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The Tech Behind the Best Candidate Experiences

By Kevin Grossman, President Talent Board

Pull back the curtain on all 10 of 2021’s highest-rated candidate experiences and you’ll find automation technologies at work across various stages. This is one of the main takeaways from Talent Board’s latest research into the candidate experience—research it has conducted annually over the past decade among employers and job seekers worldwide. Talent Board determines the organizations providing the highest-rated candidate experiences in a given year based largely on the opinions of actual candidates (including those who’ve been rejected for jobs by the participating organizations).

NOTE: Join the Talent Board and TAtech at the Leadership Summit on Technology and the Candidate Experience on September 27-28, 2022 in New York City. Early Bird registration is still available.

Given the fiercely competitive labor market and the frantic pace of recruiting these days, it’s probably not surprising that TA teams are increasingly relying on recruiting technologies to keep their heads above water. But the fact that all 10 of the highest-rated candidate experiences rely on automation to some degree is telling. And these indispensable technologies don’t benefit TA teams alone. They also benefit candidates by making their experiences smoother, faster, and more personalized.

These benefits, along with growing affordability, are strong reasons your company should consider embracing recruiting automation technologies, if you haven’t already. And there’s another compelling reason to do so: candidates fully expect you to use automation because they understand the challenges you face.

Giving Candidates What They Want

Using automation technology isn’t antithetical to a great candidate experience, as talent professionals sometimes fear—as long as it’s not totally replacing interaction with a human member of your TA team at critical points of the candidate journey. Indeed candidates eagerly endorse technology-based interactions, particularly when they improve your responsiveness and communication, and when they eliminate redundancies and extra steps in your process.

More specifically, recruiting automation enables three things candidates have repeatedly told Talent Board they want from employers:

1) Acknowledgement that their resumes have been received.
2) Answers to their questions at various stages of their journey, especially the research stage.
3) More responsive and consistent communication from recruiters and hiring managers across the candidate journey, no matter how short or long that journey may be.

In addition, automation technologies reduce unfairness and unconscious bias in the recruitment process. Resume screeners and AI-based assessments, for example, ensure that candidates are able to present their skills and capabilities to potential employers in a uniform and equitable manner.

Employers who use automation technologies to address the issues above reap some very concrete rewards, according to Talent Board data. Candidates’ willingness to reapply to their jobs rises, for instance, as does their willingness to refer colleagues and friends to their jobs. Candidates also rate these employers’ experiences highly across social media and review sites. And, perhaps most importantly to consumer brands, candidates’ willingness to purchase their products and services rises significantly, even when they don’t land the job.

Automation By the Numbers

Exactly what kinds of recruiting technologies did the highest-rated candidate experiences leverage in 2021 and were there any differences from region to region? According to Talent Board’s research:

Overall Usage—Generally speaking, recruiting tech usage is on the rise globally.
o In North America, the companies with the highest-rated candidate experiences use automation technologies 15% more often than the average for all companies.
o In APAC, this percentage jumps to 20%
o In EMEA, it’s at 6%.

Chatbots—Globally, the use of chatbots has increased 40% since 2019.
o In North America, 42% of companies are using chatbots, while the rest are considering doing so.
o 60% of companies in Latin America use chatbots.
o In EMEA and APAC, these percentages are 38% and 35%, respectively.

AI-Based Video Interviewing & Assessment—These rose in North America from 48% in 2020 to 58% in 2021.

Collective Candidate Databases—The use of these databases to prequalify job seekers rose from 46% to 48% in North America.

Predictive Behavioral Tools—The use of AI-based tools to measure and predict people’s job-changing behavior rose in North America from 33% to 37%.

While all of these statistics speak to recruiting automation’s growth, not all employers are moving quickly where these technologies are concerned. One of the most surprising insights that came out of Talent Board’s recent research with Phenom is that significant numbers of recruiters still lack access to basic recruiting technologies at critical points of their work. Nearly half (45%) don’t have software providing them with real-time feedback from hiring managers about candidates, and 38% don’t have access to AI-generated insights about candidates—both of which are powerful tool that speeds up the evaluation and dispositioning of candidates, crucial benefits in today’s competitive labor market.

As your organization considers and experiments with automation technologies, you might want to focus initially on tools that address the three candidate priorities mentioned earlier: 1) acknowledgement that you’ve received their resumes, 2) timely answers to their questions, and 3) more responsive and consistent communication. Investing in technologies that support these three things will pay major dividends and separate your employment brand from the pack.