Candidate Experience 2013: The Good, the Bad and the Better

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candidate experience

By Elaine Orler
Chairman and Co-Founder, Talent Board

The results of the 2013 Candidate Experience Awards and benchmarking program are in and show that employers of all sizes and across all industries have made great strides in delivering a positive, rewarding and insightful experience to their job seekers.

And though there is still some room for improvement in certain areas, the 46,000 candidates who participated in this year’s survey give testament to the numerous ways in which employers worked to enhance the candidate experience in 2013.

One of the biggest trends seen this year revolves around the use of technology in the talent acquisition process. But it’s not just the fact that almost all of the 122 companies participating in the 2013 CandE Awards utilize a basic applicant tracking system (ATS) and background verifications.

Most promising is the larger number of companies that have adopted – or plan to do so in the near future – additional technologies that enhance the candidate experience. These include mobile capabilities that enable candidates to apply from their favorite devices, candidate relationship management (CRM) systems to build robust talent communities and video interfaces for each stage of the talent acquisition process.

The findings also highlight the relationships between candidates and companies both before and after the individual applies. As a majority of candidates reported having some relationship and predisposition toward the company at the onset, a positive association with the company is the employer’s to lose.

While a good candidate experience can nurture the individual’s relationship with the company, a negative experience can be very damaging. Whether a previous relationship exists or not, a negative candidate experience can drive away great talent, qualified referrals and potential customers. As a majority of candidates are likely to share their experiences, both negative and positive, it is crucial that employers get the candidate experience right.

One of the most exciting things organizations are doing to improve the candidate experience is placing greater focus on the disposition stage, when candidates are informed that they are no longer being considered.

Although the average number of applicants per job had increased from 100 in 2011 to 200 in 2013, more companies are making the effort to improve the way they inform the 199 candidates that didn’t get the job.


Source: Candidate Experience 2013

Overall, 32.8 percent of companies indicated that recruiter communication is required, albeit with a standard script, while 17.2 require that the recruiter give details and supporting reasons for why the candidate wasn’t hired.

While 18.6 percent of companies still don’t give any feedback, there is a growing number that are working to meet candidate expectations for status communication.

As hiring continues to become more competitive, a positive candidate experience is essential to a company’s ability to attract top talent. It is also crucial in spurring qualified candidates who weren’t selected to continue to apply – and convince their peers to do so as well. It is very encouraging to see how companies have elevated their candidate experience throughout 2013, and we hope this trend will continue in 2014.

Want to learn more? The results of the 2013 Candidate Experience Awards were discussed in depth during a recent HireRight webinar.

Candidate Experience 2013
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HireRight is a leading provider of on-demand employment background checks, drug and health screening, and electronic Form I-9 and E-Verify solutions that help employers automate, manage and control background screening and related programs.

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