The release of The Talent Boards white-paper outlining research from last year’s Candidate Experience Awards offers some encouraging insights into the place the candidate experience now holds within recruitment strategy and the candidate sphere. With a 58% increase in participating employers, more than twice as many event sponsors and candidate responses rising from 11,500 to over 17,500 this year, there is a clear indication that employers and candidates are placing an increasing amount of value in the candidate experience.
The data collected reveals a change in how candidates and employers interact with each other. 58% of candidates are now developing relationships with companies prior to application, either as a customer, advocate or with family/friends already at the company. They are engaging with organisations via LinkedIn (65.3%), Facebook (38.5%) Google+ (28.9%) and Glassdoor (17.3%). This increased interaction demonstrates a shift in each candidates focus, they now recognise the opportunity a referral or existing relationship offers them and are embracing this. They are also more in-tune with their prospective employers with Talent Boards findings showing that ‘referred job candidates are four times more likely than non-referred candidates to receive an offer.’
The study also, encouragingly, indicated that companies focusing on their candidate experience have acknowledged the importance of communication with their applicants. The organisations involved in the award now respond to all job applications, whether they are successful or unsuccessful, decreasing the existence of what many see as the black-hole of recruitment. This is a really important step for the candidate-company relationship, as it has been proven that candidates who don’t receive a response to their applications develop a negative impression of a company that influences their actions as a consumer also.
However, the white-paper also notes where improvements can still be made. It found that only one-third of participating employers asked applicants for feedback ‘if they had not advanced to the final evaluation stage.’ The candidate’s experience revealed even more as 90.5% of applicants stated they were not asked to provide feedback ‘once they were notified that they were no longer being considered.’ This indicates that organisations are still under-estimating the importance of gathering a broad assessment of their overall candidate experience, regardless of whether or not the applicant is successful. It could also imply that recruiters are yet to implement sufficient feedback tools that allow for the analysis and interpretation of of such large quantities of data.
Finally, the findings considered the candidate voice and who their audience are now. More than half of candidates surveyed indicated they ‘were Likely or Very Likely to tell their inner circle of friends about their experiences, whether it is positive (73.5%) or negative (60.7%).’ Alongside this, candidates are increasingly utilising online platforms to spread the word via blogs, Facebook and other social media sites. Here 31% said they would share if they had a positive experience and 20.2% would share a negative. Not only could these avenues be seen as under-utilised advertising platforms for companies, but they also reveal the impact each candidate’s voice can have on a far wider audience.
Research undertaken by The Candidate Experience Awards over the last two years has really highlighted the important role the candidate experience has within recruitment and wider business performance. It’s really encouraging to see how organisations and applicants are now interacting to improve the candidate experience and become more in-tune with the expectations and motivations of one another. However, as has been underlined in this research, the candidate experience is constantly evolving and the measurement and improvement of it should be a continual process. The foundation for this has been developed, now it must become a continual and all-inclusive measurement.