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Want to recruit top talent? Start by listening to candidate feedback.

Frank Møllerop
5 min read
Employee Experience
Want to recruit top talent? Start by listening to candidate feedback.

Recruitment and talent acquisition are vital to business success. 85% of the factors that influence an organization’s growth revolve around talent, either entirely or partially (CEB). PwC’s 20th CEO Survey reports nearly 8 out of 10 CEOs view the availability of key skills as the biggest threat to their business, ahead of technological and consumer behavioral changes. Recruiting the best talent has never been more important – or more difficult.

Today, candidates have an unprecedented choice (and power) in selecting their next role matched with their ever-rising expectations regarding the type of companies they will join. Armed with social media and review sites, they are searching to find out exactly what others think of your organization to simply decide whether or not to even apply. As seen on the customer side, attracting the right talent and candidates’ decision-making processes are starting far before their first interview, or even their resume submission.

Currently, most organizations get recruitment management information from their applicant tracking system (ATS). This data only goes so far. It delivers stats on who has applied, interviewed, dropped out, and joined. But it doesn’t give you the story behind the figures. An ATS or its data won’t tell you why someone has dropped out of the process, whether they will recommend your company as a place to work, or if candidates have been so negatively affected by the experience that they stop being customers. More than 40% of applicants say they’ll stop using/purchasing a company’s products after a negative candidate experience. Poor recruitment processes don’t just impact your talent pipeline – they also damage your bottom line.

Despite the relative importance of talent recruitment and retention, only half of CEOs use data analytics to find and keep the right people. At the same time, 60% of CEOs are rethinking the HR function altogether (PwC). As one CEO states, “We have to adapt to a different new reality. And the most adaptable way of doing it is through people.”

The key is listening to candidates–they provide a goldmine of information on the recruitment process which, when acted upon, has the power to transform your talent acquisition performance. Simply put, you can’t fix issues in your recruitment processes if you don’t even know they exist. How do you transform the talent acquisition and recruitment process? Gain a deeper understanding of candidates and any problems by looking at these four areas:

1. Integrate your recruitment processes

Integrating the recruitment process from HR to department line managers ensures a superior candidate experience. Attracting and retaining top new talent is a complex process, normally spanning multiple teams across the business. It doesn’t take much for the process to become fragmented and erratic. Responses are delayed. There is a failure to properly nurture candidates. Consequently, candidates are upset and annoyed which often leads them to drop-out of the process altogether. With a megaphone visive review sites like Glassdoor, candidates are sharing their experiences and frustrations with the world–very publicly, candidly and openly. Taking a lesson from customer experience, treat candidates like customers and ensure that they have a smooth journey. Make sure candidates always know what to expect and are adequately informed. Integrate your talent acquisition and recruitment processes to minimize unnecessary candidate loss while protecting your brand and reputation.

2. Prioritize candidate insight

Listening to candidate feedback delivers two key benefits. First, it helps you improve how you operate the business. Second, it shows that you value all candidates, even unsuccessful ones. In turn, this reinforces and protects your brand reputation, making candidates more likely to remain customers going forward. Ensure that sharing feedback at every step of the recruitment process is easy for all candidates, even if they don’t make it past a particular stage. Why did they drop out? What did they like? Where are the gaps, and where can things be improved? Learn what applicants think before the wider world does. Don’t wait for review sites and social media postings to learn about your recruitment process. Gather candidate insights in an authentic, meaningful and valuable way.

3. Fix it fast

One key benefit of listening to feedback during the recruitment process is the ability to leverage candidate insight into immediate action. Candidates have high expectations – and many suitors. They want to be nurtured during the recruitment process and will drop out if not treated well. Yet, often all that is required to retain candidates is a simple intervention to ensure they remain interested. This might be as straightforward as an email confirming the next steps in the process, or a positive phone call to demonstrate they are wanted at the business. By spotting issues and acting on them before they become major problems, managers can minimize drop-outs in the recruitment process, ensuring top talent remains engaged and interested in working for your organization. Leverage candidate insight to identify, manage and address issues in the recruitment process, retaining the top talent you want.

4. Focus on the fit

Analyzing candidate feedback provides critical insight for measuring their perceived fit. In the war for talent, it is easy to make the wrong recruitment decisions. One in five new hires is a mistake. They may look like the right candidate on paper, but are they the right fit for your business and culture? Gathering and analyzing candidate feedback gives the business a more candid, transparent view into the candidate, their thought process, communication patterns and more. It delivers insight into whether they will contribute to your success or quickly walk out of the door. Transform candidate feedback into insight on their perceived fit within the company, reducing the risk of wrong hiring decisions and increasing the likelihood of a candidate’s ultimate success at your organization.

Talent acquisition and recruitment are top concerns for most organizations. Yet, ensuring the best candidates apply to join your team is consistently getting more difficult. Create a candidate-centric strategy by putting the candidate, their feedback and insight at the center. Spot issues across the candidate journey, take immediate corrective action, and put the candidate first. Not only will this keep candidates committed to the recruitment process, but it will drive positive online reviews, support your employer brand and attract top talent. 


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