This is a multi-part series. If you haven’t yet read Parts 1-3 below, read them in order first, then continue reading Part 4 here.

The subtitle of this blog in this multi-part series is “Bring Back XP.”

A side note (and an unpleasant memory) for those of us that have been in the Microsoft ecosystem for any length of time: you may recall the cries of the marketplace to “bring back XP” (as in Windows XP) shortly following the launch of—dare I say it, Windows Vista.

The irony of the XP/Vista analogy is that the XP in Windows XP stood for “experience.” So calls to bring back XP not only meant bringing back an earlier version of Windows, but also bringing back a decidedly better eXPerience.

As it relates to hiring and recruiting, how much effort do you put into the experience for your candidates?

In Part 1 of this series, I mentioned comments Josh James, founder of both Omniture and Domo, made at #SaaStrAnnual regarding recruiting. Among the many things he referenced, one key was creating a great experience for candidates. Whether it involved providing a car and driver to pick up the candidate at the airport (instead of making the candidate stand in line on his own at the rental car counter), or giving gifts that reinforce the company’s brand, James emphasized that your company needs to stand out in the mind of the candidate.

Think through the experience you want your candidate to have. Can you start that experience before the candidate arrives at your place of business. I already referenced the car and driver example if the candidate is flying in from out of state, but also consider things you might be able to do before the candidate arrives for interviews. Can you send him/her a small gift that will arrive ahead of time? Is there a call or email a key executive from your company can make/send the day before or that morning?

Once the candidate arrives at the office, what will the experience be like? If the candidate is meeting with multiple interviewers, how can you make the transitions smooth and positive? Think through all the interactions from the time the candidate arrives at your company until he/she leaves.

And once again, don’t stop there. What will be the candidate’s experience after he/she leaves your place of business?

If you extend an offer, how will you do it, and how will you make it a great experience for the candidate. What will her time be like between when you extend the offer and she (hopefully) accepts? If she declines, what experience will you create for her? If she accepts, what will her experience be between acceptance and her start date? On her first day at your company, etc.?

“But wait,” you think. “What if we don’t actually like the candidate? Should we still be doing all of those things?” Not only YES, but H*LL YES!

Whether you hire the person or not, this person is going to talk to his/her friends. Maybe he’s not the right person for this role, but he might be a great candidate for another role in the future. Or maybe she will never be a great candidate to be an employee at your company, but maybe she’ll be a potential client in the future. And even if none of those things are true, why not give a person an experience that is as positive as possible, especially in light of the fact that you’re about to tell them they didn’t get the job. We’re all human. We’ve all been rejected. It’s hard. Let’s be compassionate.

You obviously need to be thinking about your prospects’ and customers’ XP as well. In marketing terms, this is more often referred to as the “customer journey.” But whatever the nomenclature, the point remains the same—think of the experience you will give to your prospects and your customer well before and well after the point of purchase (or non-purchase).

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