We Need to Be There for All Our Candidates

Now that I think about it, calling it an upside-down bonkers recruiting, hiring, and retention world right now makes it sound like a sitcom.

It is definitely not a sitcom.

According to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data about last November, there were 10.6 million job openings but only 6.7 million hires. Combine that with the many who are still leaving their jobs, and of those, the many who are not going back to work. Then combine that with overworked recruiting professionals managing dozens of job requisitions who are burnt out.

Retention strategies are critical, and that all starts with offer-to-onboard experiences (although we would argue all the candidate experiences are critical). Wages may be higher for many as well, but employees are still demanding more flexibility in how and where they work (if they can – not everyone can leverage that). 

Which is why, for those who are getting hired today, especially those new to an organization, the offer-to-onboard experience is so important. Although the total number of declined offers in our annual candidate experience benchmark research is low, the percentage of declined offers increased 45% in 2021 from 2020 in North America (although it’s down or unchanged in EMEA, APAC, and Latin America).

The struggle is surreal these days, so it’s no surprise that candidate finalists want responsiveness during the hiring process, specifically if and when they receive an offer. According to our latest 2021 North American CandE Benchmark Research, 57% of candidate respondents said that less than one week elapsed between the last interview and their receipt of an offer letter, the same as in 2020. It was 56% in EMEA, only 41% in APAC, and 48% in Latin America. Collapsing this timeframe can make a big difference in hiring highly sought-after candidates.

When employers asked candidates for feedback prior to their start date, these candidates were 91% more willing to increase their relationship out of the gate, and it’s similar in each region we measure candidate experience. This is also critical to ensuring retention, at least in the short run, and building the bridge from candidate to employee experience.

For those candidates who get multiple options to communicate goals, meet team members and get questions answered prior to their start date, their willingness to refer others and increase their relationship with their new employer (or current employer) increased dramatically (again, similar everywhere globally). More on this when we cover our Top 10 Takeaways from the 2021 CandE benchmark research over the next two months.

We recently completed candidate experience training with a very large organization with over 100 on their recruiting team, and onboarding is definitely something they’re working on. In fact, when we asked their team what some of their best practices were (and those they working on improving and sustaining, which isn’t easy in today’s market), they shared statements like:

  • We need to call all the new hire candidates and explain the onboarding process and address any questions or concerns.
  • We need to call, email, and/or text the new hire candidates with next steps detailing expectations and set up a follow up call.
  • We need to keep touching base with new hire candidates while they’re waiting to be onboarded.
  • We need to be there for our new hire candidates.

That last one was a nice thing to hear – we need to be there for them. Especially when the onboarding process can be messy with lots of fits and start dates that shift due to the COVID-19 pandemic impact. 

There are so many challenges today in recruiting, hiring, and the candidate experience. Beyond what we already outlined above – from unrealistic expectations from hiring managers (read the joint research we did with Phenom), to candidate ghosting (read the joint research we did with Hourly by AMS and First Advantage). 

Candidate experience has never been more competitive, from pre-application to onboarding, and so companies big and small across industries need to make a renewed commitment to improving it all. Sustained incremental improvements can make all the difference in positive sentiment and the candidates’ perception of fairness.

We need to be there for all our candidates. And for those we’re hiring, investing in retention starts before day 1.

Be safe and well.

Kevin Grossman, Talent Board President

It’s that time of year again! Time to start benchmarking your candidate experience in our 2021 CandE Benchmark Research program. Learn more here

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