Category: Candidate Experience

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

Mobile Recruiting Camp Conference (mRec) – Atlanta – September 2013

Posted on 08/23/13 by John Vlastelica No Comments


Date: September 23, 2013 – closing session, 4pm ET
Location: Atlanta
Session: Does candidate experience matter on mobile?  

John Vlastelica, Managing Director, Recruiting Toolbox, will facilitate a panel of mobile recruiting experts to dive deep into the world of candidate experience on mobile.  

Panel Experts:

  • Jessica Lee, Director, Digital Talent Strategy at Marriott International
  • Mark Mergler, Co-Founder at Loop
  • Miki Mullor, Co-Founder at Jobaline

Details and Registration Info: mRec 2013

Fixing the HR Black Hole

Posted on 12/13/11 by John Vlastelica No Comments

I recently helped Dice interpret the results of a 300-tech candidate survey they completed around the HR black hole.  No surprise, a lot of savvy candidates are finding ways to avoid HR to get their resume directly into the hands of hiring managers.  Social media and the web have made this 100 times easier.

Some companies – like Microsoft – are making great strides towards a world where candidates can connect directly with recruiters.  (They make contact with recruiters easy on sites like this: Microsoft Careers).  And a whole bunch of other companies are taking candidate experience seriously…there are even awards now, that specifically recognize the great work taking place by recruiting leaders in our industry (The Candidate Experience Award Winners 2011).  And, as a judge and the conference awards panel host for the ERE Recruiting Excellence Awards, I regularly see candidate experience as a major focus for award winners.

Our team recently started a process improvement project that’s 100% focused on candidate experience.  We’re auditing the North American recruiting process for a 20,000+ employee company, with a focus on job posting and social media presence, career site ease of use and click-apply conversion, ATS auto-replies, recruiter communication and expectation setting, and the interviewing and offer process.  More and more companies are looking at their internal and external processes to see what kind of impact – if any – it’s having on their employer brand, their sourcing effectiveness (drop-offs and conversion), and other key metrics (speed, quality, cost, diversity, compliance).

Have you audited your candidate experience (or at least surveyed recent hires)?  If so, what did you learn?

Want some ideas?  Here are 5 basic things you can do now to plug the HR Black Hole: Dice White Paper

Making Social Media Work

Posted on 03/23/11 by Carmen Hudson 1 Comment

It’s fairly late; I’ve just returned to my hotel room, having just spent the last few hours socializing with ERE Expo attendees, vendors and organizers.

My favorite part of any conference is the socializing part.  In fact, I strongly believe that the real value in attending live events is the opportunity to get to know people.  While this year’s program promises to be stellar, I would happily trade the PowerPoint slides for an hour or two with colleagues (and a glass or two of wine).

Our little crowd spent the better part of the evening discussion entrepreneurialism, politics, economics, religion, relationships, and social issues.  We shared political views, passions, and family histories.  We even talked about recruiting.  At the end of the evening, I felt fortunate to work in an industry of smart, committed people who approach recruiting with a variety of world views.

I will be thinking about this conversation next week, when I co-present, along with Jennifer McClure, a Recruiting Trends Webinar:.  Making Social Media Work in Recruiting.

I believe that social media provides a starting point, a platform , a medium to reach out, to find, to discover, to listen and to share.  I know that to make social media work for recruiting, we must figure out how to harness the value of socialization on a big scale.  How can we quantify the value of a conversation?  How and when do we engage potential candidates by having a conversation with them?  And how do we turn all of this socialization into actual hires?

Many recruiting organizations are skeptical of the value of integrating socialization into the recruiting process.  Success stories are trickling in; hires have been made, but few reports of large scales success.  I am hoping to discover more success stories throughout the conference, by attending the conference sessions and by great having conversations with my colleagues.

On Broken Doors

Posted on 02/02/11 by John Vlastelica 1 Comment

I’ve been writing a lot (like here, and here, and here) about Social Media the past few weeks. I even did a Webinar on the topic.

One of my assertions is that because of Social Media, candidates are dramatically changing their behaviors during a job search. One of the key changes is that candidates are no longer satisfied to go through the front door at companies (like applying through the corporate website), which are (and have been) poorly executed entry points. This is mostly because the tools available to candidates are highly efficient, but the tools available to corporate recruiting departments are,….er…., not so highly efficient. So candidates are finding new ways into organizations through their social graph, which is causing substantial problems for corporate recruiting departments around the world.

Right after I wrote the latest piece, I had an interesting, extremely personal case study play out as I was driving back from Portland, Oregon:

So one of my best friends here in the Seattle area is a senior level sales guy; he does presales for a large software company.  We like to ride fast motorcycles together.

This happened yesterday.  Whenever I am driving, I usually talk on the phone.  It’s a productivity thing I do.  I talk so much I usually lose my voice by the end of the day.  Seriously, it happens.  So I was catching up with him.  And he starts telling me a story about how he was on LinkedIn, and got served up an ad for a Bellevue based SAS company called I had never heard of them. It sounded like an interesting job, but in his words, “there was no way I was going to go through the pain and suffering of applying through the LinkedIn application process…”

My ears perked up.

“So what did you do?” I asked.

“Well, first I did a Google search to find the the right person on the sales team at GlobalScholar. It wasn’t very hard to figure out who it was. I found her on a blog where she was quoted. I then looked her up on LinkedIn to get a read on her and her background. I then did another Google search to understand the email conventions at the company, which also wasn’t hard.”

I commented that there was a future for him in the recruiting industry if he was serious about changing jobs.

He laughed, and then said, “So then I just emailed her my resume…”

This sounds innocuous, but when you multiply it times thousands of people who are going to do the same thing it’s no wonder why corporate recruiting departments are struggling to keep up.  And remember, all of this automation and tools on the internet were supposed to make things more efficient.

So now I wonder what is going to happen next. I wonder if the company will make him apply online. Or if they will be able to execute an ad hoc recruitment process outside of standard protocols.

Regardless, I will keep you posted.

Join Jason Warner for a Recruiting Trends Webinar on Feb 1

Posted on 01/28/11 by John Vlastelica No Comments

An invitation from Jason Warner…

I’m doing my second webinar.  Ever.  I’ve done many speaking events up to about 1,000 people, but somehow the webinar channel was one that passed me by.  The first one didn’t go so hot… technical difficulties kicked everyone off the call half way through, but the panelists and I just kept talking, because we couldn’t tell if anyone was left on the line.  So this is Take Two.

It’s free.  If you’d like to join.  Details are here

I am moderating a panel with Eric Hurd, who is a super smart product development guy at TheLadders, and Melyssa Bernstein, who is a super smart woman who knows a whole lot about SEO, marketing and brand, and online strategy.  She is currently the Director of Client Strategy for TMP Worldwide.  You can see why I chose to be the moderator.  We will be discussing a lot of things, including macro-level trends that are affecting the talent marketplace and how social media is changing (and not changing) the game we call Recruiting.

So please join us, it’s on Tuesday morning.  And if the system crashes and drops you off the webinar, send me a note.   Otherwise I’ll just keep talking.

10 Best Practices for Screening Tech Resumes and Candidates

Posted on 03/26/09 by John Vlastelica 1 Comment

Too Many Tech Applicants?
While your company may be laying off or freezing headcount in most areas, you’re probably still hiring technology workers. If so, check out this new Best Practice guide Dice asked me to write. And feel free to share it with your Hiring Managers.

  • Learn 5 techniques for filtering out the unqualified resumes, and focusing your energy on the most qualified IT/technology applicants
  • Learn 5 techniques that will improve your phone interview effectiveness, and lead to better on site interviews

More best practice guides at

Joe Candidate: Problem Solver.

Posted on 08/12/08 by John Vlastelica No Comments

I just received an unsolicited resume from a guy for a job I don’t have. Not sure about his target marketing skills (I’m not a hiring authority, but I am networked with a bunch of companies and recruiters), but I am sure that his approach in his email grabs me more than a standard “let me introduce myself” email. He focuses on the problems he can solve. I like the concept. Do you see candidates “drawing you in” more with their emails, resumes, cover letters?

Dear Mr. Vlastelica,

Are all your Divisions / Operations performing up to expectations?

  • Do you have an operating unit that has a great product / service but needs experienced guidance?
  • Do you have a new operation that needs someone who can roll up his sleeves and work without the corporate net?
  • Do you have a “Problem Division” that needs someone to whip it into shape?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions I may be the answer to your problem.

[overview of background and resume followed]

Employment Branding

Posted on 12/05/07 by John Vlastelica 1 Comment

I’m going to risk preaching to the choir here…

I believe companies build their employment brands one candidate at a time.

It’s borderline amusing to me when people start talking about employment branding, and they immediately go to their “ugly careers site” and their “lack of a good tagline” and don’t discuss their recruiting and interviewing process. Come on!?!

Now, there’s no question you should have a quality careers site, and – I suppose – some sort of tagline (although most of those are so silly and generic – they’re all some sort of take-off on “Imagine the possibilities” or “Come join the winning team”, aren’t they?)

To really build a great employment brand, though, I think most companies would be better off investing their time and money in their candidate experience. I’ve been able to meet with many new hires and survey current candidates (both as an in-house corp recruiting leader and consultant), and I’ll tell you what – there’s usually quite a bit of room for improvement. And the things we can do to impact our candidate experience often have an (admittedly hard to measure) exceptionally high ROI on our employment brand.

I’ll talk about how you might baseline your current candidate experience, identify opportunity areas, and some of the lower hanging fruit (relatively cheap and easy) things you can do to improve candidate experience in future posts.

In the meantime, tell us: Are you measuring your candidate experience today? Do you have any insights into the way your improvements to candidate experience have improved your employment brand? Please share. We’d love to hear what you’re doing.