We recently talked with long-time friend and respected talent leader, Jared Flynn, Senior Director, Head of Talent Acquisition for T-Mobile. Having joined T-Mobile in 2009 when they were not the most popular mobile phone carrier, Jared has taken part in their amazing transformation, a business transformation that has resulted in nine consecutive quarters delivering more than 1 million total net customer additions.
We sat down with him to discover how and why T-Mobile reinvented their candidate experience.
Sherry Benjamins (SB): So great to talk to you! Tell us a little about your role at T-Mobile.
Jared Flynn (JF): I lead Talent Acquisition for all T-Mobile brands and locations in the U.S. This equates to filling over 22,000 positions a year currently.
JF: Three years ago we had new leadership join T-Mobile and they challenged us to re-think HR and Talent. We came to realize this meant owning some of the pain points in our recruiting process.
T-Mobile focuses on getting rid of pain points for our customers and we wanted to do the same for our candidate “customers”.
SB: What were the biggest pain points you discovered?
JF: By far the biggest pain point for a candidate is lack of response. They go through the effort of applying for a position and their application goes into the black hole. We would never treat our customers like that, so why are we treating our candidates that way? We decided to focus on radical transparency.
SB: What steps did you take to become radically transparent?
JF: Every candidate should have a complete understanding of our process and know where they stand. For instance, we list the length of time a job has been open and the number of people that have applied.
Secondly, we feed our Glassdoor reviews onto our own website. Not all the reviews are positive, but if candidates are already looking at them, we might as well make them readily accessible.
Lastly, we created an infographic and video so our candidates would understand the process.
SB: From the T-Mobile perspective, does all this help ensure the right candidate applies to the job?
JF: That’s a great question. One area we really learned a valuable lesson on finding the right fit was customer service. We were experiencing 50% turnover in that department. The feedback from employees was the job wasn’t what they expected.
We decided to create a video that depicts what it’s really like to work in customer service at T-Mobile. It’s an amazing place to work, but some parts of a job are just less fun and exciting. The video helps empower candidates to find the right fit for them.
SB: What have you done for your internal candidates?
JF: We received a lot of feedback that our internal candidates also suffered from the black hole effect. One employee’s comments really stood out to me. T-Mobile had paid for him to go to school, but when he applied for a job with us in the trade he went to school for, he never heard back. Here were paying tuition reimbursements and yet not capitalizing on the investment or the employee’s new skills!
We’ve been taking steps to ensure we fully utilize the talent we already have on our T-Mobile team.
SB: How do you think HR is impacting business?
JF: We have 1 million people a year applying to work at T-Mobile. Frankly, that is way too many candidates. By changing our practices we are able to encourage only qualified candidates apply, thus reducing the resources necessary to manage an excessive number of applications. Additionally, we know a positive candidate experience could increase the likelihood of those candidates choosing to join T-Mobile as a customer.
SB: Do you partner with other T-Mobile teams to make these initiatives come to life?
JF: One of our core values is “Frontline first, because customers are first.” The frontline employees are in customer service and retail, the employees closest to the customer. We work closely with our frontline teams through focus groups and frontline “internships” to ensure we are always in touch with their needs and perspective. Additionally we work closely with our Marketing and Corporate Communications teams to ensure we’re aligned from a brand perspective. Our partners have been amazing at re-inventing our high volume job descriptions.
Our job descriptions are really energizing now.
SB: What are you most proud of when you look back on all you have accomplished at T-Mobile?
JF: I am most proud of seeing my team accomplish something that has never been done before. There were many heroes along the way that were really able to bring “next-practice” thinking.
It was also great to see the team receive the CandE award from the Talent Board in 2014. Internal recognition is always wonderful, but we value external recognition that we’re listening to our customers and actively solving their pain points.
SB: So, what is on the docket for 2016?
JF: We’re focused on ways to “Monetize the Million” (candidates). We want to delight them by doing a little something that says “thank you,” and leaves them feeling appreciated, and hopefully turns them into a T-Mobile customer.
SB: I have always admired you as a TA Leader and your ability to push beyond the norm. What skills do you think future TA leaders need to have?
JF: Most importantly, TA leaders need permission and an expectation to be bold. They should have the space to take risks and use them as learning experiences.
Finally, a focus on talent and great companies transforming the conversation with their candidates is on the rise. It is an understatement to say the talent market has heated up. From Apple, to Zappos, JetBlue and T-Mobile as well as smaller entrepreneurial firms, there is an understanding that candidate experience impacts brand and that authentic messages matter.
Jared and his team are speaking to their customer – the candidate in a way that captures their heart. We at SBCo encourage you to do the same. It matters to your customer and your employees. Let us know how it works for you and share a success story that we can highlight in our next newsletter.