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Creating a Flawless Candidate Experience

Published on 11/7/2017

Creating a flawless candidate experience is essential to growing a competitive and skilled Cerner workforce. Our approach to recruiting aligns with Cerner’s broader culture: associates and clients working toward shared goals to advance the business and improve health care.

Practically speaking, it means creating “magic moments” that resonate with candidates, regardless of whether they become Cerner associates, so that they become ambassadors for the brand well after the interview.

Cerner recently ranked 12th of 50 companies recognized by Glassdoor as the Best Places to Interview in 2016. The ranking is based on candidate feedback shared on over the past year and represents Cerner’s dedication to a great candidate experience.

It’s especially important to have a seamless interview process, given the volume of candidates Cerner interacts with in a given year. Realizing interviews can be stressful, we work to create a unique and personal end-to-end experience that makes it easy for them to succeed and feel comfortable. For instance, I hand sign thousands of letters to our candidates each year to welcome them to Cerner. Our hotel and transportation partners also add an additional level of detail to a candidate’s experience. Drivers are well-versed in Cerner and Kansas City, which surprises a lot of our candidates.

Our application process starts with an initial touch-base phone call between our recruiter and the candidate. It’s important our candidates know the high expectation we have for one another as Cerner associates because our clients have these same expectations of us. When a candidate is selected to interview, they work with a dedicated recruiting support specialist, which is unique to Cerner and differentiates us from other large companies.

There’s also a specific process each recruiter follows. Candidates receive a detailed agenda by email before their in-person interview. This same agenda is available in the interview room, and our questions are designed to be conversational and discuss things that are relevant to the job they’re applying for and the skills they bring. For example, we invite engineers to write code in front of our interviewers to better understand their capabilities to perform in real-world work scenarios.

One of our largest recruiting initiatives is “Experience Cerner Day,” focused on our early career candidates. It’s a robust program involving current associate ambassadors who interact with candidates and give them information from the frontlines. We bring in associates from all areas of the business, and we’ve had great feedback that candidates really enjoy the opportunity to talk to someone who’s been in their shoes before and has a good understanding of what it’s like to work at Cerner.

In very simple terms, there’s a shortage of software engineers in the United States, and we compete with the coasts for top talent. We don't have mountains and beaches, but when we have that candidate come to Cerner and we want them, we win because we're a company that's making a difference at the intersection of health care and technology and we’ve made it a priority to show prospective associates how their contributions can significantly shape the future of health care.

We want to innovate with impact. Our culture is a little different than most companies in the fact that Cerner is working to improve health care. This culture and feeling of purpose is something that can give us an edge when competing for talent because everyone is affected at some point in their life by health care. We want associates who are passionate about our mission, the ideal outcome that’s mutually beneficial to Cerner and our clients.