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Last week the Talent Board released their yearly Candidate Experience Research Report, and it divulged some real surprises. Let’s break down their key findings in relation to the candidate's journey, starting with the decision to apply.

The Decision to Apply

When it came to making the initial decision to apply, company values registered as candidates’ highest priority, with 42% of candidates indicating that they played a key role in their decision to apply.

Employee testimonials registered a close second, with 36% of candidates relying heavily on sites like Glassdoor to gain insight into each organization’s inner workings. All in all, 75% of candidates conducted their own online research into each company prior to applying.

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And candidates aren't slacking on their research either:

canderesearch.jpgFor organizations with a history of treating their employees right, this is fantastic news. For companies known for their tyrannical hierarchy, not so much. Years of bad reviews and numerous ethical scandals are hard to make up for - but as the number of candidates doing their own research continues to trend upward, it will be in each corporation’s best interest to put their best foot forward.

The Application

The percentage of applications received positively by candidates actually went down in 2016: only 31% of applicants indicated they would reapply to the job they just applied for, compared to 37% in 2015.

On the flip side, the adoption of mobile-enabled applications skyrocketed, with 79% of employers offering mobile options (compared to 18% in 2015). This is a huge leap forward and reflects the omnipresence of the smartphone in modern life.

As far as application length is concerned, here’s the breakdown:

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That nearly half of candidates (42%) are spending over half an hour on each application should be eye-opening. That anyone is spending over an hour per application is troublesome.

The Assessment

Job-related assessments are increasing in both usage and scope. 75% of employers report using an assessment at some step of the application process, and job simulation and cultural fit assessments are on the upswing (up 50% & 22%), respectively.

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The Interview

60% of employers still use phone screens as a second step in the application process. These don’t seem to be doing a particularly stellar job at screening applicants, as only 65% of candidates experienced 1-2 interviews prior to a job offer (down from 79% in 2015).

This means that 35% of candidates were put through three or more interviews before a decision was made, calling into question the effectiveness of the standard phone screen.

candeinterview.jpgAs far as video interviewing is concerned, only 16% of candidates experienced some form of video interview during the application process. This is no change from 2015. On the other hand, those candidates that did experience a video interview rated them higher (3.84 vs 3.75 out of 5) than all interviewing combined.

The Follow-Up

This is where the results of the report get a little sad: 47% of candidates were still waiting to hear back from employers more than two months after they applied.

Ouch.

The Business Impact

Virgin Media famously felt the bottom line impact of a poor candidate experience, losing an estimated $5 million in yearly revenue. Candidate experience continues to have a very real impact on the choices of consumers, as you can see:

candebi.jpgOf job seekers who rated their application experience as one star out of five, 41% indicated that they would take their business elsewhere. On the flip side, 64% of those who rated their candidate experience the full five stars said they planned on increasing their relationship with the employer.

Depending on the size of the candidate pool, this has the potential to hugely impact an organization's bottom line - for better or for worse.

So what makes a candidate experience truly phenomenal? Read the full report to discover what Candidate Experience (CandE) award winners are doing to attract and impress the best candidates:

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