This coming September marks the ten-year anniversary of the financial collapse which led to the 19-month Great Recession. The unemployment rate climbed to an all-time high of 10 percent a year later in October 2009. What did this lead to when it came to candidate experience? Overwhelmed HR and recruitment teams were being bombarded with thousands of applications for very few job openings.
Not only were they flooded with resumes, but many candidates were overqualified for the roles open, willing to do practically anything to re-enter the job force following the loss of their jobs.
At the time, candidate experience was not at the top of the priority list. There were simply too many applicants and not enough roles. But, how much has changed since the introduction of technology and a significantly lower unemployment rate?
Perhaps it hasn’t changed as much as you think. While the Talent Board’s latest Candidate Experience report found that 98 percent of companies surveyed felt that they were improving and even leading in new talent acquisition, many employers only asked applicants that actually got the job.
What Candidates Think
There are two key areas where job seekers would disagree with the above 98 percent and where employers have a tremendous opportunity in front of them.
Long Response Time
Job search platform Indeed.com issued you a report in mid-2017 that tracked application response time. The company found that on average, only 4 percent of candidates hear back within a day. Less than half (44 percent) hear back within a couple of weeks. Unfortunately, most never hear back at all.
Think of your candidate experience like a first date. You’ve met someone online or at a coffee shop and are interested in getting to know them better. Finally, you’ve decided to take the plunge and go out for dinner. You spend the day getting ready, give yourself a pep talk, put your best foot forward and make a great first impression. And then…nothing. The person doesn’t even show up. Never answers your call and your texts have been ‘seen-zoned.’
How do you feel? Not great.
That’s how you’re making a job seeker feel when you don’t give them the courtesy of replying back to their application.
The good news is, companies are getting better at this - either through automated responses that are triggered by HR teams giving a candidate the thumbs up or down or by being clear with candidates on when to expect a response. A great example of a company getting this right is BCU, a fast-growing credit union on a mission to help individuals find financial freedom. The team vows to respond and be in communication with every candidate, even if they are not a fit.
Preventing Drop Off
Drop out is natural during the job search process - candidates find other jobs, they decide to stay where they are, etc.
In fact, Monster.com found that candidate drop off can be anywhere from 60 to 90 percent depending on the process. But, what’s interesting is the reasons for candidates dropping out. The biggest reasons for candidates to drop off is because they felt their time was being disrespected during the interview and 46 percent felt that the process took too long.
By setting clear expectations on what to expect throughout the process - from response time to interview format - candidates feel a lot more comfortable and more prepared.
When Technology Is Applied Poorly
In 2014, every industry started talking about big data and how it could be applied to save money, speed up processes and drive innovation. Articles from media outlets like Forbes, WIRED and Entrepreneur started talking about what a game changer big data was.
It was such a popular topic that even Deloitte published a study on companies using big data for recruitment.
But, applying this made the candidate experience feel impersonal. Those same outlets were all of a sudden writing stories about ways to trick big data to get your resume through algorithms.
This resulted in companies getting smarter and understanding that the people behind the technology were important and that it needed to be applied in a personal way.
Making Your Technology Human
Personalization and automation are no longer at a crossroads with each other. Both can be applied to allow you to improve your candidate experience, overcome the above bottlenecks and attract top talent. And, it’s only going to get better. New tools and features to help you are being built every day (we already have a few in the works!).
But all the technology in the world cannot replace the importance of thinking strategically and from the candidates’ point of view.
Look at the process you have currently. Where might candidates get that first date let-down feeling? Or where do you find candidates dropping out the most? If you don’t know, why not ask the candidate for feedback? Don’t rely on the talent that came onboard. By surveying everyone, you may uncover a bottleneck you didn’t even know existed.
If you’re still not convinced, consider this: a bad candidate experience could be costing you more than you know. Virgin Media in the UK recently found that they were losing approximately $5 million due to a bad interview experience. This was all prompted by a woman who wrote to the head of resourcing after an interview didn’t meet her expectations and she was cancelling her subscription to go to a competitor.
Not only could a poor experience mean you’re losing out on great talent, but it’s also losing you customers. With the technology available, isn’t it time to really lead when it comes to talent acquisition?