During our webinar last week with Brandon Hall Group, entitled ‘How an Exceptional Candidate Experience Boosts Hiring Results,’ Daria Friedman, Principal Analyst, Talent Acquisition, and Stephen Schwander, Director, Client Solutions, Talemetry, discussed how organizations can deliver an exceptional candidate experience to improve hiring success. Here, we will examine some of the highlights presented during the webinar, including key insights and practical application for organizations today.
Key Data on the Candidate Experience
According to the Brandon Hall Group 2018 Talent Acquisition Technology Survey, candidate experience is the top technology priority in 2018 and 2019 for organizations, with 44% of respondents ranking it first among all categories, including onboarding, diversity & inclusion, interviewing, applicant tracking and others. Similarly, 73% of organizations view candidate experience as essential or critical, but only 48% view it as effective in their own company. This gap indicates there is work to be done to improve the overall experience candidates have. Most notably, according to the survey, the three most pervasive challenges across the recruitment and hiring process included communications at 64%, lengthy time-to-hire at 40%, and hiring agility at 36%.
Defining the Candidate Experience
The candidate experience, according to Brandon Hall, is the ‘sum of all candidate reactions to, and impressions of, the organization as an employer. It includes all forms of candidate-employer communications, practices, evaluations, technology user experiences, and extends through the job offer/non-offer and pre-boarding.’
A successful candidate experience begins with:
- Compelling employer brand messaging that reflects an organization’s authentic EVP
- Relevant, impactful, continuous and consistent candidate communications
- Intuitive, candidate-friendly, mobile talent acquisition technology
What Causes Candidate Drop Off?
Almost all organizations experience candidate drop off during the recruitment and hiring process, even to the point of having qualified candidates reject offers. According to organizations surveyed, the total reported percentage of actual candidates lost during the hiring process for high-volume hiring organizations was 47%. That is a staggering number when considering the opportunity-cost of lost talent.
Even worse than candidate drop off, some candidates may comment unfavorably about their recruitment and hiring experience to their personal and social media connections. Those derogatory remarks can hurt the company’s reputation and impact the business if the candidates and their connections are customers. While this is true for all organizations, the impact of the candidate experience is even more important to high-volume hiring organizations.
An Effective Candidate Experience Decreases Candidate Drop Off
Organizations that reported having more effective candidate experiences were more likely to see decreases in candidate drop off. Specifically, the total percentage of candidates lost indicated by organizations surveyed was decreased by nearly 10%. This included decreases across application process drop off, interviewing drop off and offers declined.
Best Practices for Managing the Candidate Experience from Source to Hire
With the reality that the candidate experience is often negatively impacting hiring outcomes, how can organizations start to improve the candidate experience? According to Brandon Hall, the answer is by creating a candidate experience that values candidates as individuals, and ensures that organizations:
- Set expectations
- Are transparent and fair
- Handle candidates with care
- Uphold diversity and inclusion values
- Keep candidates updated and provide regular feedback
- Respect candidates’ time
Additionally, the employee value proposition (EVP) should play a dominant role throughout the candidate experience. Employer brand messaging should be conveyed externally to attract candidates, and internally to promote values and employer brand to drive referrals. The employee value proposition allows organizations to attract the right talent to their organization, provides insight into employee-organizational fit criteria, and helps organizations understand how they need to change the employment experience.
Measuring Candidate Engagement and the Candidate Experience
You can’t improve the candidate experience unless you measure it. The webinar provided a number of key metrics that organizations can use to measure the effectiveness of the candidate experience, including:
- Number of quality hires
- Candidate feedback throughout the process
- Career site engagement
- Communication response rates
- Candidate drop off rates
- New hire surveys
- Candidate conversion
Perhaps most important is to remember that measuring candidate conversion is best done incrementally. Think of it as tracking conversion through a series of small ‘yesses.’ For example, get candidates to first sign up for a job alert, then encourage them to sign up for your talent network. That way, given what you know about each candidate, you can start to recommend jobs that would make sense for them. At each point in the candidate lifecycle, you can ask for a specific call to action to track and see where you can continue to convert. Remember, conversion rates are not just about how many candidates are applying, but instead are about tracking and measuring conversions across the candidate lifecycle.
Investing in the Candidate Experience with Leading Technologies
Delivering a positive experience for candidates is one of the key ways you can boost hiring results in your organization. Your employer brand and employee value proposition is what attracts and appeals to candidates, but it’s your technology that is the delivery mechanism for getting your message to them. If you lack the right platform for delivering a streamlined and enhanced candidate experience, then you should consider how you can prioritize your investment for finding the right recruitment marketing platform that supports your recruitment and hiring process, and integrates with your existing systems.
This webinar recap is just the beginning. Take time to listen to the webinar replay to hear more great insights and data first-hand, and discover how the leading recruitment marketing platform from Talemetry is delivering personalized candidate experiences to improve hiring results for enterprise organizations.