By Cliff Stevenson, Principal Analyst, Talent Management and Workforce Management

Count yourself lucky if you don’t have to spend as much time at HR-related conferences as I do, but I can tell you that candidate experience is a very popular term right now.

Brandon Hall Group’s latest research on this topic shows why: when asked about their current candidate experience practices, only 26% of organizations rated themselves as “very effective”. Considering 34% rated themselves as “somewhat effective,” that is some very disturbing data (to rehash the old joke, you certainly wouldn’t fly in a plane that was rated as “somewhat effective”).

As a former HR professional, I get it. Overly bureaucratic or compacted hiring procedures and a poor online application site may be out of your hands but not surprisingly are also the #1 and #5 most commonly listed challenges in the survey referenced above. However, there are opportunities for improvement, or there wouldn’t be as much investment in this area as I’m seeing.

The one data point that makes me most optimistic is that when asked about what they were going to do to improve their candidate experience, the top response was “Get candidate feedback about their recruitment through hiring experience.” We often say that in these surveys there is no wrong answer and that might be true, but this is the right answer! Fourteen different choices and most people picked the correct one. Second only to that was that 32% of organizations were planning to improve their career site, which also shows a real investment in improving the experience for potential hires.

All of these things matter; organizations that rated themselves as somewhat effective or not at all effective were 33% more likely to have an offer-decline rate of 26-50%. I know that’s a lot of percentages for one sentence, so let me put it like this: if your company doesn’t care about candidate experience, then candidates don’t care about working for your company. It’s as simple as that.

There are other ancillary benefits related to overall business outcomes, too, and there are also some very good real-life examples of organizations that turned their entire candidate experience around (in a good way), but I’ll leave those for our upcoming webinar, “How to Deliver a Market-Leading Candidate Experience” coming up December 3rd, where I’ll be joined by Nick Hutchison, the Head of Talent Acquisition for SABA and we will discuss all of this and fielding your questions live. Please join us then and there!

Cliff Stevenson, (Twitter: @CliffordDarrell email: Principal Analyst, Talent Management and Workforce Management, Brandon Hall Group

 For more information on Brandon Hall Group’s research, please visit

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