Why Your Bottom Line Can Benefit from a Better Candidate Experience

By Dr. Haiyan Zhang

Today's fast-paced global economy requires an equally nimble ability to compete for – and win – top talent. However, this need for speed, often coupled with high volumes of applicants and open job reqs, means that it's easy for the candidate experience to fall by the wayside. According to the 2017 North American Talent Board Candidate Experience Benchmark Research Report, 52 percent of candidates don’t receive any communication in the two to three (or more) months after applying. And if they make it into the interview process, most candidates are never asked for feedback about the process itself. In a hyper-connected world, the success of your business is inextricably linked to the way candidates experience your organization – and when your candidates are also your customers, every interaction matters. Here's why your brand and your bottom line can benefit from a renewed focus on the candidate experience.

News about the candidate experience spreads fast

A recent IBM Smarter Workforce Institute study reveals that over 60 percent of candidates talk about their experiences with friends and family. With the explosion of mobile technology and social media, feedback – both good and bad – spreads faster than ever. This feedback impacts your reputation as a hiring organization, your ability to attract other candidates in the future, and your ability to retain candidates as customers or fans of your company.

Candidate experience impacts revenue

Speaking of customers, our research shows that candidates who have a positive experience with your organization are twice as likely to want to become a customer compared to those who have a poor candidate experience. Consider whether your candidate experience is representative of your brand. What if one of your best prospects applied for a job? Ultimately, your candidate experience should help paint a positive picture of your values and differentiators.

Better candidate experiences are linked to higher Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Regardless of whether the interaction ends in a job offer, our research reveals that applicants who are satisfied with their candidate experience are more than twice as likely to recommend your organization to others, compared to those who are not satisfied. Keep in mind that companies like Dropbox and Airbnb have built billion-dollar businesses off the power of referrals – and that trend has permeated into the way candidates discover job openings. The Talent Board research report cites that the perceived value of candidate and employee referrals has more than doubled since 2014 (from 17 percent to 36 percent), while career sites, though still considered a valuable research channel by candidates, have declined in perceived value (from 65 percent to 58 percent). This shows that candidates want a clear understanding of company culture and insight into the employee experience, so consider how to capitalize on this potential in your recruiting strategy.

Happier candidates are more likely to accept

According to the Smarter Workforce Institute study, candidates who are satisfied with their experience are 38 percent more likely to accept a job offer. Since hiring is a time-consuming and expensive process, it makes good business sense to invest in experiences that will boost your offer acceptance rates. If your organization has aggressive growth goals, talent strategy should play a critical role in achieving success. Get ahead of the curve by prioritizing your candidate experience.

Learn more about the far-reaching impact of candidate experience and see how IBM Watson Candidate Assistant can help transform the way candidates engage with your brand.