The UK Candidate Experience Awards: The inaugural event
Yesterday afternoon saw the opening of the first Candidate Experience Awards in the UK. Their presence highlights the significant place the candidate experience now holds within UK recruitment strategy and we hope to see its position and importance only increase in the coming years.
The Candidate Experience Awards were set up in 2011 by the Talent Board over in the US, with the first awards taking place in 2012. The awards subsequent white paper revealed their findings, providing insight into both the applicant and recruiter side of the candidate experience. It pinpointed progressions from the past year and highlighted where there is still room for improvement.
As was encouraged in the US, a diverse range of companies competed for recognition in the UK awards – ‘it’s not just the “big players” involved.’ The Award winners were Eaton, Carphone Warehouse, Jones Lang LaSelle, Ca Technology, Empiric, Intel and Utopia, with Avanade, GE Capital and RMS awarded Distinctions. Whilst considering each organisations candidate experience efforts the judges picked out some specific actions that they felt helped to deliver ‘a superior candidate experience’:
“We liked the CERN Job Status Update – a simple way of explaining to a candidate where they are in the process.
Qinetiq have a Candidate Charter, we liked this a lot, simple and informative.
Creating Dialogue, Deloitte have a great Facebook page feature: The Green Room, this is a 24/7 chat room managed by Deloitte staff.”
Alongside showing off each organisation’s accomplishments, the research behind the awards provided some insight into the expectations of UK candidates. Responses revealed that they want:
- To be shown why they should want to join a community.
- A more stream-lined application process.
- To be treated respectfully and have their applications acknowledged.
- Honesty and transparency.
These expectations illustrate the importance of excellent communication throughout a recruitment process; however, of the applicants surveyed, one third still received no response to their applications. Equally, the quality of feedback after application varied substantially with only 17% of applicants receiving phone calls that provided specific feedback, and answered any further questions, from the recruiter/hiring manager. A further 16% stated that they received a phone call, but that it provided only little or general feedback. Finally, 30% received a less helpful standard template email without any specific details.
Although difficulties with communication may exist on some levels of the recruitment process, candidates have no problem sharing their experience with 73% of women and62% of men likely to share it within their inner circle whilst 28% of women and17% of men would spread it over social media. Research has shown that this has a negative impact on a company’s brand reputation and consequently its attraction rate.
While the Awards reveal how the candidate experience has evolved over the past year, the research shows there is still a way to go. This inaugural event has offered companies a foundation from which to build their processes on. It suggests the importance of a multi-channel approach to how recruiters interact with candidates; that candidates value the time invested in each application and expect companies to do the same; that each experience is becoming more personalised; and that in order to successfully implement changes and continue to progress, employers must have structured feedback and measurement in place to track and benchmark that progress.