6 actionable insights for talent acquisition leaders from Talent Board’s 2019 Candidate Experience Benchmark Research Report

Apr 20, 2020 - Cat DiStasio

Across industries, one key strategy for getting a leg up is universal: look at the organizations that are already killing it, learn about what they do, and find ways to make those best practices work for your team.

In talent acquisition, we’re fortunate that Talent Board identifies top employers in the candidate experience game each year (and gives them a CandE Award), and dissects the strategies that work for them. These valuable insights help TA leaders make crucial choices that lead to better candidate engagement, faster hiring, and overall better results throughout the recruiting process.

Talent Board recently published its 2019 North American Candidate Experience Benchmark Research Report, and we’ve scoured the results to share six key insights to help you strengthen your conversational recruiting strategy and attract better candidates before your competition does. This year, Talent Board identified candidate resentment as the biggest challenge TA leaders are facing, noting it has increased by 40% since 2016. As a result, employers need to approach candidate experience with a special focus on combating any potential resentment, so all the advice stemming from this year’s report will connect back to that theme in some way. 

Here are some things you can start doing today to get closer to your goals.

Put your organization out there

Candidates want to learn about a potential employer before they decide to apply. Talent Board found that 59% of candidates ranked CandE Award-winning employers with 4 and 5 stars for the information they could find during pre-application research, which is 10% higher than other employers. This is a simple ask: make it easy for candidates to research your organization and get answers. Start by posting information and videos on your careers site and using an FAQ bot that can answer their most common questions. According to the Talent Board research, the most important types of information are related to company culture and employee testimonials, so be sure to make those topics easily accessible.

Ask candidates for feedback and do it early

Would you be surprised to learn that only 13% of employers are asking for feedback after a candidate is hired? Common sense suggests this means most employers are missing out on valuable feedback from candidates about the early stages of the recruiting process. In 2019, fewer employers asked candidates for feedback after the application but before the interview, down to 5% from 8% in 2018. Investing in more communication at this stage may help reduce ghosting. Consider sending an email that explains how long a candidate can expect to wait before receiving news about their application, and then be sure to follow up on that promised timeline.

Communicate clear beginnings and endings

More communication leads to a better candidate experience, without fail, and finding touch points throughout the recruiting process has become a must. Talent Board found that CandE Award winners “consistently acknowledge initial job-seeker interest and provide definitive closure when no longer pursuing candidates.” Be proactive about communicating with candidates from the very beginning of the relationship, when they engage with your recruiting chatbot or submit an application, and keep them informed throughout the process, even if they are not selected for an interview. 

Embrace the need for speed

Employers that move quickly can expect better candidate engagement. Talent Board research revealed that, when employers make a job offer within one week of the final interview, the candidates’ willingness to increase their relationship with the employer goes up 168% for all employers, and 192% for CandE Award winners. Being able to deliver this type of experience relies on advance preparation, and often a strong relationship between recruiters and hiring managers. TA leaders can foster these relationships by involving hiring managers in the recruiting process early on, by learning what types of people will make the best candidates for their open positions and training hiring managers on interview techniques. 

Share candidate feedback with recruiters

The number of CandE Award winners that measure candidate experience regularly and incorporate it into their recruiter dashboards has decreased since 2018, from 61% to 45% in 2019. Although more employers are discussing candidate experience in recruiters’ performance reviews than in previous years, fewer are connecting candidate experience to performance incentives. Regardless of whether you decide to tie candidate experience to monetary incentives, it’s important to discuss it with recruiters, either as part of informal or formal performance reviews.

Mobile applications are a must

To connect with today’s tech savvy candidates, employers need to make applications and the entire recruiting process mobile friendly. Talent Board found that 97% of CandE-winning employers offer mobile applications, even though only 17% of candidates overall said they applied via mobile. What’s interesting is that candidates of CandE winners said they applied via mobile 11% more compared with candidates from all companies, and there was a 32% increase in candidates’ willingness to increase their relationship. This demonstrates how offering mobile applications can improve candidate engagement, even if candidates predominantly apply through other methods.

Boosting candidate engagement reduces resentment

Dialing in your conversational recruiting strategy to provide the best possible candidate experience requires TA leaders to understand what candidates want and find opportunities to build a meaningful relationship with them throughout the recruiting process. Your candidate personas and feedback should help inform your strategy, and learning from these best practices sheds even more light on the challenges and demands of recruiting in 2020. Talent Board’s CandE Awards consistently provide the type of insights that TA leaders can put into action to transform the candidate experience. 

Link to last year’s post on Talent Board findings

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