By Leigh Carpenter, UK & Ireland Programme Director, Talent Board
The results of the 2013 UK Candidate Experience (CandE) Awards and benchmarking programme 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.
There is still some room for improvement in certain areas, however. The thousands of candidates in the UK and North America who participated in last year’s survey give testament to the numerous ways in which employers worked to enhance the candidate experience.
The 2014 North American programme has recently closed with over 95,000 candidate responses, and the 2014 UK programme is still open with more than 15,000 candidate survey responses expected. The number of candidate responses highlights the fact that job seekers want to share their recruitment experiences; the CandE Awards provides an opportunity for them to do so. The results of the 2014 programmes will be available early 2015.
One of the biggest trends seen last year in the UK revolves around the use of technology in the talent acquisition process; 76% of companies who participated in the UK utilise a basic applicant tracking system (ATS) and some plan to do so in the near future. Assessment and background verification solutions are the next most used technologies, including 72% of UK participating companies who regularly use background and drug screening solutions.
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, as well as 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 organisations are doing to improve the candidate experience is placing greater focus on the disposition stage: the point in which candidates are informed that they are no longer being considered.
Although the average number of applicants per job had increased from 100 in 2012 to over 200 in 2013, more companies are making the effort to improve the way they inform the 199+ candidates that didn’t get the job – essential for fostering good will with those candidates who may also be customers.
The findings also highlight the relationships between candidates and companies both before and after the individual applies; 48% of candidates reported having some relationship and predisposition toward the company at the onset. Therefore, a positive association with the company is the employer’s to lose.
While 29% of candidates say they didn’t receive any feedback following their application, there is still a need for employers to focus on their feedback channels 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 and beyond. Companies interested in participating in the 2014 programme can do so here.
HireRight is delighted to return as a gold sponsor of the 2014 Candidate Experience Awards, having supported the awards since their inception in 2011.
“With employers competing for talent, the candidate experience has become paramount in the hiring process,” said Rachel Trindade, vice president, marketing at HireRight. “This is particularly true for background screening, a step that generally occurs behind the scenes and can be daunting to candidates. HireRight has worked hard to de-mystify and enhance the candidate experience during the screening process with a number of applicant-facing solutions. We are proud to support the CandE Awards program to recognize organisations that are making the candidate experience a strategic part of their talent management process.”