Why Personalizing the Candidate Experience Matters

It is no secret that job searching and hiring can be a complex and convoluted process, filled with unspoken rules and unexpected twists and turns. Unsurprisingly, more and more candidates are seeking transparency around the hiring process, which they would invest their time, energy, and labor into. 

According to CareerBuilder’s Candidate Behavior study, 45% of job seekers were most frustrated due to employers’ unresponsiveness, while CareerPlug’s 2024 Candidate Experience Report showed that 53% of candidates experienced being ghosted in the hiring process. At what should be an exciting stage, 52% of candidates have declined a job offer due to a negative hiring experience, which can critically impact the employer’s reputation and incur steep hiring costs to the employer (CareerPlug’s 2024 Candidate Experience Report).

In light of these findings, the Talent Acquisition team at Merit America is committed to fostering a positive and transparent process for our candidates – after all, we’re engaging with human beings. In this blog, we’ll demystify Merit America’s hiring process, outlining the steps involved, and explaining how the experience serves as a two-way street to keep candidates empowered and informed along the way.

Merit America’s Hiring Process

The hiring process at Merit America will vary depending on the role, and the hiring stages listed below are intended to clarify what candidates can expect in a particular stage.

We use a competency-based hiring process that is designed to be fair, objective, and transparent. This means we focus on the skills and experience that are essential for the role, and we use a structured interview format to ensure that all candidates are evaluated on the same criteria.

Here is what you can expect at each stage of the process:

1. Application

The application stage consists of submitting your resume and responding to a few application questions. We encourage candidates to reflect on the application questions and share thoughtful responses because our talent acquisition and hiring teams truly review them all! In fact, we read application question responses before we even look at a candidate’s resume. This is a great opportunity to show us why you’re interested in Merit America and why you want this job in particular.

2. Initial Interview

Initial interviews are the beginning of our conversations with candidates where we learn more about their experiences, skills, and competencies. This interview may be conducted via Zoom or phone call with a Talent Acquisition team member or via asynchronous video.

3. VidCruiter Interview

Speaking of asynchronous video, VidCruiter is our video interview platform where candidates will answer pre-selected questions, which will be recorded and reviewed by a hiring team member. We carefully selected this platform given its guardrails against biases and  user/candidate friendliness.

4. Simulation

Simulations, commonly known as take-home assignments, evaluate
candidates’ abilities and competencies in a realistic setting. In addition to allowing our hiring teams to review candidates’ thought processes and approaches, simulations provide a better understanding of the role’s responsibilities and expectations for candidates. We prioritize incorporating identity-hidden tasks to mitigate against bias.

5. Focus Interview

Focus interviews go beyond introductions where candidates will engage directly with the hiring manager and better understand the role and assess their alignment within the dynamic team.

6. Panel Interview

Panel interviews allow candidates to meet with more potential colleagues at Merit America and aim to reduce in-group bias. All panel interviews will be conducted via Zoom, and each panel will ask questions grounded in competencies aligned to the role.

7. Final Interview

Candidates will meet with one of our Co-CEOs during the final interview stage, offering a unique opportunity to gain insight into the role and its impact on Merit America. This is also a good time to ask questions and learn more from our visionary leaders.

8. Reference Check & Offer

Reference checks are an integral part of our hiring process. Candidates will be asked to provide three professional references, including their most recent manager. After this process, if successful, congratulations! An offer has been sent your way to join Merit America’s team. 🎉

The Human Element in Recruitment

Our Talent Acquisition team recognizes the effort candidates invest in crafting compelling applications, and we are dedicated to reviewing each and every application via personalized attention, meaning no AIs or automated systems to “filter” anyone out. We also adhere to a rubric featuring clearly defined competencies tailored to the role. 

Candidate Interview Guide

As of early 2024, our Talent Acquisition team introduced the Candidate Interview Guide, a personalized guidebook that offers comprehensive insights into our organization, impact, and values. It also provides detailed information about the hiring process for the specific role, including the job description and trailer, as well as profiles of the interviewers. Candidates invited to the initial stage of the hiring process will be provided with a Candidate Interview Guide tailored to the role they are being considered for. 

There is a reason why CareerBuilder’s report suggests “Back to Basics,” implying the significance of the personalized, human touch in the hiring process. By transparently demystifying our approach and introducing resources such as our Candidate Interview Guide, we aim to equip our candidates with the resources they need to succeed. With our competency-based approach and individualized attention to each application, we strive to ensure that candidates feel respected and empowered throughout their journey with us.

Joining Our Team

Having an excellent candidate experience isn’t unique to Merit America, but our commitment to continuous improvement and transparency sets us apart.

If you’re interested in learning more about our values and team, please visit our “About Us” page.

For additional resources, you can explore our guide on “Using AI in the Merit America Hiring Process,” and delve deeper into our process in “Accountability & Transparency: Merit America’s Candidate Experience.”

Interested in joining our team? Check out our current Merit America job openings!