Candidate Resentment Hits All-Time High: Tech Industry In A Candidate Experience Nose Dive

CandE benchmark reports reveals negative experience for job seekers across most industries. It's time for talent acquisition to improve processes and make recruiting more empathetic and equitable.

Article main image
Jun 12, 2024

It continues to be a mixed-bag recruiting market, rough even, especially for industries like technology.

At our annual tech recruiting conference last week called Talent42, one of our keynotes, Craig Campbell, shared what he called “what the f—” moments for tech recruiting and recruiting in general:

  • Between 2022-2024 — 2,500 tech companies laid off more than 500,000 employees
  • An estimated 400,000 jobs in recruitment could be impacted by AI-driven automation in the coming years.
  • Only 40% of employees have high trust in their senior leadership.

Candidate resentment is higher than ever in our 2024 CandE Benchmark Research—the percentage of candidates who said they had a poor candidate experience and are no longer willing to engage with those businesses and brands they had applied to.

Resentment is at 15% overall in North America, the highest we’ve ever seen it — and it’s 28% for technology industry candidates. That’s 60% higher for tech. And last year it was 51% higher.

Resentment is still a moving target this year because we’re still capturing data in our benchmark research for 2024. Just a few weeks ago, resentment was hovering at 17% in North America, but as you can see below, it’s up all over the world.

Current 2024 Global Candidate Resentment

If we break candidate resentment out a little further by the industries represented the most in North America currently (which can and will change between now and the end of August), you can see hospitality isn’t far behind at 22% besides technology being sky-high. Interestingly, the industry that keeps carrying the monthly BLS jobs reports (healthcare) has the lowest candidate resentment to date.

Candidate Resentment By Most Represented Industries In 2024

Latest CandE Pulse: May 2024

In May, total employment rose by 272,000 jobs, and the unemployment rate rose slightly to 4%. The job growth was much higher than expected. The survey of households used to compute the unemployment rate also showed that full-time workers declined by 625,000, while those holding part-time positions increased by 286,000. Again, job gains were mostly in health care, government, leisure, and hospitality. In our latest CandE Pulse research from May, with over 100 responses, healthcare is resoundingly where hiring is happening.

As we do each year in our benchmark research, and now monthly in our CandE Pulse surveys, we again highlight how employers self-rate their own recruiting and candidate experience and whether or not they are leading, competing, improving, or lagging. Of the over 100 responses in May, most respondents said they’re improving and competing (see figure below). This is how our benchmark data usually trends, although there are fluctuations each month and in our annual benchmark research. The biggest industry representation in our CandE Survey, which stated they were improving and competing, was healthcare.

Those who said they were leading decreased by 39% from April after peaking at 36% in March, and those who said they were lagging dipped to a low of 2%. Yes, these are self-ratings and subjective, and they are a different mix of employers each month. Still, we definitely prefer employer confidence in competing and leading to remain stable or increase. Of course, there’s constant volatility, and the proof is always in the candidate experience ratings.

Self-Rating Recruiting and Candidate Experience

So, what were May’s recruiting priorities? We’ve asked our CandE Community and beyond this in our CandE Pulse surveys since January 2023. For six months, screening and interviewing have been the number one CandE Pulse recruiting priority. This has been a significant area of focus for CandE Community employers for the past two years as well. We’ve always argued that this is when both candidates and employers invest more time vetting each other, which could have an even greater positive or negative impact on the business and the brand, depending on the candidate’s experience.

And it’s always great to see “candidate experience” in the top 5, back at #2, and tied with pre-boarding / onboarding this time, another priority we’ve seen come and go in the top 5—employee referrals, recruitment marketing, and the application process round out the top 5 this time. The application process comes and goes in the priorities, which may indicate new implementations or system optimizations, but for sure, process improvements.

Top 5 Recruiting and Hiring Priorities


As always, this is only a partial list of what we ask, and it’s clear that priorities can change—a lot—every single month. Granted, there is a different mix of employers responding to these surveys each month, but it is still a sample set of current priorities.

Again, our May CandE Pulse survey respondents represented over 100 employers. 68% were 500-100,000+ in total employee size, with 34% having over 2,500 in total employee size. The top industries in May were healthcare, education, construction, manufacturing, finance & Insurance, government (public sector), and many others.

In addition to asking what employers’ priorities are month after month, we also ask them how they will get all the work done. Out of the top five each month, the most regularly recurring one is always “Improving Processes.” This makes sense since it is where companies should tackle priority improvement and implementation first and foremost.

The next regularly recurring activity in May was candidate/employee experience survey feedback. We love to hear this since we run a candidate experience benchmark research program. Whether gathering continuous feedback from candidates and/or participating in our benchmark program, companies that analyze and act on this data can create a competitive edge in a continuing volatile marketplace. Employers need accurate and timely feedback data to improve their processes, and that includes participating in our annual CandE Benchmark Research Program and considering investing in continuous candidate experience feedback with our survey partner, Survale.

Current staffing and more staffing were the next ones in May, which also resonates with us and what we’ve heard from many in our CandE Community—that they are working hard to maximize and optimize their already thin teams and, for those growing industries, expand teams again. Flexible work schedules (virtual/hybrid) round out the top five, something TA teams have implemented for many years before the pandemic.

Top 5 Ways to Get It All Done

Recruiting Technologies That Help

Speaking of getting things done, in March, we started asking the following question: What recruiting technology systems are employers using that help them the most with their candidate communications, scheduling, and feedback (including email, texting, messaging, etc.)?

Recruiting technologies that help employers with candidate communications, scheduling, and feedback are critical to recruiting and hiring, and in May, the top 10 included (with many ties):

  • Teams/Zoom/Google Meet/Slack
  • Oracle (Taleo), Workday Recruiting
  • Employ (Jobvite, Lever, JazzHR)
  • BambooHR
  • Dayforce
  • HireEZ, Handshake
  • SmartRecruiters
  • SAP SuccessFactors
  • HireVue
  • UKG

When we filter the data by those who said they were competing and leading in their recruiting and candidate experience delivery, the top 10 shifts a bit, but includes many of the same providers:

  • Teams/Zoom/Google Meet/Slack
  • BambooHR, Oracle (Taleo), Workday Recruiting
  • Dayforce
  • Employ (Jobvite, Lever, JazzHR)
  • HireEZ
  • Handshake, SmartRecruiters
  • SAP SuccessFactors
  •, Eightfold, Findem, Goodtime, Greenhouse, HireVue, UKG
  • Beamery, Brazen: A Radancy Company, Cornerstone OnDemand, Dalia, Gem, Paradox
  • iCIMS, Phenom, Survale, WayUp

Starting next month, we’ll review how this trends over time. It’s important to note that this is based on those employers who responded and will respond going forward, and results will vary each month. Plus, we can’t tie these self-assessed results to our candidate benchmark ratings, at least not yet. In 2025, we’ll start tracking that.

May CandE Pulse respondents said they’ve been hiring, and it’s been consistently higher this year than at the end of last year. Laying off and freezing hiring are also down slightly. This does speak to the May BLS data and is one of a few positive signs overall, even if it doesn’t feel that way to some.

Hiring Status


Hourly and entry-level hiring are up in our May data, but professional and management are down. This shows the bifurcated hiring market we saw in the April jobs data. It’s important to note that the mix of employers responding to our CandE Pulse surveys does vary each month, and it’s not all net new hiring, but we’ll see if hiring sustains itself through the summer.

We also ask employers each month whether they’ve increased or decreased the size of their recruiting team. In March, recruiting team size increased dramatically, like in January, to 47%, and again, it has been higher on average since last fall. But it’s down again, 17% in May from April. Again, recruiting continues to be a yo-yo for those in the profession.

Increased or Decreased Recruiting Team Size

However, according to our Pulse data, budgets increased 21% in May from April. We’ll have to wait a few months to see if there’s a greater trend going into this fall beyond the yo-yo here since the responding companies change each month. We’ll continue to monitor this as it impacts the ability of talent acquisition professionals and their teams to get their recruiting and hiring work done.

Increased or Decreased Recruiting Budget

Overall, our May CandE Pulse results show fluctuating resilience in recruiting and hiring while aligning with the broader jobs report. It will be interesting to see what happens during the summer months and beyond because there’s still a lot of 2024 recruiting and hiring ahead of us. Anecdotally, many in our CandE community are cautiously optimistic for a stronger second half of 2024. We just started capturing data for our June CandE Pulse results, so you can jump right in and answer the survey here.

Now more than ever, we need each other in recruiting and hiring. Unfortunately, we’re in the business of “no” in recruiting because we say no a lot more than we say yes. It’s not the candidate market it was two years ago, and candidate resentment is higher than ever.

However, we must never forget that our role in talent acquisition is to help people get jobs. Let’s continue improving our processes and technologies to make recruiting and hiring more empathetic and equitable for everyone. This is a promise we should invest in, both today and for the future.



Get articles like this
in your inbox
The longest running and most trusted source of information serving talent acquisition professionals.