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HR Candidate Search

Candidate Experience: Why It’s Worth the Worry

September 27, 2019

Q & A with Talent Board President, Kevin Grossman

Candidate experience is always a hot topic across hiring teams. We’re constantly hearing things like, “Does candidate experience matter?” or “Why should we care?” We hear excuses such as, “We’re too busy to follow up,” and “We don’t have the staff to reply to every candidate after an interview.” But the truth is, finding top talent is tough, and one bad Glassdoor or Facebook review could scare away your next great employee. It’s always worth the worry (and the time) to ensure you are creating a positive candidate experience. Even if a candidate is not the right fit today, they may be a future fit, or she might direct you to the right person now, or they might be a perfect fit at your next career stop, and you’ll want to reach back out. The old adage, “Don’t burn your bridges,” certainly holds true in the world of recruiting and candidate experience.

We sat down with candidate experience expert, Kevin Grossman, to get his opinion on how we can improve our candidate experience, making their time spent with your company a positive encounter, whether or not they get the job. Kevin has spent the last four years of his career helping employers understand the business impact of their candidate experience. He is the President of Talent Board, a global non-profit dedicated to the elevation and promotion of quality candidate experience and the governing body of the Candidate Experience Awards (The CandEs).

@IQTalent Partners sat down with #CandidateExperience expert, @KevinWGrossman to shed light on why it’s more important than ever. Take a look:Click to Tweet

Q&A with Kevin Grossman

IQTP: Let’s start at the very beginning. Why care about candidate experience? It seems companies might care more about candidate experience in a thriving economy with low unemployment, like the one we are in now, but why should this be a top concern, even when it’s relatively easy to hire top talent?

Grossman: Candidate experience is one of the most important components to building an employer brand. Every year, we see candidates who choose not to ever do anything else again with an employer — apply again, refer others, make purchases and/or influence them for consumer-based companies — absolutely nothing. In any market, that sort of negative experience that leads to negative influence can potentially impact referrals and direct revenue. It's never easy to hire top talent if the reputation of a candidate’s experience at a particular company is poor.

IQTP: When considering negative reviews, how do you differentiate between a candidate who had a genuinely bad experience and one who is disgruntled because he/she did not get the position?

Grossman: While many candidates do rant about not moving forward in the recruitment process, Talent Board Candidate Experience Benchmark Researchreveals year after year that for most candidates, the bare minimum in consistent communication includes acknowledgment and closure. Meaning, acknowledge that I'm interested in the brand, company, and job, and give me definitive closure when you're no longer going to pursue me. Further, when companies better set the expectations for the interview experience, for example, asking the job candidates for feedback and even providing job fit/qualification feedback to final stage candidates, we see a higher level of perceived fairness and higher positive candidate ratings, even from the majority of candidates who are rejected regularly.

IQTP: Based on your research, what are the top three candidate complaints?


  1.       Never hearing back after they apply.
  2.       The candidates felt their time was disrespected during interviews and appointments.
  3.       The entire process taking way too long.

IQTP:What advice can you give candidates in the interview and recruiting process that they can do themselves to make the process more enjoyable and less filled with angst?

Grossman: Look for employers who are fairly transparent, are willing to answer questions before and after you apply, are willing to ask you feedback questions about the experience and are clear about expectations and next steps once interest has been conveyed. Regardless of a boom or bust economy, employers still hold all the cards, but that doesn't mean you have to settle for little to no communication.

IQTP: So, who’s a good role model? In your experience and opinion, which companies across corporate America have a history of quality candidate experience?

Grossman: Businesses big and small across industries who win our CandE Awards each year! No one company can do it right all the time; it's always a work in progress. But the companies that invest in consistent communication and feedback loops usually impact the candidate experience for the better.

The 2019 North American Candidate Experience (CandE) Symposium and Awards Gala, will take place on Monday, October 14, 2019, at the Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, in conjunction with ERE Recruiting Conference, October 14-16, 2019.

TalentBoard 2019 North American Cande Symposium & Awards Gala graphic

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