The Current State of the Candidate Experience

Talent Board, a non-profit organization focused on the elevation and promotion of a quality candidate experience with data benchmark research, has released its 2017 North American Candidate Experience research report. The organization’s research covers the best practices, platforms, and processes that enable companies to provide an exemplary recruiting experience to their job candidates.

This year’s report shares key findings from the 2017 Candidate Experience (CandE) Awards and Benchmark Research Program and showcases the leading factors impacting candidate experience today from pre-application to onboarding.

Highly Focused Research

“For the past seven years, Talent Board has been researching, measuring, and sharing the business value of job candidates’ experiences. Its goal has been and continues to be providing real-world insight on the need for businesses to adopt positive and transparent recruiting practices that contribute to a strong candidate experience and help them to continually attract and engage the best talent,” said Gerry Crispin, co-founder of Talent Board and principal and chief navigator at CareerXroads.
“Through our annual research report, Talent Board keeps a finger on the pulse of the candidate experience landscape, from the moment a candidate starts to research a company through onboarding, recognizing innovative practices, and identifying where improvement may be needed.”


The North American Candidate Experience 2017 research report is based on 180,000 surveys of candidates who applied to positions at 200 companies, most of whom did not get the job.
Using these candidate surveys, Talent Board discerned the current state of candidate experience, as well as the tools, processes, and technologies employers today use in their recruiting practices, and how they contribute to the candidate experience.

Current Findings

Key takeaways this year include:

  • Take a customer-centric approach. Corporate marketing and customer service aren’t the only teams today using social media channels and websites to serve “customers.” Savvy employers are making their recruiting teams available to answer questions during live chats on career sites and social media, as well as experimenting with chatbots to answer general employment questions. The latter frees up the recruiting teams to have more hands-on time with potential candidates already in play.
  • Communication and feedback continue to be differentiators. CandE Award winners continue to differentiate themselves from pre-application to onboarding, communicating more with candidates, giving candidates feedback earlier in the recruiting process, and asking candidates for feedback even before they apply for a job. Most candidates who have an overall “very poor” 1-star and 2-star candidate experience – representing tens of thousands of candidates in the Talent Board research – are getting very little if any consistent communication and/or feedback, a missed opportunity in a highly competitive talent marketplace.
  • The business impact is here for good (or ill will).The trend continues: Candidates who believe they have had a “negative” overall experience say they will take their alliance, product purchases, and relationship somewhere else. This means a potential loss of revenue for consumer-based businesses, referral networks for all companies, and whether or not future-fit and silver-medalist candidates apply again. However, the good news is that those who had a “great” overall experience say they’ll definitely increase their employer relationships – they’ll apply again, refer others, and make purchases when applicable. These aren’t just the job finalists either, or those hired; the majority is individuals who research and apply for jobs and aren’t hired.