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May 20, 2015

There is a robust conversation in the talent arena about the “candidate experience,” led largely by Gerry Crispin and Elaine Orler, founders of the Talent Board and the Candidate Experience Awards (#CandE).

There are lots of opinions about whether ensuring that candidates for hire have a high quality experience is meaningful. Some think the juice isn’t worth the squeeze. But I think most believe treating candidates like consumers is smart business.

A social approach to applying for a job

Two new vendor publications discuss aspects of candidate experience:

Both reports were published within the last month and contain an analysis of current data. The RolePoint whitepaper was written by global recruiting legend Bill Boorman.

It highlights Intuit’s approach to embracing a social approach to the application process, with a particular focus on making the application process streamlined and device agnostic “with equal attention paid to user experience and interface on both desktop and mobile.” Bill is a legend for a reason and his approach to this topic in the whitepaper is compelling.

Referrals that reach beyond employees

The Smashfly presentation provides insight into the employee/candidate referral landscape with some interesting data:

  • 77 percent of organizations currently have a formal referral program.
  • 32 percent of new hires come from referrals, on average, and rate highest in quality among sources of hire.
  • 57 percent of organizations limit their referral program to employees only.
  • 43 percent extend their program beyond employees to include alumni, contractors, customers, vendors and/or partners

Analysis shows those that reach beyond employees get 28 percent more hires from referrals and 8 percent better quality candidates when they do.

Referrals vs. other sources

This survey data is interesting, and I key in on the fourth bullet point, because extending referrals into other stakeholder groups makes a great deal of sense – and correlates to higher quality candidates.

Take a look below:smashfly-may-19-2015

Making a bigger deal out of referrals

If you’re in the 23 percent of employers without a candidate referral program, this might be a “wake up and smell the coffee” moment. If you’re in the 57 percent of organizations limiting referrals to employees only, this might be a pedal to the metal moment.

Either way, whether you’re recruiting programmers, developers, customer service agents, nurses, marketers, HR professionals or executives, approaching your trusted partners – including employees – for referrals makes good, logical sense. And treating potential candidates like consumers, that is, making it as easy for them to press the “apply” button as it is to press the “buy” button seems like a tenant from Econ 101.

Want more information? Check out these reports from RolePoint and Smashfly.

This originally appeared on China Gorman’s blog at

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