What 10 Years of Research Is Teaching Us About Sustaining the Candidate Experience

Employers have spent the past several years diligently improving their candidate experiences. Despite the many lessons learned along the way, nothing could have prepared them for 2020 and this emerging reality: sustaining a high-quality experience is even trickier than building one.

Here in the U.S., for example, employers are navigating a series of external challenges (including COVID-19, social and racial inequity and injustice, political upheaval, and economic turmoil) while also dealing with a cascade of resulting internal hurdles (budget cuts, reduced recruiting plans and talent investments, and shifts in business plans and priorities).

Given this litany of tribulations, it’ll take serious resolve to sustain the quality of our candidate experiences in the months ahead, although our 2020 benchmark research is already showing us that the bar has again been raised – more on this in the next few months. (Check out the 2020 CandE Award Winners just announced here.)

A Decade’s Worth of Inspiration

So where can you find ideas worth emulating as you nurture your own candidate experience? Fortunately, Talent Board has a decade’s worth of research you can tap into. Our research reports contain a multitude of case studies on CandE Award-winning companies, including those that have earned the most CandE Awards—a clear indication of sustained quality and commitment.

Here are a few of these companies along with some of the tactics they’ve employed to maintain the superior quality of their candidate experiences (from our CandE research reports and CandE case studies):

  • Virtusa Corporation—Winner of 4 total CandE Awards in North America, 3 in EMEA and 4 in APAC, this information tech services company significantly overhauled how it engages with candidates—holding more in-depth conversations and probing for exactly what candidates want from their jobs and careers. As a result, its offer-to-join ratio has increased, the percentage of candidates who back out of the process early has decreased and rejected candidates have been more willing to stay in Virtusa’s pipeline. The company also launched and AI-powered chatbot that helps better engage candidates and assists with screening them. Virtusa’s Careers site has gotten easier to use over the years and its “chat with a recruiter” feature has helped streamline its pre-application process.
  • Humana—Winner of 7 total CandE Awards in North America, this health insurance powerhouse administers a variety of internal and external surveys to gather candidate feedback about their experiences; the feedback is then used to drive strategic talent initiatives. It has also increased its use of prescreening questions, chatbots, and texting with candidates over the past several years. Analytics are used to identify recruiting issues, such as the need to assess candidates more effectively, and the company is making ongoing investments in recruiting technologies and process improvement.
  • T-Mobile—The renowned telecom company, and winner of 6 total CandE Awards in North America, launched an updated application experience several years ago to provide candidates with a streamlined, more responsive, and fully mobile friendly application. It also enhanced its interviewing process with role-playing exercises that allow candidates to better showcase their skillsets. Improvements were made to its video interviewing initiatives and the functionality of its Careers site, providing more detailed search filtering, enhanced customization, and improved optimization for mobile and tablet users. In addition, T-Mobile increased the social footprint of its employment brand and began surveying all of its candidates post-application (roughly one million per year) and post-interview. This survey data has been used to improve how recruiters and hiring managers interact with candidates.

Of course, these activities represent only a fraction of the work these companies are doing to sustain their candidate experiences. They continue to evolve and make progress because the candidate experience itself is always a work in progress, regardless of the internal and external challenges that arise.

5 Key Differentiators

Sustaining a great candidate experience means you can never just stop making improvements. The minute you do, your competitors will pass you by. Here are five key differentiators of CandE Award-winning experiences that you can and should leverage to keep that from happening:

  1. Consistent communication from pre-application to onboarding
  2. Setting better expectations about the recruiting process
  3. Asking for feedback and provide feedback more often
  4. Holding your organization more accountable
  5. Ensuring a higher level of perceived candidate fairness

Implementing these strategies will keep your candidate experience going strong into 2021 and beyond. And be sure to download our research reports and comb through all the case studies for inspiration.

Join us November 18-19 for the 2020 CandE Awards Virtual Conference — our 10th anniversary — where we’ll elevate and celebrate the empathic best we’ve worked hard to be, some pretty amazing speakers and sessions, and the companies around the world who have again raised the bar on improving the candidate experience. 

Be safe and well.

Kevin Grossman, Talent Board President

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