Tag Archives: CandE Awards

Candidates First, Employees Second and Customers Third?

Data Point Tuesday
The candidate experience is a growing priority. Between 2013 and 2014, organizations increased their amount of focus on building strong relationships with candidates by more than five times. But the Aberdeen Group opines in their recent report, “Why the Candidate Experience Needs to be a Priority ASAP,” organizations still need to up their ante. No matter the industry, a candidate’s application experience should be a top priority simply because their perceptions of the process (whether they get the job or not) can have a serious impact on an organization’s brand, customers, and success. In this hyper-connected age of social media, it can take only one voice to significantly damage a big brand…

The importance of the candidate experience is not lost on Best-in-Class organizations. These companies are 30% more likely to invest in new technologies such as social, mobile and video to make recruiting engaging for candidates, in comparison with all other organizations (60% vs. 46%).

Game Changing TechIt’s also more likely that Best-in-Class organizations (compared with all other organizations) will focus on the development of a talent community to reach candidates and improve the candidate experience. Talent Communities, groups of active potential candidates that can regularly engage with the organization through technology (online portals, email, mobile etc.) are one of the fastest growing areas of talent acquisition. Aberdeen reports that 40% of organizations (respondents from a recent talent acquisition survey) plan to increase their investment in talent communities over the next twelve months.

Aberdeen’s research finds that besides overcoming the skills gap in today’s talent pool, improving the candidate experience is ranked by businesses, overall, as the most critical talent acquisition issue. How this knowledge is reflected within organizations, however, is a different story. Just 21% of companies in Aberdeen’s report indicated that the candidate experience/building strong relationships with candidates were a top priority for 2014, although this was a significant jump from 2013 where only 4% of organizations reported this.

Besides the perception of an organization, having a great candidate experience process can also mean improved cost-per-hire. Aberdeen’s study found that organizations prioritizing the candidate experience are twice as likely to improve their cost-per-hire and are expected to have a larger budget for talent acquisition efforts in the coming year (compared to organizations who do not prioritize the candidate experience).

 Budget ImpactCandidates expect much of the same things as consumers, for example, in ease of use and clear user-interfaces. In a 2013 study by Aberdeen, 62% of Best-in-Class organizations reported giving candidates visibility into their application status through resources like automated emails and online platforms like candidate career portals (although just 33% of organizations feel they have an engaging career portal). According to another 2013 study from Aberdeen, candidates who start as customers of the companies they apply to are 3.2 times more likely to describe their relationship as an applicant as positive rather than negative.

A good way to think about whether or not your organization is prioritizing the candidate experience may be to ask if candidates are treated with a comparable amount of respect and attention as customers. If they are, it likely means that the candidate experience it something that’s planned ahead for, as an organization would plan for potential customers. Most organizations do not plan ahead when it comes to the candidate experience however, with Aberdeen citing 60% of organizations only recruit talent when there is an opening, instead of having a talent community of active candidates that can be tapped into as needed. Organizations should take heart that creating a focused and engaging candidate experience does not need to be a difficult process. Contemporizing the process with technology (building a talent community and active pipeline) is an important step, but organizations can start also to prioritize the experience by changing the system they have in place now. This could mean catering to the highly connected, tech savvy candidates of today by not only reaching out to them post-application and interview, but also soliciting feedback from them during the application process (helping organizations better understand holes in their candidate experience). Sometimes it’s the simplest aspects of an application process that have the most impact. Respondents of a recent candidate experience survey by Aberdeen reported that the best, candidate friendly companies:

  • Send a thank you note after an application is completed
  • Ensure candidates can effectively exhibit their qualifications
  • Share next steps (whether that’s moving forward or a courteous decline)
  • Allow candidates to provide feedback about the overall experience

The work that Gerry Crispin, Elaine Orler and Ed Newman have done notwithstanding, does your organization really care about “the candidate experience”? Does creating a talent community really matter when you need to fill positions? Will treating job applicants like customers really make a difference in your ability to attract, hire and deploy the talent you need to meet your organizations strategic objectives? The data are beginning to provide clear evidence that, to paraphrase Vineet Nayar, perhaps candidates come first, employees second and customers third….

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Filed under Aberdeen Group, CandE Awards, Candidate Experience, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Workplace Studies

Voice of the Candidate: Is Anyone Listening?

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Vendor survey results, reports and whitepapers are self-serving. We know that, right? But vendor survey results, reports and whitepapers can also be sources of insight for HR professionals – as long as they understand that there’s an agenda behind the publication.

I read a SilkRoad report on some survey results last week that I thought was interesting. I don’t know anyone at SilkRoad but they sent me a link and I clicked on it. And found this:  2013 Employment Marketplace Survey Results: The Candidate’s Perspective. And I found that their results line up well with the work that Elaine Orler and Gerry Crispin’s Talent Board is doing with the Candidate Experience Awards* (CandEs).

The “Voice of the Candidate” is getting more and more powerful. And it’s clear from these results – and others – that organizations winning the talent game are listening to that voice. Those that aren’t listening are missing out on some great talent.

The report is a quick read but here are a couple of highlights:

SilkRoad 1c

Companies that invest in the commonly accepted components of “engagement” are more likely to catch the attention of job seekers. Period. The top five selected (this was a “check your top three” questions) characteristics are typically found in definitions of engagement. For good reason, as it turns out.

And this:

SilkRoad 2

The report describes the results of this question as the “halo effect” of web-based recruiting technology. It’s not just about the efficiencies of using the web for recruiting – it’s also about the assumptions candidates make about the use of web-based recruiting technology. According to the results, the majority of survey participants indicated that they believe the use of web-based recruiting technology means that the employer is innovative and progressive.

There certainly are a number of HCM providers with web-based recruiting technology solutions – and more being introduced nearly every day. If an employer has the dual purpose of increasing talent acquisition efficiency as well as improving the candidate experience, then listening to the “Voice of the Candidate” is the right place to start.

*The CandEs will be announced at the HR Technology Conference, October 7-9, 2013 at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

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Filed under CandE Awards, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Elaine Orler, Gerry Crispin, HR Technology Conference, Recruiting, Recruiting Technology, SilkRoad

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