7 Actionable Insights from the Talent Board 2019 Candidate Experience Research Report

by Angela Griffiths

Candidates who have a positive experience during a recruitment process are more likely to increase their relationship with the recruiting company. This is just part of what the 2019 Talent Board’s Candidate Experience research report had revealed. 

Simply put, a candidate experience is an experience that a job seeker has with a potential employer through the recruitment process. This includes the job posting, initial application, the interview process, decision-making, to the job offer. 

A candidate’s experience with an employer is crucial since it can impact their decision to accept or decline a job offer. As they say, the first impression matters. This article highlights some valuable insights of the Talent Board’s Candidate Experience Research Report for 2019. 

What is the Talent Board Candidate Experience Awards Program?

Talent Board is a non-profit organization that aims at promoting quality candidate experience. Founded in 2011, the organization runs a Candidate Experience Awards program that recognizes companies that actively encourage candidate experience. 

Since its formation, the company has researched responses from more than 1200 companies worldwide and over 1.25 million candidates. Each year, numerous companies participate in this program to benchmark their candidate experience and learn new techniques from CandE Award winners.

The participating companies must send surveys to employment candidates, whether they qualified or not, to determine their experience during the entire recruitment process. Talent Board then recognizes employers with the highest candidate positive rankings and announces the CandE Award winners for that year. 

The 2019 Talent Board’s Candidate Experience Research Program features 200 participating companies and feedback from 130,000 job seekers. The job candidates were asked to share their experiences and thoughts through the Talent Board benchmark survey.

Most of the candidates in this survey were those that were rejected by companies and failed to proceed to the next step. Generally, participating companies had to give surveys to candidates not hired. According to Talent Board, rejected candidates have a significant impact on a business more than those that have already been hired.

Key Takeaways from 2019 Candidate Experience Report

Companies can attract the best talent possible by providing a positive and rewarding candidate experience. Here are some valuable insights from Talent Board’s 2019 Candidate Experience research program.

  1. Employers Should Ask for Candidate Feedback

As is evident in most Talent Board candidate experience research, candidate feedback plays a crucial role in ensuring a positive customer experience. Most candidates expect employers to give them insight into the application process, how long it will take, and the status of their application. Transparency also helps candidates understand their roles and why they should choose your company.

According to the report, asking candidates for feedback can also give employers valuable insights, including what’s important for the candidates and improving processes. It indicates that feedback given in a timely manner can positively impact the candidate’s perception of the company and solidify the relationship. 

It was also established that candidates interviewed and given same-day feedback were 52% more likely to send an application to that company again. The candidates also said that immediate feedback increases their chances of purchasing from that company and even referring others. 

However, lack of feedback is more likely to cause candidates resentment, where candidates are unwilling to apply again, purchase products, or refer others to the company. Ultimately, candidates are more than twice likely to end the relationship.

Unfortunately, not many employers find the need to give feedback to candidates regarding their applications. In 2019, Talent Board found that 5% of employers asked for candidates’ feedback after the application process. This was a drastic decrease from 8% in 2018. Also, only a handful of companies follow specific guidelines when giving feedback. 

  • Sharing Candidate Feedback with Recruiters

Incorporating the candidate experience in the recruiter’s dashboard and sharing their feedback with recruiters can play a vital role in the overall performance reviews. Talent Board found out that 45% of Candidate Experience Award winners regularly measure the candidate experience and share candidate feedback with recruiters. 

This had gone down from 61% in 2018. Nevertheless, there has been an increase in the number of employers discussing the candidate’s experience with recruiters in their performance reviews. 

  • Communication is a Competitive Differentiator

Something evident in the Talent Board Research is the importance of excellent communication. Like apt feedback, good communication can create a positive candidate experience. 

Talent Board found out that 2019 CandE winners constantly acknowledge the initial interest of job seekers and communicate with a definitive closure when they are no longer seeking after candidates. 

By maintaining clear communications from the beginning to the end of the application process, these companies were more likely to boost their relationship with the candidates. The tip is to keep them informed throughout the recruitment process, including when applicants make their applications. 

Keep them updated on the hiring process so they know what to expect. Also, it helps to keep candidates aware of their status rather than keep them in the dark. This is essential even if they have not been chosen for the interview. 

CandE Award winners use various strategies to keep them informed from the beginning to the end of the process to ensure ongoing communication with applicants. They include:

  • Text Messaging

The candidate experience research report indicates a 56% increase in the number of employees that sent mobile text notifications to keep candidates updated. Moreover, candidates who got message notifications rated their candidate experience 50% higher than those who didn’t receive mobile text notifications.

  • Chatbots

Candidates that engaged with a recruiting chatbot gave a higher rating for their candidate experience than candidates who didn’t. According to the report, candidates who could ask chatbot questions were more likely to increase their relationship with their employer by 80%.

  • Personalization

Still on communication, the Talent Board research established the need for a personalized candidate experience. Candidates want to feel that they have been selected because of their unique skills and talent and not just because they are another group of candidates.

Therefore, if a candidate is not qualified to proceed to the next level, they prefer to be told this over the phone rather than by email. Other than the hiring decisions, employers can also personalize every aspect of the candidate experience, from the initial outreach to the candidate experience during the interview and more. 

Talent Board’s research found that only 7% of candidates got to know that they didn’t get the job offer over the phone. Yet, the same study showed that candidates rated their candidate experience 28% higher when hiring managers and recruiters communicated through phone calls rather than on automated mail. 

Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, which was among the 2019 Candidate Experience Award winners, noted a 23% increase in positive experience thanks to the human touch of personalization. 

  • Information About Organizations Should Be Easily Accessible

Job seekers take a more strategic approach to research companies before sending a job application. Over 70% of candidates researched a job before applying, and 59% of candidates ranked CandE winner employers because they could easily access their information when they researched the organization. 

The rank was 10% higher than for employers who didn’t provide information that candidates could easily access during the pre-application research. Here are some areas you may want to put more effort in. 

  • Company Culture and Employee Testimonials 

According to Talent Board Research, the company culture and employee testimonials are the most important types of information that candidates seek. 

Candidates have shown a preference for companies that are transparent about their company culture. It was established that 40% of candidates wanted more information to help them understand the company culture than what was already available. Also, nearly 26% of the candidates chose employee testimonials for their preferred marketing content.

  • FAQ Section

Candidates want to get quick answers to their questions. Some of the common candidate’s common questions, according to the report, include, “Why do people want to work here” with 29% votes and “Why people stay here” with 26% votes. Companies can, therefore, use a FAQ bot to answer common questions. 

  • Value of Job Descriptions

Something else highlighted in the Talent Board research was the value of job descriptions. According to the research, 50% of candidates consider the job description valuable, which dropped from 55% in 2017 and 77% in 2014. 

This was followed by other job content like application details and next steps at 42% and benefit details at 28%. Also, 6% of the candidates said they found video job descriptions valuable, which dropped from 8% in 2017. 

  • Top Company Research Resources

Talent Board’s research also shows that job seekers use various sources to research a brand and its culture, one of them being the career site. The employer’s career site has constantly been a top research source, with 60% of candidates using it. Also, 32% of candidates chose job alerts, while 31% said they preferred to research a company’s LinkedIn careers page.

For the fifth consecutive year, career sites also remain a top option for employers to engage potential candidates online, with 77% of companies voting for it. This was followed closely by LinkedIn pages at 62% and job boards at 52%. Therefore, employers need to provide more accurate information about the job and the responsibilities in their job postings. 

As for the research channels, Indeed garnered 73% of candidates’ preferences, 56% for LinkedIn, 37% for Glassdoor, 24% for ZipRecruiter, and lastly, CareerBuilder at 22%.

  • Speed is Necessary 

Candidates expect a speedy application process, from the initial application, the interview process, and the decision-making process. Employers that embrace speed are more likely to enjoy better candidate engagement than those that don’t.

The Talent Board research revealed that the candidate’s willingness to enhance their relationship with the employer increases by 192% for CandE Award winners and 168% for all employers when they receive an offer within one week of the last interview. 

This means that employers need to streamline every aspect of the application process and move as quickly as possible. Otherwise, candidates can abandon the recruitment process halfway. Additionally, employees must be honest with candidates regarding how long the entire application process will take. 

  • Mobile Applications are Critical

Living in a tech-savvy world, employers increasingly need to make the recruitment process mobile-friendly to help increase candidate engagement. In the research, the CandE-winning employers offer a mobile-friendly recruiting process, and their candidates used mobile apps to apply 11% more than candidates from other companies.

It was also established that candidates who could use mobile applications were 32% more likely to increase their relationship with the employer. 

  • Increased Candidate Engagement Reduce Resentment

There is no denying that candidate resentment is on the rise. The North American Candidate Experience Research Report shows that nearly 11% of candidates are willing to sever the relationship with a potential employer due to a poor candidate experience. 

Generally, candidate resentment has increased by 40% since 2016. This can impact whether or not a candidate applies for a job again, make purchases from that company, or even refer others. Interestingly, 25% of candidates who have been rejected say that they will willingly increase their relationship with a company if they have a positive candidate experience. 

By taking the time to determine what candidates want and implementing strategies to build meaningful relationships with them, employers can enhance the candidate experience. This, in turn, can boost candidate engagement and reduce resentment. 

Besides, Talent Board has developed a resentment calculator to help recruiters estimate their potential losses due to poor candidate experience. With this information and the candidate’s feedback, you can come up with an effective strategy to transform the overall candidate experience. 


The CandE benchmark research program is an effective way for companies to know where they stand regarding candidate experience. Companies should emphasize enhancing the customer experience throughout the recruitment process.  Ultimately, understanding the candidate’s expectations goes a long way in ensuring a good candidate experience. As is evident in the Talent Board Research, employers can ensure this by improving the communication process, giving prompt feedback, ensuring more transparency in the hiring process, promoting your brand, and embracing speed in the recruitment process. 

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