RTT – Using Technology to Enhance Candidate Engagement and Experience

Technology and Candidate ExperienceCandidate experience seems to be on everyone’s agenda.  Companies are beginning to join the dots and understand the wider implications that an applicant’s experience can have on their brand. One American airline calculated that their rejected applicants spent over $40m a year on flights. They started to give rejected candidates $10 vouchers off their next flight to thank them for applying.

As an industry we have predominantly become reliant on using technology as a conduit to source, manage and deliver this candidate experience. With the average internal recruiter delivering 100 hires per annum, it is to be expected.

At this Think Tank we discussed ‘New Media’, the technology that sits behind the candidate experience and the value that our candidates, recruiters and businesses gain from them.  Are we investing wisely and gaining ROI?

These are the thoughts and takeaways from the latest Resourcing Think Tank (RTT) held on Tuesday 11th October 2016 hosted at NGA by Christine Walker (Talent Acquisition Lead UK & Ireland) titled ‘Using Technology to Enhance Candidate Engagement and Experience?’

The following summary has been prepared to reflect a segment of the discussion held amongst senior HR and Talent Acquisition professionals from leading national and international businesses. Specific company details, experiences and examples have been omitted from this summary as all discussions are held under ‘Chatham House Rules’.

Key Takeaways

  • For most companies, at this point in time it is all about doing the little bits well rather than having one system. Ultimately, you should aim to keep the process simple and integrate the technology you have properly into your team
  • It is important to have validated and accurate metrics and think of the long term strategy rather than short term goals
  • It’s crucial that any technology’s associated benefits are actually in-line with your recruitment / business objectives
  • Recruitment and Marketing should go hand in hand. If you can show potential candidates how good it is to work at your company using technology, then this will surely only improve the quality of applicants wanting to work with you
  • We had many different views on whether social media is the way to go. Statistics prove that social media recruitment works, but why are so many companies reluctant to use it? Are they scared they won’t be able to handle it or do they still have a question mark over its effectiveness? Whatever the reason more and more people will continue to use social media and companies that do not accept this are at risk of being left behind.

How do you define a positive candidate experience?

We all know how we’d roughly define a positive candidate experience, but how do you actually achieve one? The lines we always hear are:

  • Offering guidance to candidates
  • Being honest
  • Having market knowledge
  • Making the process transparent
  • Offering timely and responsive feedback

In order to achieve a positive candidate experience, you need to do all of the above in a consistent manner.

How can we measure it?

Once the above factors for a positive candidate experience have been implemented, we need to consider how to measure whether they are working to improve your recruitment process.

You can actually measure this with circulating NPS (Net Promoter Score ®) style surveys at specific points in the recruitment process in order to monitor the service you’re offering and gain insight into areas for improvement. For example surveying your candidates on the quality of the brief, their relationship with the Hiring Manager, how helpful / responsive your team has been etc. Some companies go as far as incentivising the individual recruiter when they get full marks on the surveys to help drive positive behaviour.

Why is it important to the business that the candidate experience is positive?

As recruiters, you know how important it is that a candidate has a positive journey.  Whether they get the job or not, you want them to walk away from the process happy.

The rejected applicants will either praise the process or criticise the way it was handled. This could potentially lead to reputational damage of your brand. The way your brand is portrayed is one of the most important factors in having a successful business. In the world of social media, opinions can be online and viewed by hundreds of thousands within a couple of hours.  

Some companies now go as far as offering an incentive relevant to their business (e.g. in store vouchers) to rejected candidates in the hope that even though their application wasn’t successful, they still have a good feeling about the brand.

Have we become too complacent and reliant on certain major technology suppliers?

With all the technology that you have in your business, can you remember what you did before it?  How has your day to day working changed?

If someone said you are not allowed to use LinkedIn for a week, how would you cope?  I imagine that just reading that sentence sends chills down your spine. However, if I asked you whether you know what your paid LinkedIn license does for you, would you know the answer?  Would you know the difference between what you can do for free and what you have to pay for?  

We generally assume that we have to pay LinkedIn before even considering what functions it has that can be used for free. I am one of the biggest advocates of LinkedIn, I think it is great, yet I do not pay for an account as I have no need to.

These thoughts also apply to other major technologies that we pay for. Do we actually need video interviewing software?  Will it actually show an ROI or is it just another fad that never really took off as expected?

Is it vendor push or industry pull?

The last time your business implemented a new piece of software, were you excited for the new change or did you dread having to learn how to use it?  

I personally love using and learning about systems and software, however, I do not believe that software should be implemented just because it is available. Businesses are sometimes sold technology that they are told will revolutionise the way they do things when, in reality, it does not improve their normal day to day dealings. Technology can assist in making a business more efficient, but this will require the right circumstances and full due diligence.

A key point to keep in mind is that you can’t lose the human element of recruitment.  From discussions during this Think Tank, we determined that candidates still like and appreciate a human touch. We should therefore use technology to improve our efficiency not replace what we as humans can do.

Start point and end point

Having a start and finish of what you want to achieve from the software is critical. Getting one piece of technology then buying multiple add-ons that don’t integrate can turn what was originally a pivotal change into an inefficient system that is difficult to get anything out off.  

If you as a business can articulate what you need the technology to do and come into a meeting with the vendor knowing this, then it is likely they will be able to produce what you need. In fact, they will probably appreciate that you know what you need, resulting in a better working partnership.


First and foremost, the technology is there to help your recruiters not replace them. Technology can be used to streamline a process. However, maintaining the human element is vital. For example, if you use technology to run several different social media campaigns (i.e. Hootsuite) then you must still remember that have to manually manage the response from your campaigns.

Ryan Hallwood

Written by , Analytical Consultant

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