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Employers need to improve the candidate experience

Employers need to improve the candidate experience

By Anthony Kaylin

The North American Talent Board Candidate Experience Awards Benchmark Research, or CandE Program, found that there was improvement on the candidate experience from 2018.  The research included 200 participating companies and over 30,000 job seekers.  70% of the employer participants were from the technology, services, financial, and healthcare industries, with financial employers increasing 34% from 2017.


The study focused on the following areas:

1.      The candidates’ overall rating of their recruiting experience (one of many 5-point Likert Scales throughout the survey)
2.      How likely the candidates are to apply again based on their experience rating (4-point Sentiment Scale)
3.      How likely the candidates are to refer others based on their experience rating (4-point Sentiment Scale)
4.      How will the candidates change their business relationship status with the employer going forward based on their experience – i.e., applying again, referring others, and making and/or influencing purchases if and when applicable (4-point Sentiment Scale)


Of the candidate responses, 92% were candidates who had been either rejected, hadn’t heard back on next steps, or did not know of any offer at the time of the survey.  As can be expected, these candidates have more impact on an employer’s brand than those hired.  


In terms of recruiting models being rated, there are generally three types of models: centralized (63% of employers), decentralized (18%), and outsourcing (19%) talent acquisition to third party vendors like recruitment process outsourcing firms. These models are not static for employers but may change every few years.  For example, CandE found that the centralized model decreased in 2018 by 13.2% from 2017, and the decentralized model increased in 2018 by 39.1% from 2017. The outsourced recruiting increased in 2018 by 59% from 2017.  This increase may be in part due to the talent shortage and resources being reallocated from HR; therefore, HR is being more quickly transformed from a siloed approach (recruitment, employee relations, etc.) to a generalist approach.


Of the three models, the outsourced candidate experience was higher rated than the centralized and decentralized models, especially for candidates who were likely to refer others based on their experience.  The Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) approach has become more sophisticated as one of the measurements.  Candidate experience is generally included in the agreements.


However, there was a disparity between employer and candidate ratings of the candidate experience.  64% of North American employers in 2018 described their overall candidate experience as leading or competing, nearly 25% as improving, and less than 2% as lagging.  Candidates perceptions were different.  30% of candidates would rate their experience leading, while 46% rated as average, and 24% rated the experience as lagging.


Of employers who solicit feedback of their recruiting process, the majority ask new hires, although a growing number are also doing it of those in the interviewing process.  Around 1% solicit feedback of those before they apply.  Around 20% of employers do not solicit feedback from anyone or at any stage.  In 2017 this percentage was approximately 50% of employers.  With the war on talent, employers are recognizing the importance of feedback.


The candidate experience is a growing measure for recruiters.  Approximately 51% of employers include a measure in the recruitment scorecard, jumping up 21% from 2017.  However, around 85% do not use it as a measurable item for performance but do discuss it.  Further, less than 1/3 of employers participating in the survey noted that their hiring managers provide feedback to candidates, but when they do report, it is generally for internal candidates.


As a result of the need to increase candidate positive views, more employers are communicating with candidates before they apply. Technology and artificial intelligence are being more widely used.  Chatbots are being used to answer general employment questions.  Another area for employers to consider is providing candidate feedback.  Candidates who were interviewed and then given job-related feedback by end of that same day said they were 52% more likely to increase their relationship with the employer (apply again, refer others, make purchases if and when applicable).  With no feedback, candidates were likely to view it as a negative experience and sever any relationship.   

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