Why Candidate Experience Matters

December 7th, 2016
HireVue Team
Candidate Experience,
Employer Branding
sand dune

Attracting Top Talent is a Strategic Priority for Most Companies

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges that most companies -- large and small -- are encountering is the ability to attract and retain top talent. In some markets and industries, top talent may be on the market for less than a week. In their monthly national employment report, ADP clearly shows that employment growth trends continue on an upward increase. In July 2016 alone, private sector employment grew by 179,000 jobs, and a large portion of that employment growth came from the service sector. Demonstrated in the chart below, we see that this job growth trend continues in almost all segments of the employment market, by company size. Total Nonfarm Private Employment by Company Size June 2016

It's Getting Harder and Harder to Find Top Talent

With the increasing competition for talent, it is critically important to be able to identify the key talent quickly and deliver a distinctive candidate experience. A company that provides a satisfying experience can certainly differentiate itself from the competition. Companies aren't settling for people with minimum skills; they want applicants who stand out in ability and workplace temperament. A new recruiting standard is emerging that yields longer tenure and higher productivity. New channels and new technology are becoming increasingly important in framing a candidate experience that reflects qualities the company wants to signal -- those qualities that distinguish the company as being the place where top talent wants to work. Increasingly we are also seeing that organizations have not seen any real improvement in the quality of the hire since 2010, but it now takes 26 more days to hire than it did in 2010. This slower recruiting cycle negatively impacts business productivity, and as well as the quality of the hire. These "quality at speed" and skills gaps will have an adverse economic impact on your business

The current recruiting process puts the candidate through a difficult and confusing experience that may not provide the best business outcomes.

In many cases, the current hiring and assessment process puts the candidate through a difficult candidate experience through the process of finding the opportunity, applying, assessment, and ultimately hiring and integration. It's not uncommon for candidates to be frustrated with the lack of communication, personalization, and speedy feedback during this assessment process.

The candidate experience is becoming increasingly important to attract top talent and achieve key business growth goals.

I'm sure that most of us are familiar with the term "customer experience" as more and more companies are seeking to become more "customer-centric." It has been proven that customer advocacy is tightly linked to future business growth potential. So leading organizations have sought to better understand their customers, listen to what they have to say, and create a delightful customer journey that will create increased customer advocacy, loyalty, positive word of mouth, and deeper emotional relationships. More and more companies have recognized that to make significant strides in customer experience, they must understand the emotional journey that their customers are put through to achieve their needs. And the desired customer experience cannot be achieved without effective employee engagement. "Candidate experience" isn't just some buzz phrase. It describes the way you go about building relationships with the people you need to make your enterprise successful. From the moment a job description is crafted to the moment your employee starts to work, consideration needs to be given to how candidates will respond to what you say and do. Employee candidates have journeys just like your customers. They form an impression of you the very first time they find your job posting or hear about the opportunity with your firm. Building a successful candidate experience starts before these individuals even apply for a job -- attracting them is one of the most critical elements of a successful talent acquisition strategy. Therefore, designing the optimal candidate experience requires addressing what your potential candidates want. High-quality candidates want:

  • companies to align with who they are: Research shows that candidates choose to work for companies that match who they are and what they believe in.
  • to make a difference and be challenged
  • to work for the best companies, and
  • to learn and grow

Ensuring an optimal candidate experience will strengthen and enforce the corporate brand, attract top candidates, and build company advocacy.

To improve quality of hire and strengthen employer branding, companies are rethinking their approach to candidates and are treating them with the same attention they place on prospects and customers. The reason is simple: Impressions that are created during the recruiting process have a significant impact on what that candidate thinks of you -- as a place work or very often, and a current or future customer.  During the recruiting process you are able to shape the perception of who and what you are -- your brand. Red Bull, for example, has embraced digital recruiting and have created an exceptional candidate experience that mirrors their high-energy ethos. Bright, engaging graphics replace stock photos of smiling employees around a conference table. Red Bull's recruiting site seeks to tell candidates about their products and how they can make things better: "Profit is not our driver, it's chasing our potential." And candidates that apply to Red Bull love it! Their Net Promoter Score during the recruiting process is typically around 75 -- indicating that many candidates have become company advocates. In fact, how you are handled during the recruiting process forms an impression of what's it's like to work for your organization. Medallia, for example, showcases employee developed videos in their career section that highlight the fun, high energy workplace. It wants to showcase their people and the range of possibilities. "To be challenged and exhibit passion to do great things."

A positive recruiting process can impact your customer relationships.

Some forward-thinking companies are creating marketing budgets to boost their brand as employers. Employer branding stems from a simple idea: your company's reputation among consumers intersects with its reputation as an employer.

In 2014, Virgin Media sent out a "Rejected Candidate Survey" to those past employment candidates that it had turned down for jobs. What they found was that 18% of their candidates were current customers and that 6% of total applicants switched to a competitor because of a poor recruitment process. Imagine losing 6 percent of your customer portfolio. This could have a significant impact on overall business profitability and viability. This positive customer experience can have significant business outcomes -- both positive and negative. Either a positive or negative application or recruiting experience can impact the candidate's impression of the company. Candidates who have a positive, interactive, modern, and personalized recruiting experience can positively impact your business by:

  • Referring other applicants, helping to increase your talent pool. Referrals represent the largest (get stat) of successful recruitment candidates.
  • Creating customer advocates.
  • For non-customers, the ability to learn more about your company and be excited to potentially want to be a customer.
  • Being more likely to accept your offer over a competitors.

Achieving the desired customer experience requires certain key organizational skills and capabilities Some of the best practices on how to develop a positive candidate experience include:

  • Become the candidate: Know your target candidate pool and understand what they want and need; Target regions or distinct competencies with unique landing pages; job descriptions or videos
  • Ask candidates to rate you -- survey rejected candidates and find ways to improve the process. Share those results and successes. Many candidates will go to online reference sources such as Glassdoor or Indeed to find out what it's like to work at your company. Share the feedback directly.
  • Rethink how you reject candidates -- rebuilding the process that instills trust and earns respect
  • Share openly (and often) what it's like to work for your company: showcase the brand; include in the recruitment process videos, articles, pictures of what's like to work for your company and the potential offered.
  • Every member of your company plays a vital role in delivering a great candidate experience. Be sure you don't work in a silo when creating a killer candidate experience. Engage stakeholders from across the business. The companies with the highest Net Promoter Score (NPS) benefit from the involvement of talent acquisition, hiring managers, and line of business leaders.

Interested in how companies are creating a better candidate experience? Check out how digital interviewing enabled Under Armor to nearly triple the industry average Net Promoter Score here.