Candidate Experience Technology Has Reached An Inflection Point
People have been talking about the whole lifecycle of candidate experience for quite some time. Heck, there’s even someone many in the industry refer to as “The Godfather of Candidate Experience”—Gerry Crispin. Relatively recently, though, one aspect of the topic has been quickly moving to the forefront of talent acquisition professionals’ minds, and that’s the role of technology.
As part of the Brandon Hall Group’s 2015 Excellence in Technology Awards, Jibe’s Candidate Experience Platform just won the first-ever gold medal in their “Best Advance in Candidate Experience Management Technology” category. While we’re excited to put another award in our trophy case, what makes this one special is the fact that candidate experience technology is finally getting the attention it deserves.
For years, we’ve been harping on the fact that the delivery of a consumer-quality candidate experience for job seekers, from the moment they think about looking for a new job through their application process, and everywhere in between, can have a profound impact on talent acquisition performance. The industry has definitely reached an inflection point in how it regards candidate-facing tech—we’ll explore this topic below.
Candidate Experience Earns Its Spot in the HR Tech Stack
Just like every major department within a business, human resources has a set of IT resources it leverages to support its operation. In the past several decades, we’ve seen this mix of HR technology evolve, with once nice-to-have categories of software attaining “must-have” status in the department’s IT stack. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), coupled with the consumerization of IT has definitely sped this process up, but more on that later.
Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) were added to the HR tech stack not all that long ago. They were—and still are—a much-needed, dedicated tool that went a step beyond Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software, automating and centralizing many typical recruiting functions.
For most recruiting teams, especially ones hiring hundreds or thousand of people, the ATS is their IT backbone. But while the ATS has excelled as a system of record for talent acquisition management, the concurrent rise in candidates taking to the internet for the job search and apply process has placed more emphasis on the candidate-facing aspects of the ATS—essentially forcing it to be used as a system of engagement.
We don’t have to be the ones to tell you, the ATS’s notoriously lackluster UX and UI has made career site candidate experience a nightmare for job seekers. Their expectations have outpaced what legacy software can offer in this realm, which has really given way to a new software category—candidate experience software, solutions that typically integrate with the ATS, built to meet and exceed candidates’ dynamic digital expectations during the search and apply process.
In the past several years, we’ve seen first hand the move of candidate experience software from a nice-to-have to a must-have. The simplicity of SaaS delivery and subscription models is making this a reality for not just the traditional big budget, large organizations, but ones of all sizes. The fact that Brandon Hall Group and other independent analyst firms are covering this space more intently than ever is indicative of its rising importance as a strategic HR technology.
The War for Talent: Candidate Experience Is the New Battlefield
It’s an interesting, and yet challenging time to be in the talent acquisition space. “Talent” has an enormous amount of power right now. Skilled professionals are both hard to come by and in-demand, which means the stakes have been raised for being able to convert them wherever, whenever their time-for-a-new job moment happens to be.
Bersin by Deloitte showed that last year the top source of hire was the career site. From social recruiting to recruitment marketing, and an unprecedented focus on employer branding, so many trends and hot topics in the talent acquisition space this year revolved around getting candidates to come to the career site—much like digital marketers want consumers or buyers to come to their website.
The question is, why do all that work to get them there if the UX and UI aren’t optimized for conversions? We’re seeing lots more companies start to think of both the career site and the full lifecycle of candidate experience from the perspective of their job seekers, and evaluate the strength of their competitors’ in that regard. It’s not hard to believe that the war for talent can be won or lost based on candidate experience.