Measuring Candidate Experience

Candidate Experience is a term being used quite a bit in talent acquisition and recruiting teams, but what exactly is a “candidate experience”?

What is Candidate Experience?
Candidate experience is the sum of interactions that an individual has with a company, or the company brand, where they might seek employment. These experiences might come from word of mouth referrals, search results from a job board, a couple of visits to the companies career site, good or bad mentions in social media, or from disgruntled candidates who applied and never received a response. Any one of these interactions could be positive or negative for a company, but most companies don’t know what candidates think of them. In many cases, employers don’t have a way to measure or survey their candidates or applicants.

So Why does Candidate Experience matter, and why now?
Candidate experience matters because candidates have more employment options than ever before. With job aggregators and Google For Jobs posting nearly every job online, it’s common that online job boards are going to show not just your companies jobs, but your nearest competitors. I’d argue that prior to job aggregators and “All Jobs Everywhere”, candidate experience wasn’t as important, because there were fewer employment choices during the “Hidden Job Market” days. With more job options, candidates can look beyond just pay. They want to know more about hours, shifts, flexibility, PTO, company culture and of course working with companies they are attracted to, or align with.

Candidates now have multiple ways to share their experience working at a company, or how they were treated during an interview. They have access to insider employee ratings through sites like Glassdoor, with CEO scores and employer benefits ratings.

To Understand your Candidate Experience, you have to understand your Recruiting Funnels.

Recruiting Funnels are the processes, or steps, or interactions, that occur between a potential employee and anyone that might influence a potential employee; including, the company’s brand reputation, career site, job descriptions, job application process, employer branding, interview scheduling, offer process, rejection process, and possibly onboarding.

While each department in your business might have it’s own recruiting process, there are often a lot of similarities. In smaller companies, the recruiting process is often left up to someone in human resources, a recruiter, or a hiring manager. In recruiting, many of the steps are manual, creating no consistency, and therefore producing inconsistent results. With inconsistent processes and no way to measure a candidates opinion, it’s impossible to know what’s working and what’s not.

In bigger companies, there’s often a handful of existing software solutions that don’t talk to each other, but are required for recruiting and HR compliance. Are these technical issues causing candidates to drop out of the recruiting process? Is the process, from finding a job to applying, and hearing back from a recruiter, taking too long?

The typical Recruiting Funnel might start at job posting on a job board, with interested candidates then applying on the employer’s website.

When was the last time you searched for your own companies jobs on Indeed or Google for Jobs, and tried to apply with the mindset of a candidate who has never seen your company before?

Whether you’re marketing on job boards like Indeed, or putting ads in a porta-potty, it’s important to understand every aspect of the candidate journey. How many clicks does it take to apply? How long does it take? Is the process easy to complete on a mobile phone?

From the initial first interactions to the completed application, the scheduling of an interview, to the uncomfortable rejection email”, what was the experience like for the candidate?

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.”
– Peter Drucker
If your Candidate experience isn’t up to par, what do you do?
If you think your candidate experience needs work, and that’s probably everyone, the first thing you have to do is document the process and the weaknesses, or problems. One way to measure how your candidates feel about the process is to survey them with a candidate experience survey.

If you want to improve something and get senior management to support your plan, you need to speak their language. In many cases, that means data and numbers. You’ll need to define the problem in measurable terms. You’ll need to measure the cost of fixing the problem and the return on investment. Creating an ROI for recruiting and fixing the candidate experience isn’t always going to be plain and simple, but there are ways. If you’re going to sell your idea to a VP of HR, or CFO, they want to see how you plan on tracking the results of the investment.

Consider alternative, or “out-of-the-box” solutions, that can make it easier for candidates to apply, while integrating to your existing tech stack. Consider adding a text to apply recruiting chatbot, that can pre-screen candidates. Look at your recruiting funnels for areas where you can introduce recruiting automation solutions, to remove manual tasks, or speed the hiring process.

The Economic Cost of a Bad Candidate Experience
A couple years back the Director of TA at Virgin Media in the UK, released one of the first P&L affects of poor candidate experience on the overall companies bottom line. The negative impact of Virgin Media’s poor candidate experience was costing the company more money than the entire recruiting annual budget. After some exhaustive financial analysis, they could prove to the CEO and CFO that a bad candidate experience was actually costing the company money because those poorly treated applicants/customers were canceling their cable subscriptions.

Like most things, it does take time for companies to understand the problem, adopt solutions and then create and manage solutions to institutionalize change to the new normal.

Benchmark your Candidate Experience against the Best.
The CandE awards started out of the passion of some of our industries’ most thoughtful leaders, like @GerryCrispin, @ElaineOrler, and @KevinGrossman with the intention of measuring and understanding companies who were tackling the problem head on, and then making those best practices available for other TA teams to learn from and replicate.

Some of the tools used to measure candidate experience, include Survale, a survey tool, that helps survey candidates about their experience with the company and the recruiting process. While many recruiting teams know about Glassdoor ratings, it’s also important to note that there are lots of employee review sites, and companies like Ratedly, founded by long-time industry insider Joel Cheesman, (also a co-host of one of the best HR and Talent acquisition podcasts (Chad&Cheese) aggregate employer reviews from multiple sites, making it easier to track and manage.

No matter what tools you use, it is possible to document and measure your candidate experience. Only then, can you start making measurable improvements.

This blog post was originally posted on GoHire – Measuring Candidate Experience.

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LinkedIn Groups – great for engagement, bad for advertisers and spammers.

LinkedIn groups are a great place for engagement, professional networking, and education. They’re also one of the most valuable tools for sales and marketing professionals.

LinkedIn groups are great for finding highly qualified prospects.
Prospects who have self-selected their professional interests, job titles, levels of expertise, and possibly even geographic region, etc, by simply being choosing to be a member of a specific professional group on LinkedIn.

Unfortunately, like all great public communities, unless moderated, the community ultimately can be over run by self-interest, and spammers.

About 18 months ago, LinkedIn took a knee-jerk reaction to dealing with spam on LinkedIn Groups. They had to. It was getting out of control, group membership and engagement had flattened.

Similar stories are abound, UUnet newsgroups were rendered useless because of spammers. Google bought the newsgroups, thinking they could solve the problem. After a couple of years of declining membership, they killed them.

Ning tried to solve the problem by going to a paid model, but that didn’t seem to work.

LinkedIn was a little different though.
LinkedIn was able to survive the early spam attacks because each post was connected to a LinkedIn profile, and a LinkedIn profile was connected to a valuable professional network. So there was an inherent negative consequence to spamming. Spam the community, get your profile removed… loose your professional network.

Spammers and fake profiles could be analyzed much easier, through a series of queries and actions taken on LinkedIn. No profile summary, no current job title, no recommendations, no picutre, but 100 postings in newsgroups… Algorithmic Red Flag.

d a lot longer because a user needed a professional profile, andLinkedIn had to come up with a way of eliminating spam, from “off-topic”, or straight advertisements in discussion groups.

Looks like over time, a number of group owners have put your account into “Auto Moderate”. Once you hit a treshold, of enough group moderators doing this, you’re posts are automatically banned from all groups. No warning. No way to fix it. No way to see who banned you. While the exact process has never been fully understood, SWAM, was a knee-jerk reaction from the Group Security team to ban posting from all groups, when enough group owners complained. Admittedly, even LinkedIn knows it was not launched as well as it could have been. They are in the middle of trying to fix it, but don’t expect anything soon. Consider it a learning curve.

If you want to post to groups, follow these rules:
1. Follow the posting guidelines from the specific group. If you don’t you’ll get banned from that group. If you do it in a enough groups, you profile will automatically be banned from all groups. (ie. above).
2. Never post unless you are going to create and encourage engagement. Creating engagement isn’t easy, and take time, so there are no short-cuts.
3. Never cross post to multiple groups, unless you follow rule #1 and Rule #2. Posting without engagement is like coming over to My house, during My party, standing on a soap box, with a megaphone and yelling your companies name. Then, immediately getting up and walking out the back door. The only response you’ll get is a bunch of people thinking you are an annoying idiot and should never be let back into the party.” so you get SWAM banned.

LinkedIn is too good of a sales and marketing and professional tool to screw with.
UUnet went away because of uncontrolled spamming.
LinkedIn did what it had to do to save the groups platform from spammers.
Sure spammers are frustrated, so are others who thought it was OK, because they got away with it for a while.

LinkedIn groups are about ENGAGING with other professionals.
If you don’t want to engage, start buying clicks with LinkedIn Sponsored Updates, Facebook Ads, or Google SEM, because that’s what you’re doing… Advertising, Not Engaging with your market.

Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of really great ways to do direct marketing on LinkedIn, and they are Extremely Effective, but posting links to blog posts in LinkedIn groups, isn’t one of them.

Believe me, I used to “Post and Run” , too…
I knew it was on the edge. .
I knew it was becoming less and less effective. Clicks on the links started dropping off, as more users started doing the same thing. Then, spammers started doing it, and the writing was on the wall.
I knew it could cost me, to continue, so I stopped posting to groups, unless I’m going to engage, respond.

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Infographic – Content Marketing Needs to Convert to Leads

I have a lot of clients who get really excited about the content marketing piece of their online marketing strategy. What’s not to get excited about? Hopefully, you’re passionate about what you are doing!

Content Marketing can work, but just creating content to create content, isn’t the best way to market your product or services. It’s not good for your personal or company brand either… most people would rather get fewer high-value nuggets of great content, versus daily floods of marginally interesting tweets.

Here’s a quick Content Marketing Success Map that I use for deciding what content and topics to publish about:

1. Before you go off writing that masterpiece Ebook, or Video series, take a moment to find out exactly what issues, problems, or questions your ideal prospect is trying to solve. You can do this on LinkedIn, by reviewing the discussions in highly targeted LinkedIn groups (the groups that your ideal prospect is a member of and engaged in). Find the topics that get a lot of comments. Read through the comments. What are the issues? What can you help with? Can you add value to the conversation? If so… then add that topic to your Content Marketing plan.

2. Create a blog post, and if it’s a video, embed it in a blog post. The idea is to provide your content on a site where you can capture leads, most probably through email with programs like or In an SMB or Enterprise, tools like HubSpot, Marketo, Eloqua, and Act-on can help manage the process.

3. In the blog post, acknowledge the pain of the issue. Then, provide a partial solution. (This isn’t about giving away the house, but it’s got to be short and sweet.) Think 90 second video, and 250 words. If you did provide value to your prospects, and they felt more confidence in themselves to take the next step, they’ll willingly subscribe for more info or part II.

4. Now you have them in your Lead Nurturing system… continue delivering small tips that will move your prospect closer to their goals.

A Guide to Marketing Genius:  Content Marketing 

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Ironman Canada 2011 – Hours til the gun.

Tomorrow is the big day… Ironman Canada.

Penticton is a buzz with incredibly fit people.
It’s warm and sunny (80 degrees at 9pm last night).
Apparently, the founder of Ironman Canada chose Penticton, British Columbia because the heat was the closest way of mimicking the conditions of the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii.

I’m a little nervous, but there nothing more I can do. Just relax and take the race one-step-at-a-time… Literally.

Last night we had a pre-race meeting to learn about the course, the aid stations, rules, etc.
There are approximately 3,000 participants, 1,100 of which are Ironman Virgins, like myself.

One of the most memorable tips that I learned was the following: (From the race organizer) (loosely paraphrased)…

‚ÄúYou will go through spouts of depression, pain, and anxiety. It’s natural.
You’ll question your training… your fitness.. your sanity.
One thing is for sure… there are thousands of volunteers, all out there for one purpose… to support you to finish.
When you get depressed, Thank a volunteer. It’s physiologically impossible to be depressed for long, if you are Grateful and Thankful.‚Äù

With that in mind, I want to thank all those how have supported me in the last year. Without all of your support, advice, and encouragement, I never would have been in a position to take on this challenge that has been smoldering around in my brain for that last 15 years.

Some of the memorable quotes from the dinner and meeting were:
From one of the Professional Males – “Everyone will suffer… you’re not alone.”
From Anne (the Australian woman sitting next to me at dinner…. she’s completed 22 Ironman races) – “Take the run step-by-step, minute-by-minute… but just keep moving forward.”
From another Ironman champion… “Take it step-by-step, light pole by light pole, and mile by mile.”
From another Pro – ‚ÄúWhen you feel like you’re in Hell, or going to Hell… just keep going.‚Äù

If you want a little more information about the race, here is a good overview:

To watch my progress (It’s not real time, though):

By bib number is: 1293

Here are some ideas about my progress:
Race start: 7am.
The 2.4 mile Swim will take between 75 to 90 minutes, so I’ll transition (Transition 1) between the swim and bike at approximately : 8:15am ‚Äì 8:30 am.
The 112 mile bike will take between 6 and 7 hours. There will be a couple of timing chip areas that will track my bike progress. I’ll Transition between Bike to Run (T2) somewhere between 2:15pm ‚Äì 3:30pm.
The marathon will take between 4 and ¬? hours to 6+ hours. (The pain is over quicker the faster I go… so I’ll run as far as I can.) That puts me at a finish between 6:15pm (not likely) to 9:30pm. My guess is probably between 8:30-9pm, or so.

My brother-in-law, Jerry, is here with me (Thanks Jerry). He can be reached via my Canada cell phone, if you want updates… (250) 701-9741.

Jonathan Duarte

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