Here’s what crystal clear in business today: poor customer service impacts customer retention, referrals and potential new business. Social media has given consumers an open forum to share both good and bad product and service experiences to all who will listen.

How many of you have used social media to get some customer service action instead of growing old waiting on the customer service phone trees or trying to navigate the labyrinth of online FAQ databases?

The same has been true for job seekers, and for too long employers were resistant to treating candidate as the primary customer of recruiting. Per the Talent Board Candidate Experience (CandE) Awards and Benchmark Research, that’s finally changing for the better.

In fact, many of this year’s 50 CandE award-winning employers – all of which provide their job candidates with an exemplary experience as defined by the candidates themselves – have gone through this transformative shift. Meaning, to treat all their job candidates, both externally and internally, as the primary customers of talent acquisition. Not the hiring manager, executive manager or other recruiting peers and colleagues – the candidates.

And not a moment too soon, since now six years of Talent Board’s CandE Awards benchmark research conclusively demonstrates that on average 41 percent of global candidates who believe they have had a “negative” overall 1-star job seeker experience (based on a 1-5 Likert Scale rating) say they will take their alliance, product purchases and relationship somewhere else. That means a potential loss of revenue for consumer-based businesses and referral networks for all companies. On the other hand, 64 percent say they’ll definitely increase their employer relationships based on the very positive job seeker experiences they’ve had. These aren’t just the job finalists either, but the majority are individuals who research and apply for jobs and who aren’t hired.

Also, quite clear from the 2016 CandE data (to be released early 2017) is how many employers continue to raise the bar on candidate communication and feedback loops – those candidates who said they had an overall 5-star candidate experience were only waiting for a response from the company after applying 32 percent of the time versus over 45 percent of candidates who said they only had an overall 1-star candidate experience. Unfortunately, 47 percent of all North American candidates overall were still waiting two to three or more months for a response from the company post-application, a continuous area of missed opportunity and a trend over the past few years.

When you look at candidate feedback at the interview stage, 87 percent those candidates who said they had an overall 1-star experience we’re never asked for any feedback on the interview process, while 32 percent of candidates who had an overall 5-star experience were asked for varying levels of feedback, a key differentiator in the race to hire the best people.

Lastly, candidates share their positive recruiting experiences with their inner circles (friends, family, peers, etc.) over 81 percent of the time and their negative experiences 66 percent of the time. Candidates also share their positive and negative experiences online via social media (Glassdoor, LinkedIn, etc.) 51 percent and 34 percent respectively. Again, it’s the negative experiences that not only potentially impacts the employment brand and direct revenue for consumer-based businesses, but also the sought-after talent employers are competing over and those referral networks that come with them.

Additional insights will be explored in the 2016 North American CandE research, the full report will be available on a complimentary basis to all interested employers and organizations early next year.

A non-profit research organization, Talent Board launched the CandE Awards program in 2011 as a way to promote and benchmark quality candidate experiences. Since then Talent Board has expanded to offer the CandE Awards in three regions: North America, EMEA and APAC. The 2016 North American CandE Awards set a new program record with more than 240 participating companies and 183,000 job seekers sharing their thoughts and experiences as candidates – 84 percent of whom did not get the job.

More than an awards competition, the CandE Awards also serve as a benchmarking program to raise awareness of the benefits of a positive candidate experience and highlight the tools, technology and techniques that can facilitate the process, as demonstrated by winning companies. The opening of the 2017 CandE Awards program will be announced following the publication of the forthcoming research report.

Photo Credit: RollisFontenot Flickr via Compfight cc

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