and pivoting all at Silicon Valley speed. Look up ‘grit’ (or potentially Deal Build Magician?) and you will find Carrie’s picture as the embodiment of the idea. Carrie followed a unique journey to Kinney Group which outlines why she is so amazing at what she does – hold on to your hats, we will explore that journey soon enough.

Carrie Neumann
Carrie Neumann, Senior Sales Support at Kinney Group

THE INSPIRATION: SEEING THE BIGGER PICTURE

Carrie has always had the tendency to think big, personally and professionally. This mindset attributed to much of her success in the various industries she worked in and afforded her the opportunity to spend time raising her family while maintaining a career. At Kinney Group, this enables her to keep up with the pace of the organization. Many Kinney Group colleagues complete two day’s worth of work in one. Colleagues with this bias towards action are hyper-efficient and are constantly working to remove their own roadblocks – waiting drives them nuts! Seeing an end goal and knowing the mission/big picture makes the path to success much clearer.

Having a bias to action isn’t the only Kinney Group value Carrie shares outside of work, she is a shining example of our most important value – Customer Centric. Whether internal or external, you will always be taken care of when working with Carrie. She is consistently called out by her team (I can feel her blushing already). The deal builds she has mastered are complex and tedious and she navigates this process with ease, keeping the customer front of mind every step of the way.

“Carrie’s ability to understand the art of Federal Sales and her ability to prioritize very time sensitive work makes her invaluable to our organization.  She is truly an asset to our entire sales team!” – Karen Kuhn

“Many details arise and need to be addressed in order for us to process these opportunities, align all parties, and ultimately do so very swiftly. Carrie looks for ways to obtain structure and process to more productively and effectively operationalize our sales efforts. At the same time, she brings a sense of humor to the mix. Ultimately, her willingness to roll up her sleeves and tirelessly do what it takes to support her sales colleagues makes me motivated to do the same.” –Angela Fruits

THE JOURNEY: HOW CARRIE FOUND HER WAY TO KINNEY

Carrie received her Bachelors in Marketing from Utah State University, far from her home in Dayton. She started at Ohio State but didn’t feel connected to the large campus. Right out of school she worked for a Marketing firm before she started a family of her own. Once her eldest was born, she was a stay-at-home mom for 18 years and had three children. When her youngest was born she started working part-time at Camp Invention based out of Akron, Ohio. She was the Regional Coordinator for the camp in Indianapolis and brought the program to six schools in the Indianapolis metro area. She was responsible for Marketing, Sales, building relationships with school districts, Principals, and Teachers. She kept the inventory for the camps largely in her garage. Oh, the glitter! Carrie grew that Program for the next four years. It was a perfect transition back into the workforce. She had the ability to work from home which provided the flexibility she wanted with three young children.

Soon after Camp Invention, Carrie transitioned to Sales. She started working at Harrison College on the Admissions team at the Medical Campus. She was charged with cold-calling prospective students who had visited their website or signed up for more information. The goal was to set up in-person appointments to review the available Programs and share more about the application process. Her dedication and success allowed her to be promoted several times. She ultimately became a Sales Director and managed several teams. After moving over to Medtech’s Admissions team, she didn’t find the passion she was looking for. She had a connection at Angie’s List and joined the Inside Sales Team. She had a strong team who worked well together and enjoyed a time of crazy growth at Angie’s List. Another connection she met at Angie’s List brought her to Kinney Group.

CARRIE AND THE TEAM ARE FIRING ON ALL CYLINDERS

Carrie started on the Inside Sales team, cold calling potential customers and expanding current accounts. After trying out a Sales role that was more supportive in nature, she found her fit. Building deals and carrying them over the finish line is really tough, especially in the Public Sector. Carrie can now do it in her sleep. Her expertise allows the team to fire on all cylinders and outpace our competition. Her favorite part about working at Kinney Group is the team she works alongside. There is a ton of opportunity in front of them and they have the ability, relationships, knowledge, and drive to capture it. Carrie and the team are laser-focused on doing the right thing for the customer. Having everyone on the same page is critical for success.

When speaking with Carrie about the changes she’s seen Kinney Group go through over the years, rapid growth stands out. The pace of the work environment just continues to gain velocity, which can bring challenges from time to time. To stay motivated and keep up, Carrie continues to step back and look at the big picture. She always reminds herself we are on the trail of some exciting projects working with disruptive technologies. She focuses on the goals knowing she and her team are in lock-step. She enjoys being able to unwind, spend time with her family and rescue dog, Molly, and continues to strive for balance. Having time to unplug and encouraging that balance has been key to her success. Carrie has also been focusing on maintaining a healthy lifestyle with her husband, Omar.

Carrie was recently promoted to Senior Sales Support Specialist and will continue to build her team as 2018 continues. Her embodiment of the company’s core values and her outstanding personal leadership made the promotion and new responsibilities a no-brainer.

Quick-fire Questions:

  • Describe Kinney Group’s culture in three words. Fast-paced, Dedicated, Direct
  • Where is your favorite place to visit in Indianapolis? Canal
  • What superpower would you want? Teleporting

Want to work at Kinney Group? Check out our careers page to see job postings.

Colleague Spotlight: Steve Bowser, Splunk Engineer and Machine Data Expert

As soon as Steve Bowser could throw his leg over a motorcycle, he was gone. The feeling of freedom was what gravitated him towards riding. This has been a major theme in Steve’s life, personally and professionally. Steve joined Kinney Group’s growing Splunk Program in November of 2015. He has since experienced a different type of freedom – the freedom to create. Each new customer is an opportunity to develop a creative solution for complex business problems in the data center.

Knowing how much Steve loves his Indian Roadmaster (which is incalculable) helps uncover what motivates him. The other major factor is how his love for technology flourished. Eyes glued to the television, Steve fell into the final frontier aboard the starship Enterprise. The possibility of technology was endless and fascinating to four-year-old Steve and the time he spent watching Star Trek compounded his interest in computers. It was not until about ten years later, on a field trip to see the World’s Fair Exhibit at the Toronto Science Center, when he had his first encounter with a computer.

It is incredibly impactful to have someone in a role that directly aligns with their passions. They motivate the team, unlock crazy potential, and drive engagement within the company. Steve has found his home at Kinney Group as a Splunk Development Engineer. It combines the freedom, innovative nature, and problem-solving skills that inspire Steve to reach his full potential.

Angela FruitsSteve Bowser, Splunk Development Engineer and Machine Data Expert. [/perfectpullquote]

THE INSPIRATION: FROM STAR TREK TO BEING A COMPUTER OPERATOR

Following Captain Kirk for several years, Steve worked tirelessly to land a job in the Information Technology field. He started with obtaining his Associates in Specialized Business from the ICM School of Business in Pittsburgh. Following his time at ICM, he attended Point Park University and earned a second degree in Business with a focus in IT. His journey had officially begun.

Steve’s first job out of college was as a Computer Operator at a financial institute. He was putting in long days and working his way up. His grit and perseverance landed him at Cellular One (soon to be AT&T). On his first day, he was given a book of graphing paper and a one-million-dollar budget followed by instructions to blueprint a computer room. No pressure, right? This substantial initiative confirmed he was on the right career path. Steve completed this monumental task under budget and the infrastructure that he designed was in place for 12 years before the company’s expansion required an update.

His early experience in an industry that he had been working towards since he was young was undoubtedly immersive. Steve was accustomed to 12 hour days and working on technologies that were completely new to him. He had the opportunity to work his way up to a Systems Administrator, ensuring reliable operation of Cellular One’s computer systems. He was also assigned to tackling database administration tasks which chartered him with the creation, maintenance, querying, backups, and user rights assignments. Steve chopped his way through the long hours, difficult assignments, mastered new technologies and now looks back on his early roles in IT as key contributors to his future engineering successes.

THE JOURNEY: HOW STEVE’S PATH LEAD TO KINNEY GROUP

Steve has tallied up many other wins prior to joining Kinney Group and continues to be called out for his customer centric approach to engagements and his innovative attitude towards identifying creative and efficient solutions. After gaining invaluable experience at Cellular One he moved on to a company in Pittsburgh within cable television. Steve spent his time implementing program libraries that include the History channel, Black Entertainment, and A&E. This was about the time our motorcyclist took a career detour into project management.

Managing projects and programs continued to give Steve the ability to be inventive and gave him a diverse set of skills that not all engineers possess. This unique perspective as a technical resource allows him to additionally focus on timely execution and instinctively map his solutions back to solving the customer’s business problem, not just the technical matter. Steve continued on a project management path and spent some time working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. At the FBI, Steve worked on a biometrics program and other classified initiatives…that’s about all we say about that! Eventually, he started getting the IT itch again. Cue Kinney Group.

Steve’s background, aptitude, attitude, and unrelenting work ethic made the decision to bring him on board too easy. He was ready to get back into the weeds and move away from project management and we had a unique opportunity for him to do so. Steve took a risk changing roles and learning an entirely new technology with the intention of becoming a platform expert in a short amount of time. Today, he is a mentor and leader within the Kinney Group Splunk program. He reflects back to his first solo engagement and can easily recall the nerves that clouded his mind the week prior. One of our tenured Splunk Ninjas, Laura Vetter, reached out before his engagement reminding him that it is okay to fail and the team was behind him for support. After that call, he knew he had found the right fit.

STEVE ENVISIONS NOTHING BUT GROWTH

Looking ahead, Steve sees the growth of Kinney Group’s ITOA practice continuing to flourish. Naturally, there will be growing pains and changes as we achieve our aggressive program and company goals. Steve believes our laser focus on maintaining our values, company culture, and the growth of the tremendous team we have today will make us unstoppable, so we will make it so.

KINNEY GROUP QUICK-FIRE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS:

    • Where is your favorite place to visit in Indianapolis? Buca De Beppos.
    • What is your spirit animal and why? A red tail hawk, it soars and it is free.
    • Describe Kinney Group’s culture in three words. Fast-paced, intense, driven.

Want to work at Kinney Group? Check out our careers page to see job postings.

Always Focus on the Candidate Experience

Spoiler Alert! Companies should be focusing on providing an excellent candidate experience at all stages of the recruiting process.

I’m going to break down the four common missteps companies make and where Kinney Group focuses to continuously improve our process.

1. Most application processes are over-complicated and frustrating.

So much so that the Recruitment Marketing Blog, SmashFly, found drop-off rates to be as high as 74%! Many company websites leave much to be desired, especially on their career page. We’ve all experienced a rough application process. Remember when you had to click through a maze of links to get to the company’s applicant tracking system? Next you uploaded your perfectly polished resume, then you were required to enter the exact same information that is bulleted on your resume (oh the redundancy!), and finally to top it off your submission fell in a black hole and you weren’t even given the courtesy of an automated rejection email.

Did you ever apply for a job at that company again or recommend it to a friend? Probably not. CareerBuilder conducted a study that found 32% of applicants that never heard back from the employer reported they would even be less likely to purchase a product from the company because of their experience, that’s a direct hit to your company’s revenue.

As employers, how can you fix this? Test out your application process through the applicant’s eyes and work with your ATS provider to make improvements for simplification. Also, get back with every candidate within a reasonable timeframe. Kinney Group posts jobs on LinkedIn that can be applied for in one click. Our ATS is well integrated into our website and the only information required from the candidate to apply for a job is a name and contact information. To take it one step further we promise to respond to every single applicant within 3 business days of submittal. This is even stated in the automated email that thanks them for their application. This absolutely stuns candidates and I’ve even received thank you emails for sending out a rejection.

2. Lack of communication leaves candidates frustrated and stressed out.

Taking a new job is a major life change. It’s easy to forget as recruiters or hiring managers, that applicants are anxious throughout the entire process. Being kept in the loop allows them to relax and enjoy the process instead of hanging on to every word in a brief email.

Send your applicants confirmation emails when they have an interview or a call, reach out to see how their week is going, help them best understand the role and the company culture. You will learn more about them on a personal level. Kinney Group’s talent team has committed to respond to all emails or calls within 1 business day for both internal and external customers.

Your applicants are your customers and need to be treated as such. An impactful activity I picked up from Employer Brand Strategist, Stacy Zapar, is to schedule a weekly Friday Blitz. Schedule an hour with your team each Friday following up with every active candidate. If you don’t have an update for them, just call and wish them a relaxing weekend. This will significantly increase the trust with you and your candidates. You need them for the job not the other way around.

Tired of waiting.

3. Candidates aren’t provided clarity throughout the interview process.

A recruiter’s assistance on navigating through this crucial step will establish trust. Face to face interviews are basically the Big Dance. I’m not advocating you send them over a list of questions they will be asked, but don’t send them into an interview blindly. Prior to the day of the interview send over interview names, titles, and any other relevant information. Most candidates are going to research on LinkedIn.

Always cater to the candidate, work around their schedule, and always ask for preferences. During the last Friday Blitz, you uncovered their favorite breakfast spot so why not set up a breakfast interview there to make them more comfortable and show that we value what they bring to the table. After interviews, wrap up with them and continue to set clear expectations.

4. Not closing the loop with an applicant is the norm for many companies, and it’s affecting their bottom line.

This is a huge pain point for many applicants. They’ve spent the time researching, interviewing, and moving through the process but still aren’t given the respect of a rejection. This is unacceptable and will affect your company’s reputation, especially with social platforms such as Glassdoor.com where candidates and employees can write reviews about a company anonymously.

If an applicant takes time out of their day to come in for an interview and we don’t move forward with them, we call them directly. We always close the loop, no exceptions. It’s not fun to reject someone but it’s less fun for the candidate to never hear back from a company. That takes away an opportunity for them to make personal improvements and implies that you don’t appreciate the time they dedicated to the process.

On the other hand, you can enhance the process of extending an offer. Being the candidate’s advocate, don’t allow hiring managers to low-ball the candidate. Add personal touches and make yourself available for questions. Understand that this is a huge life decision for an individual to make and respect that decision.

[perfectpullquote align=”right” cite=”Online Survey Response” link=”” color=”#f7901e” class=”” size=”17″]“I think the hospitality and friendliness is superb. I have no suggestions other than to keep exercising what you have been doing at an elite level.”[/perfectpullquote]

Bringing it all together:

As talent pools become smaller and competition for world-class talent skyrockets, focusing on candidate experience is a tactic that will give you an undeniable advantage. As with every process, continuously evaluate and improve. Kinney Group sends out a monthly, online survey to all applicants that spoke with a recruiter. As a team, we analyze the results, identify pitfalls, and tweak the process where needed. To implement impactful, immediate changes, focus on the common mistakes I just covered. Review the application process, provide constant communication, be the candidate’s advocate, and close the loop to take your candidate experience to the next level.