The Candidate Experience - Does it Really Matter?

Tonight we run the first MonsterBuzz debate of 2013. After our successful events in 2012 we continue our series of debates with the contentious subject 'The Candidate Experience - does it really matter?'. It's a topic that continues to divide opinions about what we really mean by the term.

I have to give recognition to Gerry Crispin Co Founder of US based CareerXroads and the person who first coined the term "the candidate experience" back in the mid 90s as e-recruitment began to take off. Gerry has run audits and many research projects over that time which continue to highlight how important the candidate experience is.

During my time at Totaljobs we did a survey on the impact of a "Poor Experience When Looking for a Job", from memory 54% of those sampled (2000+) had had a poor experince and of that group 64% would be less likely to buy that companies products or services and 86% would not refer a friend BUT 24% would still take the job.

In preparing for this debate I have interviewed our panel and these are there views;

Richard Thayer - Founder M2 Job Club - The real candidate Experience

Colin Minto - Global Head of Resourcing G4S - Yes it Matters

Julia Briggs - Founder Interimity - Pulls no Punches

David Henry, Monster's VP of Marketing UK & Ireland, shared his views with me today and he has a great take on the subject:

Q- Often, candidate's feedback to job boards is about the negative experiences they've had (i.e. 'I applied for a job through you and never heard back' or 'I applied for  jobs at XX Recruitment firms and every time I apply the job has gone, do these jobs really exist?'). These comments happen but is this part of the candidate experience or just part of looking for a job?

 I think the reality is it's part of the 'looking for a job experience', but I'm not sure it has to be and further to that it damages the reputation of the website and the company advertising the role.

 If you think about the perfect candidate for a role, often many recruiters want somebody who has prior experience and is likely to be employed doing something similar at a competitor,  a passive candidate. If their experience of applying for a role on a website directly or through a third party is such where their effort is effectively ignored by the recruiter, it will be inevitable that they'll be put off going through the same exercise with other opportunities. This reduces the talent pool for the company concerned and it will have the knock on effect of reducing the likelihood of candidates trusting the advertising and reputation of the company.

 Candidates in our research universally across Europe describe this experience as the “black hole”. They consider it to be a huge frustration and one of the major stress point about looking at new career opportunities. It is seen by consumers as part of the experience of job hunting but it materially damages the reputation of the companies concerned. If carried out on scale, it is akin to delivering a poor customer service experience when buying a product or a service, something which companies spend £££ on getting right. I myself have been on the wrong end of this where many years ago I was approached directly for a role, I filled in the forms ticked the boxes, even had the interview, then nothing, silence. Recently the same company approached me again for a Senior board role, I did not entertain the conversation. Fundamentally this short term strategy of churn and burning the candidates will have an effect particularly with social media coming into play, where that experience can now be amplified. But ultimately for me it’s about human decency, respect, and frankly common sense.

 Finally I'd like to share a great blog and debate that took place in the US; Dear Candidate 5a26jd7: Your Application Is Very Imortant to Us

You can follow the debate tonight on Twitter using the hashtag #mbuzz.

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