June CandE Pulse Results: Disheartening TA Experiences

New stats on candidate experience paint a disappointing picture.

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Jul 19, 2023

Every week of late I have more talent acquisition professionals reach out to me and tell me two things:

  1. They’re looking for work
  2. Their candidate experience has been horrendous

Both are disheartening. It’s rough out there right now. Even with U.S. employers adding 209,000 jobs in June and the unemployment rate inching down in June to 3.6 percent from 3.7.

Employers did continue to add jobs in health care, business services, and construction, but according to our latest June CandE Pulse Survey, recruiting teams haven’t budged much, and in fact have only gotten leaner. Inflation has cooled but persists, and the Fed is expected to raise interest rates yet again.

The part about TA pros candidate experience being horrendous is especially a tough one for us. We’ve been conducting benchmark research on candidate experience for 12 years now, and candidate resentment as we measure it is stubbornly high at 12%-13% in North America and climbing in EMEA, APAC, and Latin America. This is the percentage of job candidates who said they would sever their relationship with an employer because of a poor candidate experience.

Candidates that are extremely likely to refer others is also down again from May, from 28% to 26%. And now over 36% of the candidates so far this year tell us that they haven’t heard back from an employer 1-2+ months after applying, which is slightly higher than 2022.

While there are many companies working hard to improve the recruiting and hiring experience for all candidates, there are still way too many that are not, and it’s been painfully eye-opening for those TA pros looking for work.

In our latest CandE Community Pulse results for June, hiring continues to be stable and reflects the bigger jobs reports the past few months. We had over 100 responses from companies big and small across industries (over 35% this time were 2,500-100,000+ in employee size, 67% were 500-100,000+, and the most represented industries were healthcare, education, technology, energy & utilities, and finance & insurance).

When we asked employers what their current hiring status was, 79% said “we’re hiring,” up slightly from the past three months (see Figure 1). The other indicators of freezing hiring and redeploying were nearly the same for the past three months, while laying off was significantly down. This could mean that any reductions have plateaued for now, but we’ll have to see what the coming months show us.

All hiring types were down from May, except for entry level, which could be an indication of continuing intern hiring (see Table 1). We also asked employers whether they’ve increased or decreased the size of their recruiting team this month, and again there’s been no significant change, positive or negative, for the past five months, except for “no change” increasing (see Figure 2), which again could mean organizations have stabilized for now. Teams that were increasing in size actually decreased by 33% according to the June data. Unfortunately, there are still many recruiters out of work disproportionately to the strong hiring still happening across industries. We do hope the layoff hit to recruiting teams continues to stabilize and those who have been laid off are finding jobs.

And while the job requisition load of up to 30 reqs each per recruiter has remained the same the past two months, about 70%, those carrying up to 50 reqs each (87% of all the responses) was up slightly from May. Of course, we understand that req loads always vary by job type, industry, and employer size, and the fact that recruiting teams are leaner these days, but it can be a good sign of hiring resiliency depending on the size of the recruiting team and volume of jobs.

As we’ve done over the past few months, we again highlight how employers rated their own recruiting and candidate experience. When we compare the June CandE Pulse results to May, those companies that felt like they were leading in their recruiting and hiring practices and their candidate experience was up slightly again, but it was still above the CandE 2022 Benchmark Research (see Figure 3).

Those who said they were competing was down 9%, but more concerning were those who said they were lagging, which was up 67% from May. And it’s that lagging experience that laid off recruiters looking for work have experienced I keep hearing about.

Also, according to our June monthly CandE Pulse results, candidate experience again was the #1 recruiting and hiring initiative for those employers that responded and has been at #1 for four of the past seven months. Employee referrals jumped up to #2, employer branding to #3, and screening and interviewing dropped to #4. Surprisingly in June, diversity and inclusion dropped out of the top 5 for the first time in over six months. We’ll have to monitor this over the next few months to see if it’s a continuing trend.

No matter what, recruiting budgets are tighter than ever. Leveraging new technologies to meet key recruiting and hiring priorities has been a lower priority in the past few months, although it’s up again in June, but improving processes and optimizing current tech stacks with current staffing remains the status quo in our CandE Pulse surveying.

We also like seeing for the past six months that candidate and employee survey feedback has helped inform employers where recruiting, hiring, and retention improvements need to be made. And for the first time in six months, hiring more staff made it into the top 5 “how we’re going to get the work done.” We’ll see if that plays out in the months to come.

While the employers that respond to our CandE Pulse survey each month vary, recruiting and hiring while sustaining a quality candidate experience continues to be a work in progress for many. We’ll keep sharing these key Pulse indicators with everyone each month, while all the monthly insights will be shared within our CandE Community. This is another benefit of participating in our benchmark research and you can learn more about all the benefits here.

Until the next monthly CandE Pulse results update, be safe and well. For any TA professionals looking for work, please let us know if there’s anyone you want to connect with in our CandE community. We’re happy to help.

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