The Talent Board just released their 2017 candidate experience research that analyzes data from 180,000 candidates who were seeking jobs at 200 companies in North America. After seven years of conducting the Candidate Experience Awards (CandEs), the answer to a winning candidate experience is clear: communicate more!
I doubt the answer is a surprise. Candidates have been frustrated and cynical about the “black hole” in recruiting for years. What the 2017 Talent Board research does, however, is show how delighting a candidate has come down to meeting a basic human need: the chance to be heard, and the satisfaction of getting a response.
Two-Way Communication is the Difference
When the Talent Board looked at the differences between the 50 companies that were 2017 CandE winners and all other participating companies, they found 4 key differences. CandE winners:
- Listen more and communicate often
- Set better expectations with candidates about the recruiting process from pre-application to onboarding
- Hold themselves more accountable for candidate experience and talent acquisition performance while measuring it regularly and consistently, and
- Are perceived by candidates as having a “fairer” process – candidates believe they have been able to share why their knowledge, skills and experience deserve consideration for the jobs to which they have applied.
There’s a consistent theme for 3 out of 4 of the factors that set the 2017 CandE winners apart, and that theme is communication. Job seekers rated a company’s candidate experience higher when there was open, transparent and two-way communication (including feedback) between them and the employer across all stages in their candidate journey.
CandE Winners use Communication Tools
While the 2017 CandE Results show that the candidate experience is improving overall, the reality is that progress is not happening fast enough for job seekers, especially in closing the communication “black hole” at the application stage. The Talent Board found that 52 percent of candidates were still waiting for a response 2-3 months after applying for a job, up 10 percent from the previous year. How can this be, when we know that lack of communication is more frustrating than not getting the job, and with an increasing number of recruiting tools available to help us communicate better?
Using communication tools is one of the things that make CandE winners stand out. The new report shows that 74% of CandE winners use a candidate relationship management (CRM) system, and the remaining 26% are planning to implement a CRM in 2018.
In addition to CRM, there’s a growing number of communication tools to consider, such as text messaging, chat bots for your career site, email automation, social amplification, scheduling assistants, digital interviews, feedback surveys, and more. Still, one of the most basic things you can do to immediately make a difference is to turn on the autoresponder feature in your ATS or recruitment marketing platform, and simply acknowledge when a candidate joins your talent network / talent community or applies for a job. (How do we get vendors to make autoresponse a feature that is just ‘on’ by default?)
Action Item for Recruitment Marketers: Double check that your autoresponders are on, and take 5 minutes to personalize the email message to show that your employer brand is human.
The Business Impact is also Clear
Spreading negative word of mouth on social media and to a candidate’s personal connections can damage your employer brand and turn top talent away from your organization. But that’s not the only business impact.
The 2017 CandE Results show that 46% of job seekers who have a negative candidate experience say they’ll take their business elsewhere, while 65% will increase their business relationship with the company.
That should get the attention of your C-suite, and help HR and Talent Acquisition leaders to get more resources to continue candidate experience improvements. But it also will put you under a microscope, requiring you to measure and report on the impact of your improvements, and to benchmark your results against your peers.
The Talent Board is a great place to start. Download the 2017 Talent Board North American Candidate Experience Awards Executive Brief here.