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Candidate Resentment Is Increasing: A Major Warning Sign for Employers

Last week I had a great conversation with Kevin Grossman, the President and Board Member of Talent Board (a non-profit organization focused on the elevation and promotion of a quality candidate experience).

Our conversation was one part education (introduction to their candidate experience research) and another part marketing (we discussed how I could help them promote their Candidate Experience Workshop on March 31 at the nThrive offices in Alpharetta, GA).

In the Talent Board 2019 North American Candidate Experience report that Kevin shared with me after our meeting, there was a key finding there was startling.

The finding from the Talent Board survey was:

There has been a 40% increase in candidate resentment since 2016.

The Talent Board research showed that, despite a robust job market where the war for talent is fierce, more and more candidates find that their candidate experience is lousy.

We know all of the reasons – poor communication, canned messaging, ghosting, and hiring manager indifference, to name a few. What surprised me is that all of the talent acquisition and employer branding initiatives have not improved the candidate experience.

As my daughter would say, why is this still a thing?

  • Job postings are still incomplete and do not say what it will take to be considered a candidate for hire.
  • There is a mistaken belief that technology will somehow save the day. G2 Crowd currently rates fifty-seven different candidate relationship management software. This influx of tech has not helped in the aggregate, although there are companies that are making significant gains).
  • Applicant tracking software is still, for the most part, awful. They are time-consuming, unfriendly black holes where resumes and hopes seem to die.
  • Phantom job postings (where no real job exists, or the position is already filled) still exist.

The Talent Board 2019 Survey did provide hope that the candidate experience can improve. The 2019 Survey showcased best-in-class case studies on what companies are doing right.

What can be done to improve the experience of people applying to your company?

Personalize the experience as much as possible. Rather than allow technology to do the work, connect with candidates via video, phone, or text to let them know the status and what to expect. I realize that this can be a heavy lift for high-volume recruiters, but applying the personal touch goes a long way.

Feedback is essential to make the experience favorable. According to the Talent Board:

When feedback was both asked for and offered throughout the attract-recruit-hire process, it overwhelmingly increased the average candidate’s positive impression of the given organization. Offering individualized feedback demonstrates a company’s ability to treat candidates as people, not simply as an application to discard. Similarly, asking candidates to rate their experiences shows a commitment to all candidates, whether they make it to the hiring stage or not.

This also supports internal research, which is a critical step for any organization seeking to increase its positive candidate experiences.

When candidates receive honest feedback detailing why they aren’t a good match for the organization, rejection resentment is drastically minimized. When employers give rejected candidates general and specific feedback on qualifications and job fit, resentment rate decreases by 29%.

When rejected candidates get specific job-related feedback at the screening or interview phase, their overall “great experience” increases over 20%.

When given feedback, a candidate’s willingness to increase their relationship with the employer goes up 20%.

In summary, managing the candidate experience is challenging. You will be saying no far more than yes. To control your employer branding and candidate journey requires empathy, personalizing communication as much as possible, and giving feedback throughout the process.

If you would like to learn more about how to improve the candidate experience, please click the link to register for a free workshop that nThrive (Christy Spilka – VP of Talent Acquisition will be the sponsor) and Talent Board are hosting on March 31st at the nThrive headquarters in Alpharetta, GA.

The workshop will be a great forum where talent acquisition and employer branding HR practitioners can share peer to peer insights on how they make their recruiting process work.