The State of the Candidate Experience 

By Cliff Stevenson, Principal Analyst, Talent Management and Workforce Management

Count yourself lucky if you don’t have to spend as much time at HR-related conferences as I do, but I can tell you that candidate experience is a very popular term right now.

Brandon Hall Group’s latest research on this topic shows why: when asked about their current candidate experience practices, only 26% of organizations rated themselves as “very effective”. Considering 34% rated themselves as “somewhat effective,” that is some very disturbing data (to rehash the old joke, you certainly wouldn’t fly in a plane that was rated as “somewhat effective”).

As a former HR professional, I get it. Overly bureaucratic or compacted hiring procedures and a poor online application site may be out of your hands but not surprisingly are also the #1 and #5 most commonly listed challenges in the survey referenced above. However, there are opportunities for improvement, or there wouldn’t be as much investment in this area as I’m seeing.

The one data point that makes me most optimistic is that when asked about what they were going to do to improve their candidate experience, the top response was “Get candidate feedback about their recruitment through hiring experience.” We often say that in these surveys there is no wrong answer and that might be true, but this is the right answer! Fourteen different choices and most people picked the correct one. Second only to that was that 32% of organizations were planning to improve their career site, which also shows a real investment in improving the experience for potential hires.

All of these things matter; organizations that rated themselves as somewhat effective or not at all effective were 33% more likely to have an offer-decline rate of 26-50%. I know that’s a lot of percentages for one sentence, so let me put it like this: if your company doesn’t care about candidate experience, then candidates don’t care about working for your company. It’s as simple as that.

There are other ancillary benefits related to overall business outcomes, too, and there are also some very good real-life examples of organizations that turned their entire candidate experience around (in a good way), but I’ll leave those for our upcoming webinar, “How to Deliver a Market-Leading Candidate Experience” coming up December 3rd, where I’ll be joined by Nick Hutchison, the Head of Talent Acquisition for SABA and we will discuss all of this and fielding your questions live. Please join us then and there!

Cliff Stevenson, (Twitter: @CliffordDarrell email: [email protected]) Principal Analyst, Talent Management and Workforce Management, Brandon Hall Group

 For more information on Brandon Hall Group’s research, please visit

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Mike Cooke

Chief Executive Officer of Brandon Hall Group Mike Cooke Prior to joining Brandon Hall Group, Mike Cooke was the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of AC Growth. Mike held leadership and executive positions for the majority of his career, at which he was responsible for steering sales and marketing teams to drive results and profitability. His background includes more than 15 years of experience in sales, marketing, management, and operations in the research, consulting, software and technology industries. Mike has extensive experience in sales, marketing and management having worked for several early high-growth emerging businesses and has implemented technology systems to support various critical sales, finance, marketing and client service functions. He is especially skilled in organizing the sales and service strategy to fully support a company’s growth strategy. The concept of growth was an absolute to Mike and a motivator in starting AC Growth, in order to help organizations achieve research driven results. Most recently, Mike was the VP and General Manager of Field Operations at Bersin & Associates, a global analyst and consulting services firm focused on all areas of enterprise learning, talent management and talent acquisition. Tasked with leading the company’s global expansion, Mike led all sales operations worldwide. During Mike’s tenure, the company has grown into a multi-national firm, conducting business in over 45 countries with over 4,500 multi-national organizations. Mike started his career at MicroVideo Learning Systems in 1992, eventually holding a senior management position and leading all corporate sales before founding Dynamic Minds. Mike was CEO and Co-Founder of Dynamic Minds, a custom developer of software programs, working with clients like Goldman Sachs, Prentice Hall, McGraw Hill and Merrill Lynch. Also, Mike worked for Oddcast, a leading provider of customer experience and marketing solutions, where he held a senior management position leading the company into new markets across various industries. Mike also serves on the Advisory Board for Carbon Solutions America, an independent sustainability consulting and carbon management firm that specializes in the design and implementation of greenhouse reduction and sustainability plans as well as managing the generation of carbon and renewal energy and energy efficiency credits. Mike attended University of Phoenix, studying Business Administration and Finance. He has also completed executive training at the Chicago Graduate School of Business in Chicago, IL.

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