Making a Business Case for the Candidate Experience

Today, I’ll be at the #DICETRU event in Boston talking about the candidate experience.  It should be a tremendous event with great practitioners and thought leaders.  My discussion will be on the whole gamut of the candidate experience and hope the discussion will take a mind of it’s own towards the needs and thoughts of the audience.  As everyone knows, it can be a pretty big topic.

However, for this post, I wanted to take on a question I’ve actually been receiving pretty often and it usually goes something like this:

We are currently evaluating and putting together a business case for a candidate experience project and were wondering if you knew of any benchmarking data on the impact it has on recruiting results?

Let’s just start right off the bat here and just acknowledge that this is a pretty good question.  If you are looking to implement a better candidate experience you really want to understand what the end game is.  What are you trying to achieve and how will it affect overall performance?

The problem in most cases, however, is that the data is not available in the space currently.  There’s some great benchmark and survey data available around candidates and employers through programs such as the Candidate Experience Awards (sign up for 2013 research here) but the real nitty gritty performance data can be elusive.  We’re talking about the candidate experience’s impact on candidate quality, offer acceptance rate, time to fill, etc.  And many organizations aren’t apt to really share this data publicly.

So how do we build a business case without hard performance data on the subject?

Why Isn’t This Data Available?

Well, let’s first address that many companies aren’t capturing or focused on this today.  They are still working through the basics of the candidate experience and haven’t made it a priority or focus in their strategy.  Second, candidate experience isn’t particularly easy to measure.  To measure it, you really need to take before and after snapshots of your results and see how changes in the candidate experience affect overall performance.  Positive changes such as shortened applications will be easier to measure than new messaging on the Career Site for example.  Third, many organizations don’t have the analytics infrastructure in place to consistently measure it.  Leading to the problem of not having a historical perspective to measure against or just not being able to measure it at all.

How are organizations capturing it?

The organizations that are measuring candidate experience consistently toward hiring goals are ones that have determined their focus and leverage systems to consistently measure and improve.  They are doing it internally and making it a point to evaluate the experience on a consistent basis.  They also understand the holistic nature of the candidate experience and ensure measurement of the whole process while attempting to capture feedback from every candidate that applies to the organization or is captured in their Talent Network.

They also have baked it into their process to make it an automated step in the process flow of how they engage with candidates to ensure it doesn’t get lost or forgotten.

And when we talk about measuring, it’s all about understanding not just source effectiveness but also funnel conversions.  When I mention funnel conversions it’s how good are you at getting a candidate from one stage in the funnel to the next.  From initial view of your job to your Career Site to finishing an application to interviewing for a position and getting hired.  Looking at it from a funnel perspective can help you evaluate all the different parts that need to work in concert to get a candidate to apply.  From enticing job ad messaging to a compelling employer brand to an application that doesn’t make them regret applying to a hiring process that is straightforward and responsive.  Understanding the aggregate numbers of converting candidates from point A to point G can really help you focus your initial candidate experience efforts.

How to begin building your business case?

The best advice I can give is to make small changes to your experience with the systems and process you currently have.  This could be shortening your application process, ensuring you are setting expectations with your candidates up front and capturing feedback from a subset of candidates that apply.  Many of the systems you have today can help you start understanding where you are at in the candidate experience lifecycle and start you with some data to compare bigger changes.

By evaluating and using the tools and systems you have internally to make and measure changes to the candidate experience, you can set up your organization to see the value of further dive into these initiatives.  It will also help you understand gaps and opportunities you have in your infrastructure so that when you are ready to make an investment you know where your focus should be.

And then as you get your initiative up and running to ensure that you consistently capture the right data and analytics to understand the impacts of your candidate experience.

Hope this helps!

You can read more on candidate experience at

Views: 260

Comment by Steve Levy on November 16, 2013 at 1:38pm

Some people require a business case for a candidate experience project? That's a funny onme Chris...


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