New Research on Exceptional Candidate Experiences

Experiences define and shape our economy. Consumers are more likely to make additional purchases, refer friends, and remain loyal to a brand when they have an exceptional experience — while a negative experience can wreak havoc on a brand. 

According to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs study, a dissatisfied customer will tell nine to 15 people about their poor experience, and approximately 13% of your dissatisfied customers will tell more than 20 people. 

Companies realize the impact that a positive or negative experience can have on their brand and business success. Consequently, they have invested in dedicated roles, resources, and technology to help improve customer experiences. 

But they don’t typically give this level of attention to the candidate experience. According to recent studies by Aptitude Research and Talent Board:

  • 58% of applicants who are screened out never receive a response (Aptitude Research)
  • 1 in 3 recruiters are feeling more burned out this year than ever before (Aptitude Research)
  • 61% of job applicants had not heard back from the employers after applying two months prior (2020 Talent Board Candidate Experience Benchmark Research)

Although the talent acquisition experience has improved over the past few years, it still creates frustration and inefficiencies for both candidates and employers. And while 68% of companies are committed to improving these experiences in 2021, they often fall short. 

So what exactly is an exceptional experience in talent acquisition? How can companies create experiences that feel meaningful and personal for candidates through every stage of their journey? Below are some of the key findings or Aptitude Research and Talent Board’s research:

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Companies Should Start With the Employer Experience

Candidates will not have a positive experience if recruiters are unhappy and disengaged. If hiring teams are overworked and overwhelmed, the candidate experience will be negatively impacted. Today’s recruiting and hiring teams are facing an experience crisis and remote work has created additional stress. Indeed, recruiters spend up to 16 hours per week scheduling calls and 10 hours looking for candidates in their ATS. Additionally, 32% of recruiters surveyed are looking for other career opportunities. Companies that want to improve their external experiences need to look internally first. 

Communication Is the Biggest Missed Opportunity 

Candidates want to understand their progress and know where they stand. Therefore, companies need to better communicate with candidates earlier in the process when they are first researching the organization. Thy should also provide a process indicator during the application process, as well as communicate next steps post-application. Currently, 58% of candidates do not receive any response.

Exceptional Experiences Directly Impact the Bottom Line

A poor candidate experience impacts business performance, including brand and customer retention. Organizations that have improved talent acquisition experiences over the past year have seen improvements to NPS scores, customer retention, and employer brand. Companies that provide a more engaging and human experience see a direct impact on business performance, including a two times improvement on NPS scores.

Companies Are Increasing Their Investment in Automation

Automation can help improve experiences for both employers and candidates. While not new to recruiting, automated processes continued to increase this year to support leaner recruiting teams and more applications, especially with machine learning and other smart technologies. The reality is that most candidates who are interested in a job will research and apply, but never move forward. Most will have little to no human interaction and will be dispositioned automatically. Automation can help provide a fair and equitable experience, and allow companies to provide consistent communications to every candidate.

Madeline Laurano is the founder of Aptitude Research. Her primary focus over the last 12+ years has been on the talent management market, specializing in talent acquisition. Her work helps companies both validate and reevaluate their strategies and understand the role technology can play in driving business outcomes. 

Prior, Madeline held research roles at Aberdeen, Bersin by Deloitte, ERE Media, and Brandon Hall Group. She is co-author of Best Practices in Leading a Global Workforce and has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, Yahoo News, and The Financial Times. She is a frequent presenter at industry conferences including the HR Technology Conference and Exposition, SHRM, IHRIM, HCI’s Strategic Talent Acquisition conference, GDS International’s HCM Summit, and HRO Today.

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