Incentivize Recruiters for a More Successful Hiring Process

Apr 17, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 1.23.47 PMThe candidate experience has become one of the most talked-about areas for improvement in the recruitment industry, in large part thanks to Gerry Crispin, who in 2010 announced his idea for the Candidate Experience Awards for Recruiters and Private Sector Employees. The idea was to develop a program to recognize and reward those companies who were providing a good experience to their recruiters and candidates.

Oddly enough, not a lot of attention seems to be paid to giving incentives to the people who actually provide the experience to candidates: recruiters.

First, let’s look at the candidate experience award 2013 results.

The North American Candidate Experience Awards 2013 surveyed 46,000 candidates who applied to almost 95 innovative companies. The data was analyzed and the results were compiled in the Candidate Experience 2013 report.

According to the report, career sites like are still the most popular methods for recruiting. Almost every employer (98 percent) said that they were “central and routine.” These were followed by the major social media networks LinkedIn (83 percent), Facebook (67 percent), and Twitter (63 percent).

Fortunately for me and my competitors, job apps and video interviewing seemed to be areas of high growth and interest from many companies. Video interviews in particular are becoming more useful as digital technologies become cheaper and more ubiquitous. Approximately 54.1 percent of companies had a video interviewing system in use, and about 23 percent are considering implementing one in 2014.

The winners of the contest included Capital One, American Airlines Inc, Wells Fargo, and General Motors, among many others. These companies used mobile services and video interviewing, branded employment services, and were very interested in getting feedback from participants through polls and surveys.

A New Model of Candidate Recruitment

Alongside this focus on candidate satisfaction should be a similar effort toward optimizing the people who actually work with candidates — the recruiters. In most cases, recruiters are judged on only two metrics: time-to-fill and cost-per-hire.

This needs to change to accommodate the candidate experience. Instead of rating recruiters based on these bare-bones statistics, what if companies redesigned the model to incentivize recruiters based on the candidate’s experience in recruiting, as well as their managers’ satisfaction? If recruiters were rewarded for their efforts and held accountable for their actions, it would drive the growth of other key performance indicators.

For example, candidates who never hear back about a job are not going to think very highly of the company. In fact, the chief complaint among candidates is not knowing if the job they applied for had been filled or not, and only 39 percent of the candidates surveyed in the above report acknowledged being notified by a personal email or phone call from the employer after the interview. Job seekers want to know if their applications are rejected, in line, or won’t be processed at all. If the time-to-hire is 60 days, in a slow, drawn-out process both candidates and recruiters suffer the consequences.

Both of these issues can be remedied by rewarding recruiters. If a system of incentives based on candidate experience is implemented, recruiters can finally understand in detail how their individual actions affect how the candidate feels about the recruitment process. They will be given feedback based on candidate and manager surveys, which will help them improve and provide a better experience moving forward.

With candidate satisfaction at such a high priority, there needs to be a system in place that can manipulate this metric directly. If recruiters only care about filling positions, they’ll have much less reason to worry about candidate and manager satisfaction than if they were held accountable for the details of how smoothly the recruitment process goes.

By using an internal rewards program to incentivize recruiters (based on how satisfied their candidates and managers are), candidate satisfaction will increase organically. A system like this gives recruiters a ladder of values to climb, and opportunities for personal growth that match the effect that they have on their candidates and managers.

Some of the Related Conference Sessions at the ERE Recruiting Conference in San Diego:

  • Retaining Your Top Gun Recruiters: Identify, Recognize, and Reward, Thursday, April 24, 11:15 a.m.
  • Think Like a Marketer and Ace Your Recruiting Results, Thursday, April 24, 3:15 p.m.
  • Recruiting Recruiters: Strategies to Find and Develop Great Recruiters, Wednesday, April 23, 2 p.m.
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