2021 CandE Research Takeaway #8: Timely Job Offers and Onboarding Make All the Difference

This is part eight 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.

Time is a crucial factor in the recruiting process, particularly in today’s talent market, where the competition for qualified candidates is ferocious. Make job offers or onboard new hires too slowly, and you’re sure to lose good people to more nimble competitors. In fact, these days, it’s a good bet that desirable candidates will be considering more than one job offer at any given time, so it’s essential that you act with speed and decisiveness during the Offer and Onboarding phases.

Talent Board surveyed more than 8,000 individuals about their Offer and Onboarding candidate experience for our 2021 benchmark research report, and we found that 57% received an official job offer less than one week after their final interview. That’s great. But it also indicates there’s room for improvement for nearly half of all employers out there. Nearly 10% of employers took three weeks to extend an offer and another roughly 9% took four weeks or more to do so. Moving that slowly is a risky proposition in today’s talent market.

Other Reasons To Feel the Need for Speed

There are other good reasons for moving with speed at the Offer phase. For example, candidates’ willingness to refer others to an employer increased 79% in 2021 when they received job offers within one week of their final interviews; and their willingness to increase their relationship with an employer (post positive reviews online, purchase products and services, etc.) rose 80%.

As for the Onboarding phase, researchers have long reported that productivity, retention, employee engagement and morale, and even trust and confidence all take a hit with a negative onboarding experience. And we’ve heard each of these claims confirmed by literally dozens of companies we’ve worked with over the years. This explains why the Onboarding phase is so crucial to recruiting effectiveness and why 83% of the employers we surveyed last year say they already have an onboarding system in place.

Here are five additional insights from our 2021 data regarding the Offer and Onboarding phases:

  1. Feedback continues to be a missed opportunity. A shocking 43% of candidates in 2021 were not invited to provide any feedback on their candidate journey or the hiring process before their start date. Clearly, too many employers aren’t gleaning useful insights from new hires that would help them improve their recruiting processes (and their retention levels, as noted above). It’s worth noting that 26% of candidates were asked for feedback prior to their start dates, and these candidates were 91% more willing to increase their relationships out of the gate—a great boost to productivity, engagement, and retention.
  2. “Marketing” to new hires is on the rise. Roughly half of employers said they sent specialized marketing/congratulations content and packages to their hired candidates in 2021, up 11% from 2020. This can help to ratchet up new hires’ brand affinity and their retention through year one.
  3. Focus groups and debriefs are underutilized. Just 13% of employers conducted candidate experience focus groups and/or debriefs in the first month of their new hires’ On a brighter note, 81% of new hires were encouraged to engage their teammates before their first day in 2021.
  4. Pre-start-date communication and engagement makes a real difference. For example, when candidates met team members, got their questions answered, and were engaged a various touch points prior to their start date, their willingness to refer others to their new employers increased 93%. When they received a call from the hiring manager, their willingness to refer others increased 83%. And when they were able to complete all of their new hire forms online in an onboarding system, their willingness to refer others also increased 83%.
  5. Employers feel their better at the Offer phase than at Onboarding. 77% of the employers we surveyed said they were “competing” and “leading” when it comes to offer management, but only 63% said they were doing so at Onboarding, a trend that has endured for the past few years.

For even more insights into what distinguishes a great candidate experience, download our latest research report. And be sure to check back here soon for my post on Key Takeaway #9 from our 2021 benchmark research, “The Importance of Pay Transparency and Fairness.”


Be safe and well.

Kevin W. Grossman, Talent Board President

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