Candidate Experience vs. the Black Hole

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A couple of months ago I shared some data from an Aberdeen Group report about benchmarking quality of hire best practices here. It’s a great benchmark list of outcomes.  But how about the inputs?

More specifically, in terms of quality of hire, how about benchmarking the quality of the candidate experience? Call me crazy, but it seems to me that a higher quality candidate experience translates into a higher quality of hire.

As background, The Talent Board was formed in January 2011 to assist recruiting organizations in understanding and evaluating the experiences of their candidates.

“While there is an inherent dissatisfaction that comes with rejecting employment candidates, the Talent Board believes that it is possible to:

  • Treat all employment candidates with professionalism and respect
  • Shrink the recruiting “blackhole” effect on candidates.”

The Talent Board founders, Gerry Crispin, Elaine Orler and Ed Newman and their colleagues have just produced the 2012 Candidate Experience report from their survey and awards program.   In its second year, the research was based on survey responses from 90 companies (up from 57 in 2011) and more than 17,500 completed candidate surveys (up from 11,500).

To be clear, that’s 17,500 candidates for employment answering questions about their experience as an applicant in four defined phases of the talent acquisition process:

  1. Candidate attraction
  2. Expression of interest
  3.  Candidate dispositioning before the finalist stage
  4. Candidate evaluation & selection

The report gives data from the employer questionnaire as well as from the candidate questionnaire.  As examples, here are two such questions.  Interesting to note the differences between employers and their candidates.

CandE Emp #34 Cand #20

But for most, the topic of most interest is the infamous “black hole” – that old familiar experience of applying for a job by filling out an application on line, attaching a resume to an online application or email, or using snail mail to send in a resume … and never getting a response.   Worse, the black hole could happen after a phone interview.  Or after a face-to-face interview.  At the entry level.  At the professional level.  At the executive level.  Yes the black hole is everywhere. In every industry, geography and size of company.  We’ve all experienced it. And we’ve all derived meaning from it.

The 90 employers that participated in the Candidate Experience Survey last year are paying attention to the black hole.  And while a boilerplate email message from a “do not reply” address notifying an applicant that they won’t be a candidate is only a smidge better than the black hole, bad communication is better than no communication and it’s a baby step in the right direction.  The report goes on to show guarded optimism that while some employers are beginning to provide feedback to disposed candidates when asked, not many are making it a standard practice.

But here’s the kicker:   fully one third of candidates from employers who care about the black hole were provided no specific feedback about their application. And nearly half received a standard email template with no specific information.

CandE Candidate Question #36

One third got no feedback. Zero. Zip. Nada. That’s a massive black hole, right there. And think what meaning is derived from it about the employer’s brand, culture, management, products and services. Connecting those dots isn’t hard.

So.  While a few employers are connecting the dots between quality of hire and quality of candidate experience, it’s clearly not enough.  If your organization is beginning to look at quality of hire metrics, don’t forget the candidate experience.  I’m not sure you can improve one without improving the other.

And check out the process for participating in the 2013 CandE Awards program.  You can’t improve future performance without a clear understanding of current performance.  That includes quality of hire – which surely includes the candidate experience.  Time to get rid of the black hole!

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Filed under Black Hole, CandE Awards, Candidate Experience, China Gorman, Connecting Dots, Data Point Tuesday, HR Data, Quality of Hire, Talent Acquisition, Talent pipeline, The Talent Board

5 responses to “Candidate Experience vs. the Black Hole

  1. Pingback: Candidate Experience vs. the Black Hole | Successful recruiting strategies in today's digital world | Scoop.it

  2. Pingback: Candidate Experience vs. the Black Hole | Anti aging tips to looking young, feeling great and realizing your dreams! | Scoop.it

  3. Pingback: Candidate Experience vs. the Black Hole | TalentCircles | Scoop.it

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