Tuesday 26 February 2013

Recruitment and the UK Candidate Experience

Screen Shot 2013-02-25 at 07.53.10.png   I commented yesterday that the key issue occupying peoples' minds in the summary session at CERN on Friday seemed to the candidate experience.

Well today it's the UK Candidate Experience Awards (CandEs).  I can't go unfortunately, though I would have loved to have done so if I could, having attended the first US awards at HR Technology in Las Vegas in 2011, and with my own focus on competitive advantage through the workforce, which easily extends to the potential workforce (i.e. recruitment candidates) too.

Anyway, having talked to Jeremy Tipper (who is behind the UK awards) at CERN on Friday, it's fairly clear that the issues in the UK are similar to those in the US, and still largely revolve around closing the perceived application black hole.

And with CandE applicants receiving an average of 85 applicants for every job opening (US / US centric data)*, and with about 60% of candidates that apply being unqualified, organisations are clearly experiencing a communication challenge.

But it's still not god news that 51% of candidates suggest they don't get an update on their status when they're rejected, and that for the bulk of those who do, they learn this from an anonymous, 'do not reply' email address providing standard template information without any specific, individual feedback.

Now the CandE report does suggest that the 'theoretical' black hole may be closing, at least in award applicants, and there clearly some great examples around, e.g. Colin Minto showed us some very positive Mystery Applicant scores for G4S at CERN on Friday:


Screen Shot 2013-02-26 at 11.31.12.png


However, I'd suggest that in general, we've still got a long way to go.

And there are a whole range of rather dubious or at least one-sided practices going on, for example with 73% of employers asking general screening questions to identify non-qualified job seekers but only 22% exiting the job seeker at that point vs allowing them to waste their time completing the rest of the application and rejecting them at the end.

So it's a shame that there were only 18 entries for the awards in the UK.  Jeremy puts this down to the extent of RPO deals in the UK, with recruitment vendors doing a lot of candidate surveying already.  I worry it's more that candidate experience still gets less attention over here.

And whilst recruitment processes could obviously do with some improvement, especially from the candidate perspective, it's providing more clarity about the organisation, it's role and what it's after that' still the most important requirement for me.  We just need to do a much better job at helping potential candidates self-select whether it's worth applying for a job in a particular organisation at all.


* Similarly, GradWeb's findings being presented at the 2013 Graduate Recruitment and Development Forum today suggest a graduate application to hire ratio in the UK of 77:1.  Seriously shocking and another signal that we all need to do something about the recruitment experience we provide.

I also like and agree with this comment from Bill Boorman, one of the judges of the UK CandEs:

"A headline in a newspaper today announced that over 1,700 people applied for 8 jobs at a branch of Costa Coffee in Nottingham. How can those applicants have any kind of experience, except a bad one. These are for jobs just above minimum wage. Surely there was a better way of attracting applicants, (like asking for referrals), than posting ads and getting flooded. Companies need to be doing more than talking about candidate experience. All of these applicants in Nottingham could well be local and customers of Costa. Don’t treat them well and they will be looking for their nearest Starbucks, and that would prove very costly."


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