Rejected Candidate Referrals and the Candidate Experience

Jul 23, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-06-03 at 5.11.44 PMWhat are your RCR ratios?

If you are not familiar with RCR, it stands for Rejected Candidate Referral.  The metrics are simply the ratio of RCRs in your candidate pool against other sources.

I love this metric for two reasons.

First, just because someone doesn’t get the job doesn’t mean they can’t be a source of referrals. Second, it is a bellwether metric for your overall candidate experience. Simply put, candidates who had a great experience, regardless of the result, will be more likely to refer others than those that did not have a good experience.

See, simple. Recruiting is not rocket science. I know there have been volumes written discussing candidate experience. Companies can and do invest significant time, money, and effort in creating highly curated candidate experiences. I can appreciate that work, and I have seen the value in having an experience that sets a company apart. The thing that bothers me is that like so many things we as humans touch, there is a bias towards over-complicating things.

Candidate experience can be summed up in one word: Dignity.

As long as you have a recruiting and hiring process that treats candidates with dignity, you have a world-class candidate experience. Respect their time, answer their questions, and most importantly exit them respectfully.

Aside from over engineering the candidate experience, the other common flaw is to design a candidate experience that favors only the final candidate. For most positions in America today, a vast number of  candidates will apply. I know for my organization and based on our volume that if you apply for one of our openings you have less than a 1 percent likelihood of achieving the outcome you desire. In other words, on average, over 100 candidates are rejected for each of our openings. Therefore we would do ourselves a tremendous disservice by only focusing our experience on the 1 percent; obviously, it would be huge missed opportunity.

I am not going to bore you with a primer on how to build your candidate experience. There are smarter folks out there than me that can do that, and in all honesty you most likely already know what, if anything, you need to do to improve yours. I am going to suggest that if you do not have visibility around your RCR, you truly don’t have your head around your candidate experience.

The key to the success or failure of this strategy is whether or not you ask for the referral. Aside from having a good experience, you and/or your recruiters have to ask the rejected candidates for their referrals. Otherwise the ratio will be zero, and more importantly, you will never be able to articulate the value of your candidate experience. Remember, every candidate who applies is either a current, or potential future, customer/partner/member/advocate etc. of your organization.

Join me at the ERE Expo in September as I demonstrate how Spectrum Health has confronted these issues and transformed to a successful recruiting model based on core skills, metrics, efficiency, and effort alignment.