5 Insights from the 2019 Candidate Experience Research Report

January 16th, 2020
Chelsea Kilpack
Candidate Experience
Woman sitting across from each other at a table

Candidate experience is more than a catchy phrase, it represents a company’s bottom line. A case study done by Virgin Media and Ph.Creative showed that Virgin Media was losing more than $6 million of revenue a year because of poor candidate experiences. Proof that a serious understanding of talent acquisition processes, automation of certain tasks, and keeping up with candidate expectations represents dollars and cents.

That’s one reason that for almost 10 years, Talent Board has released the North American Candidate Experience Report, which provides employers with insights to help them raise the bar on candidate experience. This year’s report is compiled from the feedback of more than 195,000 job seekers and over 170 companies. A full 90% of the people surveyed weren’t hired.

Perhaps the biggest finding in this year’s report is that candidate resentment is on the rise, up 40% since 2016. This number may be shocking at first, but it also means there’s room for improvement at every stage of the hiring funnel (attract, screen and interview, offer and onboarding).

Here are 5 key takeaways from the report as your team plans for 2020.

1. Per the Candidate Research Report, Candidate Experience Affects the Bottom Line

There’s a clear case for investing in candidate experience in your hiring funnel, but in case there’s any doubt, just take a few minutes to plug some numbers into the Talent Board’s candidate experience resentment calculator.

The candidate research report states, “Candidates who believe they had a ‘negative’ overall experience tell us every year they will take their alliance, product purchases and business relationship somewhere else.”

But what about the candidates who have a “great” experience? Just as candidates are willing to take their business elsewhere, implementing changes to improve experience can significantly improve bottom line, which is tremendous when you consider that 25% of rejected candidates say they will increase their relationship with a company when they've had a positive candidate experience.

How much money is your company leaving on the table for simple missteps like not sending candidates a clear follow-up email? The remaining four takeaways can help your recruiters and hiring managers turn candidates into customers and brand evangelists.

2. Employer Branding Is Still Supreme

Candidates have access to more information now than ever before, and it’s clear from North American respondents that what they want is authenticity and transparency as they make a decision about where to take their talents. Top of mind for applicants is an understanding of company culture and a connection with the overall employer brand. Nearly 40% of candidates said they wanted more information about company culture than was already available.

So where should you focus your branding efforts?

  • Top 5 research channels used by candidates: Indeed (73%), LinkedIn (56%), Glassdoor (37%), ZipRecruiter (24%), CareerBuilder (22%)
  • Candidates' preferred marketing content: Information on the culture of the company (39%), answers to “why” people want to work here (29%), career sites in multiple languages (28%), employee testimonials (26%), answers to “why” people stay here (26%)
  • Candidates' preferred job content: Job descriptions (duties, skills, requirements) (64%), details of application and next steps (42%), benefit details (28%)

3. Continuous, Ongoing Communication Is Critical

The good news is that 82% of candidates said that the application process was easy. The bad news is that 30% of candidates report not hearing back from employers after two months.

Candidate Experience Award winners were more likely to have a cohesive strategy of communication from attraction all the way to onboarding, including chatbots, text messaging, and personalization even when a candidate wasn’t selected.

  • Chatbots: Candidates who were able to ask a chatbot questions consistently rated their candidate experience higher than those who didn’t. Additionally, candidates who communicated with a chatbot were 80% more likely to increase their relationship with the employer.
  • Text messaging: Candidates who received mobile text notifications during the research process rated their candidate experiences 50% higher than those who didn’t, and the number of employers that said they implemented mobile text-messaging campaigns increased 56% in 2019.
  • Personalization and rejection: Telling a candidate they didn’t get the role is a tough call to make for everyone involved, and it’s important to remember that just because a person didn’t get the final offer, it doesn’t mean they weren’t qualified. Candidates prefer to receive a personal phone call over an email when they don’t get the offer. That human touch led to a 23% increase in positive candidate experience for Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, one of the 2019 winners.

One particular area of communication that warrants investment is information about next steps in the interview process. After the screening and interviewing, 72% of candidates at CandE-winning companies were told about next steps, and recruiters and/or hiring managers followed up with them when necessary, slightly above all other participating companies.

4. Video Interviewing and Assessments Are on the Rise

Improving interview-to-offer times is a critical factor in talent acquisition, and with increased competition for candidates, technology is being leveraged to speed up the process. In 2019, 71% of organizations said they used pre-employment assessment and selection tests during the interview stage, and 14% of candidates said they completed a video interview in 2019 (up from 2018).

The Talent Board noted that it “also forsee[s] a spike for video interviewing and onboarding in EMEA for 2020 and onboarding in Latin America for 2020.“You can register for geography-specific reports on the Talent Board site.

In a related vein, video job descriptions, which can be accomplished with video interviewing software as HireVue OnDemand, were noted as the primary technology that surveyed companies plan to invest in during 2020. A video job description is using a short video to give the candidate an overview of the opening — or a group of openings. The video can cover the role’s responsibilities, qualifications, and expectations. It can also show candidates the workplace, the hiring manager, current employees, and company culture.

Sixty-five percent of North American participants plan to invest in video job description technology, while 90%, 66%, and 100% of EMEA, APAC, and Latin American participants plan to invest in it, respectively.

5. Provide and Ask for Feedback

Feedback isn’t a one-way road. And this year’s report demonstrated again how critical it is for employers to offer candidates an opportunity to provide their feedback about the process as they progress. Candidates for CandE-winning companies had a 42% higher net promotor score (NPS) for the likelihood to increase their relationship with the employer when asked for feedback pre-application compared with all other participating companies.

In fact, feedback is so critical that organizations like Walgreen’s have it built into its recruiting team’s service-level agreements. Walgreen’s recruiters are required to share hiring feedback within 48 hours of receiving it. For a consumer brand like Walgreen’s, every interaction represents time with a customer, so maintaining a positive customer experience is critical.

Get the full candidate experience research report from the Talent Board. Or check out the 2020 Candidate Experience Playbook, a comprehensive guide to candidate experience.

Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash.