March 8th, 2017 | Sterling

Talent Board Survey Finds Candidate Experience Positively and Negatively Impacts Business in UK

Woman presenting to small team

Think back to the last time you applied for a job. What were the things that you remembered most from the process? Did you have a positive or negative experience? In today’s social world, any impressionable experience (good and bad) can go viral in a matter of hours. Creating a good hiring experience, from filing out an application to onboarding and day-one activities, will positively affect an organisation in revenue and brand reputation.

Sterling recently hosted Candidate Experience in EMEA: What the Research Shows with Kevin Grossman, Vice President of Talent Board, a non-profit organisation behind Candidate Experience research and the CandE Awards. The webinar shared some of the fascinating findings of the 2016 North American Candidate Experience Research Report published by Talent Board. The report surveyed over 220,000 candidates worldwide who had applied to more than 440 companies. The report was split into regions: North America (NAM), Europe-Middle East-Africa (EMEA) and Asian Pacific (APAC). There were over 5,000 respondents for the UK portion of the survey. Talent Board sponsors The CandE Awards which serve as a benchmark programme to raise awareness of the benefits of a positive candidate experience and highlight the tools, technology and techniques that can facilitate the process.

Key Findings of the Report

The Candidate Experience Research Report spotlights the importance of candidate experience and how it can impact a business through talent acquisition. The companies that are exceeding in candidate experience are treating their candidates as the “primary customer” making sure they get the best experience during the hiring process. Once the thousands of survey findings were compiled, the results were split into the steps of the hiring process: Attraction, Application, Screen Disposition, Interview and Offer/Onboarding.


The attraction stage is where the candidate learns about the open position either on a company website or through outside job board listings. Employment branding, recruitment marketing, sourcing and understanding how candidates are finding positions are very important in this stage. During this part of the hiring process, the candidate wants to understand the company culture, have some insight into the employee experience and a sense of connection with the overall brand. A few highlights from the report found that:

  • 75% of candidates conduct their research during the job search, which is a trend that has held steady over the past few years
  • Company career sites are still the most important aspect when researching career opportunities for 59% of candidates
  • 68% of candidates list job descriptions as the most important job-related content when they are researching a job


The application stage is the process the candidates go through when filing out and submitting a job application. Mobile technology has advanced the application (and the research) process and will continue to grow in the next few years. However, there are still lots of missed opportunities in this stage, mostly due to candidates having to wait for an average of 1-3 months (or more) to hear back from a company after applying for the job. The lack of communication is a huge missed opportunity for transparency with candidates. Some other key findings from the report for this stage include:

  • 60% of the candidates were not current employees at the organisations they applied to
  • 79% of employers offer mobile apply, but only 11% of candidates applied via mobile
  • Only 21% of candidates remember being asked for feedback on the application process

Screening Disposition

Screening and disposition are parts of the evaluation stage determining whether a candidate should move on to further consideration. This stage also could be the most intimidating in the hiring process as the majority of job candidates do not move on to the next hiring level. Communication, unfortunately, breaks down the most in this stage from both the employer and candidate perspectives. Key findings in this portion of the report revealed:

  • 88% of employers are allowing more applicants to complete the application even after they fail screening questions
  • 58% were still waiting to hear back from employers more than two months after they applied
  • Only 28% of candidates received an email from a recruiter or hiring manager notifying them they were not being considered


The interview stage is the screening process that helps recruiters and hiring managers determine the best candidate for their organisations. The interview is often a deciding factor when hiring a candidate. Based on the report, organisations are taking small steps to make the interview process more candidate-friendly. More details from this portion of the study shows:

  • Phone interview/screening still dominates the interview stage at 61%
  • Video interviewing increased to 21% (compared to 12% in 2015)
  • Recruiters put video interviewing at the top of their technology investments for 2017
  • 11% of candidates said they did not receive any additional information, follow-up or next steps after the interview
  • 86% of candidates were never asked for feedback about the interview process

Can a company ask for too much feedback from their candidates? There can never be enough surveying or receiving feedback from candidates. However, each company will have their threshold on how many questions to ask candidates and how many times they survey them. Asking a few questions during the process to get feedback is very important to the overall process. Most companies ask for feedback via email or phone. The most common version is during email in the middle of the hiring process or directly after.


Onboarding is the final stage in the hiring process. This stage includes sending the offer letter, providing employment background screening, onboarding paperwork and first day activities. Onboarding solutions have an immediate impact on candidate experience and overall organisational success. The time between the interview and the offer is critical. It is important to keep the timeline tight and on point. The report found more interesting data during the offer stage:

  • 47% of candidates said that less than one week elapsed between their last interview and the extended offer (down from 53% from 2015)
  • Completing online forms during onboarding decreased to 47% in 2016
  • 34% of candidates received calls from their hiring managers before they started work
  • Organisations ask for candidate feedback, bit it is still incredibly low at 23%

Impact on Businesses

Candidate experience has a direct impact on business from reputation to the bottom line. Negative candidate experiences potentially impact the employment brand and direct revenue for consumer-based businesses, but also diminish their ability to attract sought-after talent and the referral networks that come with them. 41% of job seekers who give their overall candidate experience a negative rating will take their relationships elsewhere, while 64% of job seekers who give their overall candidate experience a positive rating will increase their employer relationships. Candidates share their positive recruiting experiences with their inner circles (family, friends, peers) over 83% of the time and their negative experiences 67% of the time. Candidates also share positive (45%) and negative (30%) hiring experiences via social media (Glassdoor and LinkedIn).

The job market is more candidate-driven than ever before. For candidates to choose to apply for a position at an organisation, they are doing more research and are looking for a smoother hiring experience. Find out more interesting survey findings, as well as learn how top companies are placing emphasis on a great candidate experience by checking out the On Demand version of the very informative webinar.

This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.