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The Ultimate Outcomes - Positive and Negative Candidate Experiences

By Kevin Grossman

How many candidates are visiting our careers site? How many are applying? Where are the candidates coming from? How many are being screened and interviewed, and what’s the hiring managers’ feedback? How many are getting offers, how many are declined offers, and why? Measuring recruiting activities and their outcomes is important for TA leaders and their teams.

While long-time recruiting and hiring metrics like Time to Fill, Time to Hire, Source of Hire, Interview-to-Offer Ratio, Employee Referral Rate, Employee Retention Rate, and many others may still be recruiting canon, ultimately, business leaders are focused on whether we are achieving our hiring goals to support and grow the business.

That’s the ultimate outcome. It’s not that the recruiting activities leading to this outcome aren’t important—they are. Employers with workforce plans must understand historical outcomes, current standings, and future needs.

Understanding a relatively small number of hires compared to most applicants who don’t get hired is challenging. So far, in 2024, only 11% of all our North American CandE Benchmark Research candidate responses are those candidates who were offered offers and accepted them. In other words, the new hires. In 2023, it was 9%. It’s even fewer in the other regions we track – EMEA, APAC, and Latin America. Of course, hire rates vary by job type, and there are multiple hires for ongoing roles, but most candidates still don’t get the job.

Of those hired in North America:

  • In 2024 (we’re still gathering data through August), 25% were current employees – i.e., internal mobility opportunities.

  • In 2023, 29% were current employees. Of all the candidates, hired and not hired, only 7% in 2024 were current employees, and in 2023, only 6% current employees.

  • Definitely, 1 in every 3-4 hires was an internal candidate, yet another testament to retention.

Those who are hired will always be much more willing to refer others—over 80% more willing in our research. They will also have a better overall experience—an over 70% better experience.

While the ultimate outcome in recruiting is the hire, we must consider the 90% who aren’t offered the job. It’s not about making every candidate happy; only those who get the job will be truly satisfied. So, what can we do?

It’s about providing a positive and fair candidate experience throughout the journey. This is challenging, especially in the current market, but ensuring a positive and fair candidate journey is crucial for achieving ultimate outcomes for the 90% who aren’t hired.

CandE Winners, companies that have above-average ratings in our annual research, consistently deliver positive and fair candidate experiences. The differences across the candidate journey are dramatic until we get to the offer and pre-boarding / onboarding stages (see table below).

This is because most employers are “all in” at the offer stage, focusing intensely on those they want to help grow and sustain their businesses.

2023 NPS Ratings Throughout the Candidate Journey

Yes, the ultimate outcome of recruiting is the hire. However, for all those not hired, the ultimate outcomes are positive and fair candidate experiences, and recruiting teams and hiring managers have more control over these experiences than they often realize. These are the key differentiators in our CandE Benchmark Research:

  • Consistent and timely communications from pre-application to onboarding

  • Consistent and timely expectation setting about the entire recruiting process

  • Consistent and timely engagement and follow-through throughout the candidate journey

  • Asking candidates for timely feedback and providing timely feedback to finalists

  • Being transparent and more accountable about your entire recruiting and hiring process


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