Category: Blog

The 2013 Candidate Experience Awards Results: Our Perspective

Posted on 03/20/14 by bengotkin No Comments

By Ben Gotkin

For over 3 years now, the Talent Board has brought considerable attention to the Candidate Experience and its impact on an organization’s recruiting success.  As experts on recruiting process, technology, interviewing and selection, candidate engagement, we at Recruiting Toolbox certainly have had a very keen interest in this issue as we work with our clients on their candidate experience either directly or indirectly all of the time.  Knowing our interest and passion around the topic, the non-profit organization, The Talent Board, was kind enough to ask John Vlastelica, Carmen Hudson and I to participate on the Candidate Experience Awards (CandE) Council.  Carmen and I had the additional honor of authoring 2 sections of the 2013 Awards Whitepaper which was released a few days ago.

2013 was the biggest year yet for the CandE Awards, with over 120 companies completing the initial employer survey, over 90 companies providing the candidate survey to their candidates, over 46,000 responses to the candidate survey, 64 Award winners (including Recruiting Toolbox clients ADP, BASF, CH2M Hill, Capital One, Informatica, Intellectual Ventures and T-Mobile) and 13 winners with distinction.  The program has also expanded overseas to the UK and Australia and will likely expand further soon.  Such tremendous participation has resulted in some significant data being collected, and some very interesting and revealing results.  I strongly encourage you to read the whitepaper in full, but a few of the key findings this year from our perspective included:

  • A majority of candidates had some pre-existing relationship with the companies before they applied, either likely as a customer or through a referral.  A positive impact on the candidate is the employers to lose from the very start.
  • CandE Award winners were more likely than non-winners to effectively set expectations on the process up front, address data privacy concerns, include highly relevant pre-screening/assessment tools in the process, and collect feedback.  Candidates in turn indicated that their experience was highly influenced by these factors, to the point where if they had a negative experience as a result, that their willingness to do future business with that employer was also negatively impacted.
  • One of the results that I found very interesting was that candidates indicated that the amount of time it took to complete the application had no correlation to their satisfaction.  What did impact their satisfaction however was the setting of expectations, a perceived opportunity to effectively demonstrate their qualifications, addressing data privacy and a follow-up upon completion of the application.  In other words, relevancy and common courtesy.

If you have not participated in the CandE Awards program to date, we strongly encourage all organizations to participate, if not to complete to win an award, at the very least to benchmark your process and to do so year-over-year.  The 2014 Employer Survey is open now, to participate please visit

To download a copy of the 2013 Candidate Experience Awards Whitepaper Report, please visit

Free Webinar | The Candidate Experience and You | Feb 19

Posted on 02/11/14 by bengotkin No Comments


Date: Wednesday, February 19, 2014, 8am PT/11am ET
Location: Webinar

The experience that your candidates have with your process can have a direct impact on not only your employment brand, but even your company’s bottom line. Historically, organizations have built their employment processes to meet their own needs rather than the needs of their candidates. After years of an over-reliance on technology and overall neglect, the Candidate Experience is being evaluated and scrutinized as never before. The Candidate Experience Awards, a 3 year old program run by the non-profit, The Talent Board, has in a very short period of time identified and established the benchmarks for what makes for a world-class Candidate Experience. In 2013 alone, 120+ organizations across North America applied, and over 46,000 candidates provided feedback that led to 64 organizations of all sizes and industries being recognized as Candidate Experience Award winners.

Join Ben Gotkin, Candidate Experience Awards Council Member and Principal Consultant with Recruiting Toolbox, as he shares the lessons learned from this past year’s awards program. Ben will share what candidates found to be most important to establishing a world-class Candidate Experience, what organizations need to consider in order to address their Candidate Experience issues, and how organizations across North America, the United Kingdom and Australia can participate in the 2014 Candidate Experience Awards program. This webinar will focus specifically on the impact that your application process has on the Candidate Experience, on your sourcing efforts, your employment brand, and your mobile recruiting initiatives. Ben will also share some of the best practices from those organizations that were identified as 2013 Award Winners with Distinction.

Focus on the big stuff in 2014

Posted on 01/06/14 by Matt Grove No Comments
Jan 6 2014 Chicago Temp

Jan 6 2014 Chicago Temp

The New Year is here and so is the deep freeze! I’m writing from Chicago (or Chiberia as we are calling it today) where it is 14 below zero with a wind chill of a “freeze your face off in no time” 37 below. Seriously, we are colder today than Antarctica and Siberia. There is something very wrong about that.

My goal for the last few days was to get some “big stuff” done for work – write some articles, plan a presentation, and build out a couple new tools. It was all going to be done by the weekend, but Mother Nature had other ideas. A massive winter storm moved in and dumped a couple feet of snow and today brought these crazy sub-zero temperatures. So I (and the rest of Chicago) ran errands, got supplies, shoveled snow repeatedly, and got ready to batten down the proverbial hatches. Needless to say these distractions added up and made it difficult to get the big stuff done as I had planned.

Why mention this? Because I hear the same thing from talent acquisition leaders every day. There’s a big initiative that is critical, but small tasks and fires come up and make it impossible to get the big stuff done. I get it. It happens to all of us at one time or another. Sometimes, we just have to get creative on how we resource our needs.

Since leaving corporate recruiting leadership and joining Recruiting Toolbox last year, one of my favorite parts of consulting is partnering with talent acquisition leaders to get important things done. We help with customized strategies, process improvements, trainings, and tools. You know, the projects that business leaders actually pay attention to, appreciate, and reward.

I’m lucky. As a consultant I get to work with awesome clients. And these awesome clients tell us that they hire us for some combination of these three reasons:

1. They need our expertise. These leaders may not know how to do a training or project or they may want perspectives that are broader than their own.

2. They need our experience. These leaders have a good idea about a training or project, but need someone who has experience actually doing it to help guide them and ensure that it gets done really well the first time.

3. They need our execution. These leaders don’t have the time or resources needed to do the training or project in-house. We help them get it done with high quality deliverables that their business leaders and users love.

For any of you struggling to get the big, important stuff done, we’re here to help. As former corporate recruiting leaders, we’ve seen it, done it, and we bring that experience to you. We’re privileged to partner with amazing clients who are serious about delivering high quality talent acquisition in their companies and elevating the skills of their teams. If you’re looking for ways to up your recruiting game or to get some critical stuff done, please keep us in mind.

Happy New Year everyone and remember one important thing. We can’t succeed if we get stuck (or frozen) on the distractions, so stay focused and let’s do some big stuff in 2014!


Why I Love The Candidate Experience Awards

Posted on 04/29/13 by bengotkin 2 Comments


By Ben Gotkin

Candidates hate your hiring experience.  Well, maybe not yours specifically, but overall, candidates are not happy campers.  Online applications are lengthy and cumbersome, interviews can be as well.  And the ‘resume black hole’… Don’t get me started…

The truth is that while active job seekers who need your job will jump through rings of fire and are willing to be battered and bruised to be considered for your job, top employed talent isn’t going to waste their time with a crummy experience.  Here’s a few facts:

  • Average drop-off rate on corporate career sites between the time a candidate lands on the site and the time they complete an application is 85% or more.
  • Customers/candidates who have a bad experience with your organization are 7 times more likely to tell their friends about it than those who had a good experience.
  • Candidates are sharing these poor experiences today in significant numbers on sites like Glassdoor, Vault and Twitter.
  • A poor candidate experience results in reduced access to top talent, reduced efficiency, increased costs and lowered quality (yes, this is impacting your bottom-line).
  • YOU have control over your organization’s candidate experience.

Fortunately, there are a number of companies that are taking their candidate experience seriously, to the point that for the past 2 years, many of those organizations have been recognized for their efforts through The Candidate Experience Awards program.   This award program is open to any organization that wishes to participate, either to compete for an award or to simply benchmark their candidate experience as they search for opportunities to improve.

I’ve been a big fan of this awards program since its inception for a couple reasons.  First, it brings to light the best practices of organizations large and small that have made significant efforts to create the best experience possible for their candidates.  Second, the survey from this program, now going into its 3rd year, is beginning to provide some very rich quantitative data, which is available for broad analysis across survey participants, and by the participants themselves.  Finally, it helps organizations understand, “How good or bad is my candidate experience?” and “What can I focus on short-term and long-term to improve”.

I was honored to be invited to join The Candidate Experience Awards Council, which is made up of many of the top minds in the Talent Acquisition profession, including my Recruiting Toolbox colleagues, John Vlastelica and Carmen Hudson.   Recruiting Toolbox consultants have had significant experience in their corporate careers, and working with their clients, to help those organizations optimize their technology, their overall process workflow, their strategy and their interviewing and selection techniques, in order to create the best candidate experience possible.

The 2013 Awards program is set to begin and I strongly encourage all organizations to participate in this worthwhile (and potentially rewarding) initiative.  To learn more and to participate, please visit

Free Webinar – Mobile Talent Workshop – March 27, 2013

Posted on 03/20/13 by bengotkin No Comments

R U Mobile?  Your candidates certainly are.  In fact, 20-30% of your candidates are trying to access your career website through their mobile device TODAY.  Mobile is quickly becoming the biggest and most impactful technological disrupter to the recruiting industry since the emergence of job boards.  That’s right, even more disruptive than social media.  So if your recruitment experience isn’t mobile optimized yet, the time to make that happen is not in the future, it is NOW.

At 2PM ET/11AM PT on Wednesday, March 27, Recruiting Toolbox Principal Consultant Ben Gotkin will join iMomentous’ Ed Newman for the first of a series of webinars that will introduce you to what you need to know to get on board with mobile recruiting today.  Optimizing your career website for mobile devices is just the first step.  Ed and Ben will discuss not only the case for going mobile, but will also cover the various stages of adoption, the who’s who in the mobile recruitment technology market, and practical examples of what candidates want and what employers can deliver.

For more information on this webinar and to register, please visit:


Scan now to Register:

ERE Article – Who the Heck Are We? The Dilemma of the Corporate Recruiter

Posted on 01/15/13 by bengotkin No Comments

Today on ERE, Recruiting Toolbox Principal Consultant, Ben Gotkin, takes a critical look at the identity crisis that exists among today’s corporate recruiters.  The corporate recruiting function is often very misunderstood, which can impact the effectiveness of the function as well as the ability to draw new talent with relevant skills and motivations into the function.

The corporate recruiting function as we know it today has matured rapidly over the past two decades.  Now is the time to question and discuss the purpose and value of corporate recruiters, and how we want to grow and develop corporate recruiters going forward.  To read more and join the discussion, click here.

Recruiting Toolbox welcomes Ben Gotkin, Principal Consultant based in Washington, DC

Posted on 08/15/12 by John Vlastelica 1 Comment

Recruiting Toolbox, Inc. is pleased to welcome Ben Gotkin to the team as a Principal Consultant, based in Washington, DC.

Ben Gotkin has been helping companies develop and deploy recruiting strategies for over 15 years. He’s been a recruiting leader at companies like McGladrey, MITRE, BAE Systems, and – most recently – as a Recruiting Director at Marriott International. He’s also been a featured speaker at ERE, SourceCon, and The Recruiting Trends Conference, and has worked hard to grow the recruiting community in DC through recruitDC, a non-profit, event-oriented professional recruiting organization that he founded three years ago.

Now, as a consultant with Recruiting Toolbox, he will help clients build and deploy the right recruitment strategies and processes, identify and implement the right recruitment technology, and bring his real-world, practitioner focus to make it all work well together – people + process + technology.

“I’ve been in-house my whole career, helping my companies and our people recruit better,” says Gotkin. “As part of the Recruiting Toolbox team, I look forward to helping our clients identify high ROI sourcing strategies, better leverage social media, mobile, the web and old-school recruiting techniques to recruit the best talent, and to get recruiters and hiring managers the tools and training they need to do their best work.”

John Vlastelica, Founder and Managing Director, adds, “We’ve been helping companies recruit better since 2002. With Ben’s expertise, we’ll bring our clients even more value, with an even stronger set of capabilities around recruitment technology, branding, strategy, process, and training. Ben is a fantastic addition to our team. I first met him years ago, at an ERE conference in San Diego, and have been following him ever since. He’s a smart, practical, analytical, can-do recruiting leader who just “gets it”. We are thrilled to welcome Ben to the team.”

Ben is a 3rd generation Washington, DC native with a Degree in Psychology from the University of Maryland. When Ben isn’t learning or evangelizing about recruiting, he spends his free time with his family and pursuing his passions in music and sports (loves his Nationals, Capitals and Redskins and coaches youth lacrosse).

Learn More:
• Ben Gotkin’s Bio:
• How we help companies recruit better:

About Recruiting Toolbox, Inc.
We are consulting company made up of experienced consultants and trainers (all former corporate recruiting leaders) who are 100% focused on helping companies recruit better. We’re not a search firm or contract recruiters. Instead, we help companies with recruiting and sourcing strategy, process improvement, systems selection and implementation, tool development and deployment, and custom-built recruiter and hiring manager training. Our work is leveraged by companies around the world, including Nike, Groupon, World Bank, Expedia, Eddie Bauer, Zumiez, REI,, Microsoft, Google, Concur,,, Corbis, Cargill, M&M Mars, Philips Electronics, T-Mobile, Coldwell Banker, Electronic Arts, Rhapsody, CH2M Hill, PNC Bank, Hitachi, and Talisman Energy. Learn more at:

Recruiting Toolbox welcomes Chris Havrilla, Principal Consultant based in Atlanta

Posted on 06/19/12 by John Vlastelica No Comments

Recruiting Toolbox, Inc. is pleased to welcome Chris Havrilla to the team as a Principal Consultant, based in Atlanta.

Chris Havrilla started her career as a software engineer and IT consultant, so yes, she’s a bit of a geek…in a good way!  She quickly found her passion in recruitment and sourcing, and worked her way up from recruiter to recruiting leader at companies like Hitachi and Deloitte.  Since then, she’s been independently consulting with small and large companies, and contributing to the recruitment community as a blogger and speaker.

Now, as a consultant with Recruiting Toolbox, she will help clients identify and implement the right recruiting and sourcing systems and tools, build and deploy the right recruitment strategies and methods, and bring her real-world practitioner focus to make it all work well together – people + process + technology.

“I really enjoy helping recruiting teams get more from their investments in tools and technology – whether it’s a new sourcing tool, a CRM, or an ATS,” says Havrilla. “As part of the Recruiting Toolbox team, we can help companies better compete for talent in the short term, as well as help them with key initiatives that will set them up for long term recruiting success.”

John Vlastelica, Founder and Managing Director, adds, “We’ve been helping companies recruit better since 2002. With Chris’s expertise, we’ll bring our clients even more value, with a stronger presence in the recruitment systems and tools space.  Chris is a fantastic addition to our team. I first met her years ago, at a conference in Atlanta, and have been following her ever since.  She’s smart, generous, and analytical…and does a great job of balancing innovative ideas with the pragmatic, real-world solutions our clients expect. We are thrilled to welcome Chris to the team.”

Learn More:

About Recruiting Toolbox, Inc.

Recruiting Toolbox is a recruitment management consulting and training company. Our experienced consultants and trainers (all former corporate recruiting leaders) are 100% focused on helping companies recruit better. We’re not a search firm or contract recruiters. Instead, we help companies with recruiting and sourcing strategy, process improvement, systems selection and implementation, tool development and deployment, and custom-built recruiter and hiring manager training. Our work is leveraged by companies around the world, including Nike, Groupon, World Bank, Expedia, Eddie Bauer, Zumiez, REI,, Microsoft, Google, Concur,,, Corbis, Cargill, M&M Mars, Philips Electronics, T-Mobile, Coldwell Banker, Electronic Arts, Rhapsody, CH2M Hill, PNC Bank, and Talisman Energy. Learn more at: or contact us at

Free Webinar on ERE: How to Avoid the 10 Biggest Mistakes Corporate Recruiters Make

Posted on 01/30/12 by John Vlastelica 1 Comment

Date: Wednesday, May 9, 2012Time: 11am-Noon PT
Location: Webinar

Session: How To Avoid The 10 Biggest Mistakes Corporate Recruiters Make with John Vlastelica, Managing Director, Recruiting Toolbox
Session Overview and Registration: Link to ERE site

As a consultant and trainer to corporate recruiting teams, John Vlastelica gets to see what many of the best recruiters do differently. In this fun, sometimes irreverent webinar, John will share 10 of the biggest mistakes corporate recruiters make, and what you can do to avoid them. We’ll discuss…

  • poor assumptions recruiters make about sourcing, technology, and hiring managers,
  • things that can be career-killers when you’re looking to interview for your next recruiting job,
  • and some tactics to help you recruit better today.

I hope you can join us for this free webinar.

FORTUNE article: Looking to Hire? Don’t ask for the impossible

Posted on 01/25/12 by John Vlastelica

I was interviewed for an article on called “Looking to Hire?  Don’t ask for the impossible”  The reporter who called had seen some earlier work I’d written for the recruiter audience, with a focus on the role of a recruiter as a consultative partner, not a yes-man/woman, customer service rep, who simply carried out hiring manager requests and managed the “paperwork” part of the process. (More on that in another post…)

Finally, an article FOR hiring managers

However, for this article, her goal was to write to hiring managers - not recruiters – to help them understand how to better partner with recruiters.  A sort of “reality check” for frustrated hiring managers who often think hiring – especially in this economy – is easy! I. Love. It!  Rarely do we see good articles written for hiring managers. Check it out here:

Hiring Managers are our secret weapon!

One of my favorite focus areas as a speaker is around this very topic – how can we, as recruiting professionals, help our hiring managers succeed as hiring managers? This article is really timely, as I’m in the middle of building some custom training for a company that’s hell bent (in a great way!) on leveraging internal and external best practices to help their hiring managers attract, interview, and sell candidates really, really well.  They compete  for talent with better known, better resourced companies, and – as they’ll hear me say in a few weeks in the workshop – I believe their secret weapon is their hiring managers.

Here’s some content that didn’t make it into the article, that captures a few of the common denominator characteristics of the best hiring managers I’ve worked with in the last ~18 years.  It really boils down to this: Ownership.  Hiring managers who really own recruitment – like Nimrod at Ooyala (who leverages social media and old-school tech talks to find engineers) or Tom at Marchex (who built out a micro career site) – get the best hires.  As recruiters, we play a critical role in enabling that behavior, and those of us that do our jobs really well often find, screen and close the person they ultimately hire – but it’s those active, engaged hiring managers who  are true magnets for top talent.

Would love to hear what you think separates the good from the great hiring managers.  Sound off in the comments, please!

The key is ownership!

  • Hiring Managers who are successful are NOT passive, “wait for my recruiter to hire me someone good” types. They own recruiting for their opening. Recruiters are critical partners, but the hiring managers who hire the best talent are actively engaged in networking, soliciting quality referrals from inside and outside (think LinkedIn, alumni sites, associations) their companies, communicating the hiring standards/bar for the interviewers they select to help them hire, and uncovering – and selling to – a top candidate’s core motivators throughout the process.
  • In today’s economy, too many Hiring Managers believe there are a lot of A-player candidates dying to work for their company, in the role they have open, on their team, right now. “They should be lining up to work here!” – NOT! The reality is that A-players have a ton of options – in this or any economy – and they’re often not actively looking for a new job. They have to be recruited! And even though a great recruiter can get an A-player on the hook, it’s the hiring manager who must be able to ‘reel them in’. A-players need to experience the investment a hiring manager makes in them as a candidate, as it tells them volumes about how good – or how bad – it may be to work for that same manager once hired.