May CandE Pulse Results: A Place We Recognize and a Place We’ve Never Been

New candidate experience research indicates something remain the same — others not so much.

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Jun 7, 2023

Although hiring was still strong in May, candidate resentment as we measure it in the Talent Board CandE benchmark research is still high at 13% (we’re still collecting data for 2023). This is for North America and is the percentage of job candidates who said they would sever their relationship with an employer because of a poor candidate experience.

Candidates’ willingness to refer is also down 7% from last year at 28%. And 33% of the candidates so far this year tell us that they haven’t heard back from an employer 1-2+ months after applying, about the same as in 2022.

And while experience seems to be taking a hit, hiring is still strong with U.S. employers adding 339,000 jobs, far above expectations, according to the latest report from the Labor Department. Lots of hiring happening in business services, health care and hospitality. The unemployment rate did increase to 3.7%, however. Plus, higher wages and a tight job market keep inflation higher than then Fed would like. And now we’ve got a $1.5 trillion bill for commercial mortgages coming due soon.

It continues to be a place we recognize and a place we’ve never been.

In our latest CandE Community Pulse results for May, 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 (like last month, over 40% this time were 2,500-100,000+ in employee size and the most represented industries this time were technology, education, healthcare, manufacturing, finance & insurance, aerospace & defense, construction, nonprofit, and services).

When we asked employers what their current hiring status was, 76% said “we’re hiring,” which was just above the 75% from April’s CandE Pulse results (see Figure 1). All the other indicators of freezing hiring, laying off, and redeploying were nearly the same for the past three months.

Management hiring was down 20% from April, and the remaining job types were like April with little variation in May (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 four months (see Figure 2). Tech layoffs continue, and we know there are many more recruiters out of work disproportionately to the strong hiring still happening. 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 increased 9% from April, those carrying up to 50 reqs each (91% of all the responses) was the same in April and 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 is a good sign of hiring resiliency.

As we’ve done over the past few months, we again highlight this month how employers rated their own recruiting and candidate experience. When we compare the May CandE Pulse results to April, those companies that felt like they were leading in their recruiting and hiring practices and their candidate experience was down 29%, but it was still above the CandE 2022 Benchmark Research (see Figure 3). The other indicators were consistent with the past three months.

Also, according to our May 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 three of the past six months. Screening and interviewing was still a high priority at #2 and one of the most critical stages of hiring and where candidates get the most human interaction after applying.

Like last month, we would argue this is where the greatest positive and negative candidate experience impacts occur based on our annual CandE Benchmark Research. Not surprising, diversity and inclusion has been in the top three recruiting and hiring initiatives for five of the past six months.

However, 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, 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 five months that candidate and employee survey feedback has helped inform employers where recruiting, hiring, and retention improvements need to be made.

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.

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