2021 CandE Research Takeaway #5: Let Candidates Know What’s Up

This is part five of Talent Board’s new 10-post series on Key Takeaways from our 2021 benchmark research report. All previous posts in the series are available on our Articles page.

If there’s one thing job candidates hate more than being rejected, it’s being kept in the dark – i.e., never hearing back. Rejection, at least, provides closure. Being kept in the dark is more like slow torture that might not end. Plus, it can happen at every stage of their journey.

One stage where darkness descends all too frequently is the Application stage. Talent Board’s latest candidate experience benchmark research shows that 40% of candidates didn’t even receive an automated “thank you” message after completing applications last year, and 23% said they still hadn’t heard back from employers two months later. Other ways candidates are kept in the dark at the Application stage include not being told how long the process will take (which happened to 78% of candidates last year), and not being told how far along they are in the process (which happened to 64% of them).

All of these missteps contribute to a candidate’s feeling of uncertainty, especially when they mount up. And the thing is – they’re all avoidable.

Keeping Candidates in the Know

Although the stats above pertain to the Application stage, candidates are kept in the dark at every stage of their journey, which prompts a whole host of questions. Did the company receive my resume? Did anyone actually review it? Did the recruiter receive the follow-up question I emailed her about the job? Did my assessment turn out okay? Did my interview go well? Did the hiring manager really understand why my background makes me a great candidate? Will they consider me for future roles?

All of these questions (and many more that crop up all the time) are the result of poor or no communication from the TA team, and all of them can be avoided or answered quickly with a simple outreach from a team member or recruiting automation technologies like a chatbot and conversational AI, ATS, or candidate communications platform.

It’s probably not surprising that companies with the highest-rated candidate experiences—i.e., CandE Award winners—are better than average at keeping candidates apprised of their status throughout their journey. Here are just a few of the ways they do so:

  • During the research stage—CandE winners utilize AI chatbots to answer questions on their Careers sites more often than the average company, although the difference continues to even out over time. CandE winners also proactively prevent questions from arising at this stage by giving job seekers more content around company culture, diversity, and inclusion, why people want to work at their organizations, and why employees stay with them beyond a year or so.
  • During the application stage—CandE winners are ahead of their competitors at this stage in pretty much all the ways mentioned at the outset of this post—utilizing automated “thank you” messages, telling candidates how long an application will take, and keeping them informed of their application progress. Also, candidates at CandE-winning organizations got their questions answered via chatbots nearly 30% more often than the average for all companies.
  • During post-application stages—Candidates at CandE-winning organizations said they received post-application information about next steps 13% more often than the average for all candidates. Mobile text messaging campaigns—which can contribute significantly to an employer’s ability to communicate quickly and effectively—have increased a whopping 380% since 2018, with slightly more CandE winners investing in this type of communication.

In the past, employers may have kept candidates in the dark and gotten away with it. Not anymore. In today’s talent marketplace, that’s the kiss of death for an employment brand. Candidates simply won’t put up with it and, frankly, they shouldn’t have to. Letting them know where they stand at each stage of their journey is basic stuff—about as basic as it gets. But doing this simple thing well puts your organization on equal footing with the very best candidate experiences.

If you’d like more insights into the world’s best candidate experiences, download our 2021 research reports and be sure to check back soon for our post on Key Takeaway #6, “Interview Fairness and Structure Are Critical.”

Be safe and well.

Kevin W. Grossman, Talent Board President

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