The Prescient Presence of Today’s Candidate Experience

I’m so tired of hearing about the future of work. Really, I am. Fantastical this and amazing that brought to you by super-prescient analysts, influencers and consultants who look out to a world where everyone is so happy and productive and diversity abounds and inclusion is status quo and we can manage literally everything from our phones and software is perpetually in the cloud where our data is secure and there’s artificial intelligence and hyper-personalization in all work exchanges and experiences for candidates, employees, recruiters, human resources, hiring managers and business leaders.

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of exciting advancements and improvements in the world of work that are coming tomorrow, and really smart future-of-work folks who share these fantastical and amazing things.

But what about today? We have the lowest unemployment rates in decades; huge investments in HR and recruiting technologies that power the organizations big and small across industries to better communicate and engage; employers competing for hourly, professional and management candidates across multiple industries; job candidates ghosting employers at an unprecedented rate; and the same sought-after candidates are going to the highest bidders and many more are clamoring to work for Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google. It’s a crazy-cool candidate experience world, right?

Maybe it is, or maybe not so much. According to the latest Talent Board candidate experience benchmark research, candidate resentment has increased 40% in North America since 2016, 25% in EMEA and 10% in APAC. Meaning, those who have had a horrible candidate experience and aren’t willing to have any relationship with that same business – never apply again, never refer others and never make purchases (if a consumer-based business).

And what about for current employees looking at internal mobility opportunities? Internal candidate resentment has increased 38% in North America since 2016. For us old Gen Xers? Candidate resentment has increased 18% in North America since 2016. For Boomers? It’s gone up 17% since 2016. For women? It’s gone up 50% since 2016.

I could go on and globally, too. However, according to our latest recruiting focus 2020 global CandE benchmark research, participants tell Talent Board that candidate experience is top of mind, along with employer branding, recruitment marketing, and diversity and inclusion. And if you search for people with “candidate experience” in their HR function roles in LinkedIn, you get nearly 200,000 results, which is a lot more than if you searched even five years ago. Granted, many of them are relegated to recruiter coordinator, recruiting lead, recruiting specialist or maybe recruiting manager roles. Maybe in the future of work, they’ll be directors, VP’s and chief candidate experience officers.

The good news today is this – we work with hundreds of employers each year, and for the past nine years many talent acquisition leaders and their teams have been working hard to improve recruiting with their people, processes and technologies, and ultimately, improving the candidate experience and candidates’ overall perception of fairness in the recruiting process. By the way, the 2020 CandE benchmark research program is open now for all global employers.

Those companies participating that have the highest positive candidate ratings each year win our coveted CandE Awards. They are investing more in consistent and transparent education, communication and feedback, and the technologies that empower them, from pre-application and onboarding like these examples:

  • Transparency about application process on the career site — setting expectations (Dr. Reddy’s).
  • Creating and curating content that gives job seekers tools and resources to improve their career search and professional advancement (Hoag Health).
  • Distributing recent news articles to candidates about the company and the culture (Kronos).
  • Career site chatbot giving recruiters much more time to interact with candidates (P&G).
  • Developing and launching effective microsites within the company career pages that include, but are not limited to, early career, interview tips and preparation and learning and development pages (Syneos Health).
  • Chatbots used to answer basic questions prior to committing to the position (Walgreens).
  • Utilizing Survale’s survey platform to gather data throughout the candidate journey: career site experience, application, recruiter screen, post-interview and post-offer. Helps improve and report on speed, follow-through, adhering to interview guides and using a conversational interview style (CSAA).
  • Employees involved in the interview process required to go through an internal training called “Hire to Win” focused on providing an outstanding candidate experience and of the impact it has on our employer brand (PointClickCare).
  • Utilizing video and voice recorded interviews with no travel required for an initial screening (Waste Management).

It’s not only CandE winners engaged in these activities, but they are doing more of them consistently over time, which isn’t easy to do. There are so many things pummeling an employer every year, from changes on the leadership team, changes on the recruiting team, merging with another company, being acquired by another company, frenetic political and regulatory environments, economic fluctuations, aggressive growth and precipitous downsizing.

In my past, I’ve been part-time sourcer and recruiter (yes, I have), an HR and recruiting tech product marketer, an analyst, an influencer, and a candidate experience researcher for the past five years. I’ve been asked to predict what will happen in the future of HR and recruiting technology, candidate and employee experiences, and I’m always hesitant to do so, because it’s always now again, and the present recruiting and hiring environment still needs a lot more attention, while a lot more attention needs to be paid to those delivering a positive impact on candidates and current employees alike.

The future of work may look super brighter to some, but the prescient presence of today’s candidate experience is the only crystal ball I need.

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