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There’s no denying it. Candidate Experience is firmly on the mind of recruiters, and rightfully so. Approximately 4 out of 10 candidates that had a bad experience will take their business elsewhere. A lot of agencies and businesses are stepping up their CX game, but there’s still so much room for improvement.

Expert opinions converge on the position that technology will play the biggest role in how recruitment is set to change in the coming years. New technologies pop up continuously, aimed to resolve hiring issues and offering smoother back-office process. All well and good, but when it comes to Candidate Experience, however, the recruitment tech picture hasn't been so clear.

Research in the Netherlands shows that 41% of companies do not ask their candidates to evaluate their recruitment process. The good news is that the majority of recruiters realize feedback is important. Still, most organisations only ask candidates that are hired for their feedback on the process. Less than 10% ask all candidates for feedback. The biggest learnings are going to come from rejected candidates, so it begs the question: what learnings from candidates are recruiters really missing out on which could help them elevate their business?

The state of Candidate Experience.

As a Business Developer at Starred, I’m generally the first point of contact with firms looking to get to grips with Candidate Experience. My job is to look for a match between the issue inside an organization’s recruitment department and what we can do to solve it. I often have really interesting talks that help me discover recruiters’ ambitions and challenges. Recruiters are becoming more and more aware of Candidate Experience as a topic that needs addressing hands-on. CX is a top priority for 85% of the recruitment departments I have spoken to in the last 6 months.

70% of the organisations I spoke to stated that they are already measuring the Candidate Experience in some way or form. However, the vast majority of the recruitment managers I talk to explain they have a manual process in place to measure candidate experience. Tools like Google Forms, Typeform or SurveyMonkey come up frequently. Dig into research in Customer Experience - a discipline that has grappled with feedback longer than Candidate Experience - and you’ll find that these tools will probably only scratch the surface on actually improving your relationships, and require a lot of manual work in the form of admin and analysis. Customer feedback has trended towards automation for years now, and it’s time for candidate feedback to catch up.

Automating feedback has clear, tangible advantages. Here I’m going to dive into 6 of them. So without further ado, here’s why you need to stop manually sending out surveys, and step up your Candidate Experience feedback automation.

1. Automating Candidate Experience feedback is cheaper.

This might be a shocker. Many recruiters I speak to argue that the prices of automating feedback are too high and they’d prefer to stick with their current process. Besides the disadvantages it brings to the table - that I will explain later - it’s actually not true.

People are expensive. Let’s say that recruitment manager Peter costs a company roughly 100 euros per hour. Peter, like everyone else, understands that improving the Candidate Experience is key in winning the talent in the market. Every week he manually sends out surveys to the hired and rejected candidates in order to get insights into the quality of his department. Say that every week he spends 4 hours collecting the data and 4 hours preparing for and analyzing the data... Multiply his hourly rate with the hours he spends on manual CX measurement per week and you’re already way past the monthly cost of an automated solution like Starred.

2. Automation saves you time so your recruiters can get on with recruiting.

In the aforementioned scenario, Recruitment Manager Peter would have saved at least 5 hours per week if he integrated his recruitment CRM or ATS with Starred and just automated the sending out- and feeding back of feedback data. The data collection would go automatically and insights would be presented in dashboards ready to be acted upon. Peter can use this time to get a good look at the results, to immediately follow up negative feedback and to implement structural improvements. As mentioned, Peter is expensive so it’s a shame to use him for ‘dumb’ work like juggling CSV files for hours. Just for comparison: imagine the positive impact he'll make on improving his business processes with the right insights, rather than doing admin.

3. Automating candidate feedback is less prone to human error.

Peter is human. Humans make mistakes, and that is okay! But sometimes it is better to make sure you’re on the safe side. One week Peter was preparing his weekly survey and one row of the Excel sheet was accidentally moved so that all candidates were addressed with a wrong name. This didn’t help the response rate - nor did it help their Candidate Experience! This scenario actually happened to a company we spoke to, but let’s stick with Peter for the sake of storytelling.

Imagine the negative candidate experience of being called by the wrong name in what is then obviously an email template - when you’re already deep in a process with a recruiter.

4. Automation provides you constant monitoring on your most relevant candidate touchpoints.

Peter includes the rejected candidates in his labour-intensive survey outreach because he realises that these candidates give valuable feedback as well. Every week he sends out surveys to the hired candidates and rejected candidates that made it till the end of the process

Using an integrated tool allows you to automatically send out these surveys at exactly the right moment in different stages during their candidate journey - on time, and in context. Having to manually separate candidates that were rejected in different stages like CV screening, first interview or contract negotiations and send them different surveys is nearly impossible.  But! If you have this process integrated to your existing process you'll get the most complete results. Feedback needs to match your own way of working in your CRM or ATS, like Lever or Greenhouse.

By automating feedback, it is completely 'embedded' within your organization and therefore part of your work process. The insights can then come rolling in, without the need to think about how many surveys you’re sending where and when.

5. Automating feedback actually helps keep your conversations personal.

It’s a data-driven age of recruiting. You already know that. Your ATS (Applicant Tracking System) is rich with information like your candidate’s name, date of application and the role(s) he or she applied for. Why not use this to keep the conversation personal?

Tailored. Personalized.
Whereas a generic survey tool like Typeform’s will tell you to use a template which asks a candidate “which department did you apply to?” automating this process in a more tailored, personalised solution like Starred gives you the opportunity to keep this interaction human and keep the conversation going. Why on earth should your candidate have to do your admin for you? This will have the reverse effect of alienating them.

Feedback as a pulse.
On Starred, candidates receive a personal invitation for feedback at the relevant stage in the candidate journey in your own brand, voice and tone - and also only relevant questions, not asking them to tell you which department they applied for. Since feedback should be real-time, integrating this process allows you to respond directly to feedback so that you can do your first 'damage control' in cases of negative feedback and positively surprise candidates.

Let your feedback actually feed back.
Feeding feedback data back into your recruitment CRM or ATS - E.G. Candidate Net Promoter Score - will give you an at-a-glance evaluation of the candidate’s sentiment: imagine calling them and already knowing where they stand in terms of how they think of your process. You can adjust your approach accordingly.

6. Automation in candidate experience is about efficiency and getting better at acting on your feedback.

When you are used to manually arranging your feedback outreach, it’ll often get ‘lost’ or buried in your organisation’s processes. Since feedback is very important, but doesn’t feel urgent, it can typically be something that can be forgotten by your recruiters and by management. Integrating feedback into your Candidate Journey with Starred provides you with clear real-time dashboards and a priority matrix - which makes it easy to know how to act on your feedback. A static report is easy to ignore, dynamic dashboards with action points are not.

Wrapping up.

As I mentioned at the top of the article - manually measuring Candidate Experience will become outdated for recruiters. Much like what happened in customer service measuring customer experience - firms which automate gain competitive advantage through efficiency. There are huge gains to be had for those who lead the way in this field. Moving from putting out social media wildfires and ‘reputation management’ - to excelling through shining candidate experience and brand. Those who automate their Candidate Experience feedback will find their way towards this promised land much quicker.

Hopefully the above points convinced some of you that going for an integrated feedback process carries more advantages than disadvantages.

Does automating feedback mean replacing the team members who were handling this process before? Absolutely not - it ensures they have their hands free to pick up the really important issues when it comes to Candidate Experience: monitoring and implementing improvements. This is crucial for Talent Acquisition specialists and operations-side leaders in Agency recruitment.

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Starred is feedback software optimized for recruiters to take control of their Candidate Experience, including industry leaders like Coca-Cola European Partners, Danone and ASML, as well as major recruiters like Altus Staffing. Got your attention? If these topics resonate and you want to up your CX efforts - reach out and let’s talk.

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