Employer Branding Talent Acquisition Timebound

Candidate Experience: Reality vs. Expectations

Last week over 180 in-house recruiters gathered for the Talent Leaders Connect event in London.

Acting as a forerunner to the Candidate Experience Awards (CandEs), an organisation’s candidate experience (or lack of) was hotly debated among some of the recruitment industry’s leading professionals.

The line-up included Global HRD and author Peter Wright; Forward Partners’ Matt Buckland, who recently gained national fame after blogging about an abusive fellow tube passenger who later turned up for an interview at his organisation; and Intel’s Sageet Tidhar-Akerman.

Candidate experience in 2015

Leading discussions included; the point at which the candidate experience becomes the employee experience; how important the onboarding process is at supporting employee engagement; what role the wider supply chain plays; and who owns the process.

On the spot polls showed that:

  • 50% of the 180 delegates were measuring the impact of a poor candidate experience.
  • 18% owned up to no one in their organisation being primarily responsible for the candidate experience.
  • 77% had struggled to find a specialist recruiter for hard to fill roles.
  • 42% considering the candidate experience when selecting/managing their supply chain.

Where are the good agency recruiters?

With the number of recruitment agencies in the UK increasing to 19,440 and most larger organisations running a tight Preferred Supplier List, why are so many organisations struggling to find a good agency recruiter?

In recent years, an increased focus on direct delivery has meant that recruitment agencies will, inevitably, only ever receive niche or hard to fill roles. Candidates will typically have a skill set that is hard to find or who are in short supply in the market. Of those 19,440 agencies in the market, 75% have less than 10 people working for them resulting in most of these smaller, often highly-specialist recruiters going under the radar of many businesses.

So a big part of the the challenge lies with the Preferred Supplier List (PSL).

Preferred Supplier Lists

PSLs were originally set up to ensure strong relationships, good performance and a reduction of administrative burden for the in-house team. They were designed to be a small list of suppliers who are signed up to terms, who can deliver on assignments, who understand their brand & EVP and can represent that effectively in the external market, and who can engage, compliantly, with them as an employer.

Are they able to deliver this in today’s increasingly polarised recruitment world? Surely the main performance measure is the quality of the candidate they are submitting?  If this is the case, why would you limit yourself to a small group of larger, well-known and mainstream agencies to find these candidates?

PSL delivery is based on 1-2-1 relationships with individual recruiters who may or may not have access to the best candidates, and who may or may not have the capacity to deliver. What happens if those individuals leave? Surely, as an employer, provided you continue to manage your brand messaging, you would want access to the best and highest quality candidates irrespective of where they might come from?

So at a time when over 75% of in-house recruiters are struggling to find a specialist recruiter and only 42% are considering the candidate’s experience in this process. Isn’t it time for something new? – John Paul Caffery – Founder of TheJobPost

RELATED: Recruiters – Wake Up! Why Candidate Experience is Crucial

candidate experience reality

By Jörgen Sundberg

Founder of Undercover Recruiter & CEO of Link Humans, home of The Employer Brand Index.