Candidate Experience Survey Best Practices: How to Ask for Candidate Feedback

Asking for candidate feedback is your best resource for improving your candidate experience and a crucial step for creating a strong employer brand. Yet, in our research report, Inside the Candidate Experience, we found that 44% of organizations did not provide an opportunity for candidates to give feedback through a candidate experience survey. 

In an HRO Today and PeopleScout global survey, employers reported significant challenges in capturing candidate feedback, with many saying that a top struggle is having “no formal way to capture candidate feedback.” 

Candidate Experience Survey

This is a missed opportunity. To truly improve your candidate experience, you must ask your candidates what they think and make improvements based on their input. If you’re not leveraging candidate survey tools to gather feedback from your candidates, you are passing up valuable insights that can help you improve your employer brand, lower attrition and shorten your hiring cycle. 

Why is Candidate Experience Important? 

As consumers, our expectations are soaring. We demand that brands deliver seamless, intuitive and personalized experiences to keep us engaged. In the fight for talent, the same rules apply. 

Competition in the labor market and the increased demand for both diverse talent and digital skills means that coveted candidates have more options than ever before. They can afford to be picky, holding out for the employer that engages and inspires them during the recruitment process. 

It’s easier than ever for job seekers to broadcast their impressions of your brand. In fact, 83% of candidates share their poor experiences with friends and family, with 54% taking to social media to voice their discontent—and that has major ramifications for your employer brand.  

For 78% of candidates the overall candidate experience is an indicator of how a company values its people. Plus, candidates are also consumers, and a poor candidate experience can impact whether you retain an applicant as a customer. 

Candidate Experience Survey Questions 

If you’re serious about improving your candidate experience, the best way to source ideas is through your talent audience. Introducing a candidate experience survey is a must for any organization that wants to secure top talent. These insights are invaluable for identifying areas of improvement and can help you prioritize your candidate experience optimization projects. 

When it comes to measuring the candidate experience, NPS has become a popular metric.  

Net Promoter Score, or NPS, began as a way for organizations to measure customer satisfaction and loyalty. By asking one question—“On a scale from 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend this product/company to a friend or colleague?”—organizations can gauge which customers are promoters, and which are detractors. The NPS scale ranges from -100 to +100, and the higher the score the better. 

candidate experience survey candidate nps

By applying this same concept to the candidate experience, a Candidate Net Promoter Score, or CNPS, becomes a benchmark with which to measure your candidate experience. It’s best practice to also include a place for candidates to provide additional thoughts and comments, so you can gather both quantitative data and qualitative data.  

By asking one simple question and the candidate’s reasoning for their rating, you can gather valuable data to drive continuous improvement in your candidate experience. Measuring CNPS over time will show how your talent acquisition investments are impacting your overall recruitment outcomes. 

When to Send a Candidate Experience Survey 

Consider adding a candidate experience survey email to your CRM after critical stages in your recruitment process, like:  

  • After the completion of an application 
  • After the completion of an assessment center 
  • After the completion of an interview 
  • Upon rejection 
  • All of the above  

Asking for feedback should be a priority regardless of outcome for the candidate.  

Creating a Feedback Loop 

Remember, when it comes to feedback throughout the recruitment process, it’s a two-way street. Employers should be equally committed to soliciting feedback from candidates about their experience, and providing feedback back to candidates, particularly to those who advance further into the selection process. Providing opportunities to give and collect feedback throughout the process will provide you with valuable insights and offer an engaging candidate experience, ultimately improving your recruitment outcomes.  

To get the full research and more actionable candidate experience insights, download theInside the Candidate Experience 2023 Report. 

The Multigenerational Workforce: Gen Z in the Workplace

To continue our series, The Multigeneration Workforce, this article explores the challenges and opportunities of Gen Z in the workplace. For the first time in modern history, four generations are working side-by-side: Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z. The ratios will change over the coming years—and so will each group’s level of influence.  

Gen Z is overtaking Baby Boomers as the largest generation history, boasting an incredible two billion people globally, and is set to become the largest demographic in the workplace by the end of the decade. Leaders must not underestimate the impact this generation’s ideas and perspective will have on the world and the workplace. By understanding their needs and preferences, you can attract, engage and hire the best Gen Z talent to propel your workforce into the future. 

Who is Gen Z? 

While sources vary, Gen Z is generally defined as the generation born approximately between 1995 and 2010. They are the first generation to grow up with the internet and social media and have come of age in a time marked by 9/11, polarized politics, economic fluctuations and climate woes. They watched their parents lose jobs during the Great Recession. Then, they experienced the biggest educational and workplace disruption in modern history as COVID-19 lockdowns led to their classes moving online, a surge in unemployment and psychological distress.  

As voracious consumers and creators of digital media, they focus on curating their online presence and have developed an “unapologetically me” ideology. As a result, they are generally socially progressive and value diversity.  

Perhaps ironically, growing up in this hyperconnected online world has also fueled feelings of isolation and loneliness among many Gen Z-ers. Seeing friends posting content and having fun (cue the #FOMO), alongside the pressure to keep on top of social trends, can make the feelings of disconnection even more acute, leading to increases in depression and anxiety.

Gen Z in the workplace

What Matters to Gen Z in the Workplace? 

Gen Z-ers have different expectations and priorities than previous generations of workers. They’ve expressed less loyalty than past cohorts and are more pragmatic. They don’t assume they’ll have a social safety net upon retirement since seeing layoffs and pensions shrinking.  

Here are some more characteristics to look out for when hiring Gen Z candidates. 

Fighting for Social Change  

After witnessing the #MeToo and Black Lives Matter movements as well as the increased frequency of natural disasters due to climate change, Gen Z is seeking employment that matches their personal values. They believe in their ability to make a difference individually and are also demanding that employers do their part to help build a better future.  

LinkedIn released a global study of nearly 10,000 professionals which found that 68% of workers in the UK, France, Germany and Ireland consider it important to work for companies that are aligned with their values. In the U.S., it’s higher at 87%. Gen Z is driving this shift, with nearly 90% in Europe saying they would leave a job to work somewhere that better matches their values.  

Digitally Native but Digitally Unsure 

Growing up with access to the internet and mobile devices has led to a widespread presumption that Gen Z-ers are innately good with tech. However, new research shows this may not be the case at work.  

One in five of the 18-to-29-year-olds polled in HP’s Hybrid Work: Are We There Yet? report said they felt judged when experiencing technical issues in the workplace. Furthermore, this “tech shame” leads 25% of young professionals to actively avoid participating in a meeting if they think it will expose their tech shortcomings.  

Generation Disenchanted? 

Much has been said about the number of older workers taking early retirement, but the biggest rise in inactivity since the pandemic has not been among Baby Boomers, but workers aged between 18 and 24. In the UK, the share of workers in this age group classed as economically inactive—meaning they’re not actively working or looking for a job—stood at a record high of 32% in the second quarter of 2022. Plus, of those who are students or currently unemployed, 1 in 10 said they never intend to start working.  

In a rejection of the “girlboss” and “hustle culture”, the hashtag #IDontDreamOfLabor has taken off as a platform for Gen Z to speak candidly about their rejection of work as the basis for identity, framing it instead as a financial necessity for paying the bills. In the shadow of the Great Resignation, Gen Z is vocal about the role of work in their lives—sometimes to viral acclaim. Some have taken to TikTok to coach their peers on how to negotiate salaries, which red flags to look out for in the interview process and how to stick up for what they want at work.  

The formative experience of the Great Recession combined with entering the workforce during the pandemic has taught young people that hard work doesn’t necessarily guarantee stability. They want better than what their parents had and aren’t shy about demanding more from their employers. Organizations who can navigate these expectations will win the hearts of Generation Z. 

Gen Z at work

Strategies for Engaging Gen Z at Work

To help Gen Z workers become as productive and successful as possible, employers need to showcase their values and offer a combination of ongoing wellbeing support and robust skills training.  

1. Evaluate Your Employer Brand for Gen Z 

As most young people seeking employment with a company they can believe in, it’s important to build an employer brand that resonates with Gen Z values. In the recent global study, Inside the Candidate Experience, PeopleScout found that the top things Gen Z job seekers look for when evaluating a job are: 

  1. Mission and purpose 
  1. Flexible working and work/life balance 
  1. DE&I; Company culture (tied) 

With mission and purpose as the top factor for Gen Z job seekers, it’s surprising how few organizations include this information on their career websites. On the sites we examined, we found an organization’s mission and purpose less than half (48%) of the time. This means that half of companies are passing up an opportunity to engage emotionally with their young talent audiences and assist prospects in understanding how the job they have applied for fits into that goal. Candidates won’t look at your open roles if they can’t identify your mission on your careers site. 

2. Embrace Social Media  

Despite concern over how much Gen Z-ers use and consume social media, it is their main way of staying connected, so it is imperative for employers to have a strong presence on social. Two-thirds of candidates use social media to research companies during their job search. Yet, a third of employers are not posting career related content (above and beyond job listings) to their social channels at least once a week.  

Favorite social platforms for Gen Z include TikTok, Instagram and YouTube—so consider creating video content to engage talent from this generation. “Day in the life” videos are a great way to provide a realistic job preview and show early careers talent what it’s like to work at your organization. 

3. Showcase Your DE&I Efforts 

Diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) is a top consideration for Gen Z candidates when looking for a job, and they’ll be scrutinizing any employer to separate lip service from authentic DE&I action. When candidates from underrepresented groups are searching for jobs, the right job title might be enough to get them to click on a posting—but whether they actually apply is influenced by what they read and hear about how an organization treats its people.  

Representation matters, and employers who showcase employees across a range of demographics show candidates that people from diverse backgrounds can flourish at their organization. Ensure your recruitment communications include voices and stories from underrepresented groups at all levels of the organization.  

Employers should also strive for transparency with their diversity recruitment data and share any plans they have in place to shift the dial around representation. Then, when candidates from underrepresented groups encounter similar voices throughout the recruitment process, they’ll realize that not only are they welcome at the organization, but they’ll also have the opportunity to thrive and progress.  

4. Offer Employee Mental Wellness Benefits 

Growing up entirely in the digital age has undeniably had an impact on how this generation interacts with others. With fewer in-person exchanges, some 37% of Gen Z feels worried that technology weakens their ability to maintain strong interpersonal relationships and develop people skills. Living in a world of non-stop communication through apps and social media also contributes to mental health conditions like anxiety. The strain of modern living on mental health has been further exacerbated by the pandemic and lockdown life. 

Gen Z-ers are proud advocates for mental health, sharing their experiences and removing the stigma around depression and anxiety. According to Cigna International Health’s 2023 survey of almost 12,000 workers around the world, 91% of 18-to-24-year-olds report being stressed. And they’re looking for support from their employer. A whopping 92% of university students say employers should offer mental well-being benefits, and more than a third (36%) are prioritizing those who do as they start their careers. 

Employee assistance programs, employee resource groups and workplace mental health training are all ways employers are creating a culture that promotes mental health and wellbeing. Gen Z will be drawn to employers who are joining the conversation around mental health and creating a safe space to raise and address these issues. 

5. Highlight Growth Opportunities for Gen Z

Worryingly, 37% of young people say their education did not adequately prepare them with the technology skills they need for their career. This digital native generation is lacking in the digital literacy most organizations need to fuel future innovation.  

Gen Z is prioritizing employers who demonstrate investment in developing their employees’ skills and career paths. Employers who highlight training, mentoring and professional development programs in their recruitment materials will satisfy Gen Z’s ambition and desire to grow.  

Training for new Gen Z joiners should center around soft skills like resilience, relationship building and empathy, enabling people from this cohort to manage their own stress levels effectively and to understand when and how they should ask for help. Face-to-face support and mentoring programs are a core elements of training for Gen Z in the workplace. Mentoring and reverse mentoring are being widely embraced by organizations across industries, enabling more senior employees to share their experience with the younger generation to counteract skills gaps, while also tapping into the knowledge and insights of Gen Z in the areas of social trends and digital media.  

Gen Z in the Workplace: Embracing Positive Change 

As organizations plan for the future of work, they must work harder to appeal to the savvy Generation Z-ers entering the workforce. While most employers understand the importance of inclusivity and ethical decision-making, this generation will hold them accountable to putting those principles into action. Employers must embrace these values and the positive changes brought by Gen Z in the workplace. Talent acquisition leaders should keep their finger on the pulse of how these young workers will shape how we hire and develop talent in the coming decades. 

Check out our report to learn more about the future of work:

Future of Work


5 Ways Project RPO Can Boost Your Talent Acquisition Program Right Now [Infographic]

While the global economic landscape continues to fluctuate, many employers are looking for short-term talent acquisition support that can be set up quickly to gain agility in an unpredictable market. Rather than a full recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) solution, organizations are turning to project RPO. If you’re looking for recruitment support without making huge investment, PeopleScout can help.

Here are five ways PeopleScout’s Recruiter On-Demand™, can help you improve your recruitment outcomes without increasing your permanent recruiter headcount.

Check out this infographic to learn how to boost your recruitment agility with PeopleScout’s Recruiter On-Demand solution.

An infographic explaining the benefits of PeopleScout project RPO solutions, Recruiter On-Demand.

1. Save Time 

Recruiter On-Demand or project RPO can help you speed up your time-to-fill by handling all or part of the recruitment process. Typically, the implementation takes between two to four weeks, depending on the information we receive from clients, and we regularly exceed our rapid recruiter deployment schedule. 

2. Save Money 

PeopleScout’s Recruiter On-Demand solution rivals the capabilities and costs of traditional staffing agencies, but rather than a pay-per-hire model, it’s based on an hourly model, making it a cost-effective way to meet your talent needs. 

3. Reach Hard-to-Find Talent 

Project RPO is a great way to augment your in-house team by taking over the recruitment process for hard-to-fill roles due to skills shortages. Whether you need specialized IT, healthcare or manufacturing talent, our recruiters are assigned based on industry experience, not cost and availability. 

4. Gain Agility 

Recruiter On-Demand leverages our scalable recruitment teams and global delivery centers to help manage fluctuations in in hiring volumes, particularly for seasonal peaks, without the need for additional internal resources. Plus, we can seamlessly disengage once you fulfill your business objectives. 

5. Fill the Top of Your Funnel 

One of the common use cases of Recruiter On-Demand or project RPO is top-of-funnel sourcing. In this scenario, your ROD team works to fill the top of your recruitment funnel with more candidates. This gives your internal teams back time to review applications, interview candidates and make hiring decisions. 

Recruiter On-Demand SOLUTION GUIDE

How a Project-Based RPO Can Solve Your Toughest Talent Challenges

Recruiter On-Demand™: How Project RPO Can Solve Your Toughest Talent Challenges

Recruiter On-Demand™: How Project RPO Can Solve Your Toughest Talent Challenges

While the global economic landscape continues to fluctuate, many employers are turning to project RPO, rather than a traditional full RPO engagement. PeopleScout’s Recruiter On-Demand™ solution can drastically improve your talent acquisition outcomes.

Recruiter On-Demand give you access a readily available pool of recruitment professionals when and where you need them—all without increasing your permanent recruiter headcount.

In this solution guide, you’ll learn:

  • The most common use cases for Recruiter On-Demand or project RPO
  • How a short-term RPO solution can benefit your business
  • How we’ve created lasting impact for our clients with Recruiter On-Demand

3 Ways Your Recruitment CRM Can Give Candidates What They Want

A candidate relationship management (CRM) tool is at the center of any strong recruitment process, but I can almost guarantee that you aren’t making the most of yours. According to Aptitude Research, only 2% of companies use all of the functionality of their recruitment CRMs, and more than 60% of employers spend more on their CRM than on their applicant tracking system (ATS).  

Most likely, your CRM could be doing more to improve your recruiting process and candidate experience, and 2023 is the perfect year to optimize it. That’s because you can add functionality without additional budget — a key benefit in an uncertain global economy. With your CRM, you can: 

  • Appeal to the 70% of candidates who are not actively looking for a job, but would move for the right position.  
  • Provide that consumer-like candidate experience that has become the cost of entry for employers.  
  • Share your employer value proposition more effectively with candidates of all backgrounds.  

Below are three ways you can improve your own processes and the experience candidates have when they interact with your brand. 

1. Appeal to Candidates From Underrepresented Backgrounds & Supercharge Your Diversity Initiatives 

Whether you’re looking to increase the number of female employees in a male-dominated industry; fulfilling your commitment to helping veterans; or building a team that reflects the diversity of your customers, issues around diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) remain a focus for talent acquisition leaders. Fortunately, many CRMs feature the ability to create microsites, which let you share your employer brand more effectively with candidates from underrepresented backgrounds that you want to target.  

Sometimes called landing pages, these microsites drive diverse traffic to your careers site and showcase your DE&I initiatives. Of course, diversity means something different for different employers. Therefore, consider building a microsite for each target group that contains messaging and content of interest to them. With a recruitment marketing campaign that showcases the representation that already exists in your organization, in addition to a targeted microsite, you can boost your DE&I recruitment outcomes.  

At PeopleScout, our AffinixTM microsites are fast and easy to set up—and they also yield results. For example, one client was looking to increase its percentage of female hires from just 7%. By building a landing page and campaign that featured the stories of real women who love and are excelling at their jobs, PeopleScout was able to increase that number to 18%. 

2. Provide a Consumer-Level Application Experience & Reduce Candidate Fall-Out 

If you’re seeing a lot of candidates falling out in your application process, that’s a sign that your candidate experience isn’t meeting expectations. In 2023, a mobile-first application that only takes a few minutes to complete is essential. If you’re missing that mark, you’re missing out on top talent.  

In particular, look for a recruitment CRM with a quick-apply feature that allows candidates to submit only the most important information. While you’ll likely need more details from the candidate, you can gather that later in the process. As an added benefit, CRM features—like on-demand assessments and text questionnaires—can also keep candidates more engaged as they move through the interview and assessment stage faster.  

Additionally, a shortened application is a simple change that can have a profound effect on your recruitment outcomes. As an example, one PeopleScout client went from a long application with a 30% conversion rate to one that took less than 10 minutes to fill out with an 80% conversion rate. It also shaved eight to 10 days off their time-to-fill.  

3. Find Candidates Who Don’t Realize You’ve Posted Their Dream Jobs & Fill Your Most Challenging Roles 

When you post a new job opening, somewhere out there is that perfect person for the role: There’s a chance your open position is someone’s dream job, but do they even know it exists? Realistically, there’s a very good chance that they don’t, and they won’t come across your posting on their own. So, it’s up to your recruiting team to find them and pitch the job that they’ve been waiting for. 

Some recruitment CRMs have automated talent matching that search candidate databases to find qualified candidates for any role. These are then ranked by how closely they fit the role requirements, how likely they are to leave their current position, and their average tenure. Unlike a manual sourcing process, an automated talent matching feature like this can help fill the top of your funnel in seconds.  

Notably, in PeopleScout’s Affinix CRM, Talent Finder is one option for automation technology that can find and filter qualified candidates. Our Diversity Boost feature also amplifies diverse candidates to help you reach your DE&I goals. Then, once you find that perfect match, you can bring them through the process and provide a good candidate experience—if you’re getting the most out of your CRM. 

Keep in mind that this list only scratches the surface of what your CRM could bring to your recruitment process if properly optimized for your organization. While candidate expectations continue to shift, at the end of the day, they’re looking to build the right relationship with the right organization. It’s up to you to start that relationship off right. 

Research Report

Inside the Candidate Experience

PeopleScout Jobs Report Analysis—March 2023

U.S. employers added 236,000 jobs in March, a slowdown from the start of the year. This shows a gradual cooling of the labor market that experts have wanted to see. The unemployment rate fell slightly to 3.5%. Year-over-year wage growth fell to 4.2%.

march jobs report infographic

The Numbers

236,000: Employers added 236,000 jobs in March.

3.5%: The unemployment rate fell to 3.5%.

4.2%: Wages rose 4.2% over the past year.

The Good

As the Wall Street Journal reports, March’s report shows that the job market is starting to cool after a very strong start of the year. This is what officials at the Federal Reserve have been hoping to see as they’ve increased interest rates in the hopes of slowing hiring, wage growth and inflation. The most recent numbers also show a decrease in wage growth, though some industries, like leisure and hospitality, are still seeing rapidly rising wages. The leisure and hospitality sector led wage growth again last month, followed by education and health services.

Additionally, more workers entered the workforce in March, boosting the participation rate for Americans considered in their prime working age to the highest level since 2001. The overall labor force participation rate rose to 62.6%, the highest rate since February 2020.

The Bad

The most recent report is starting to show the impact of recent layoffs. As the New York Times reports, several of the industries most impacted by borrowing costs shed jobs in March, including financial services, manufacturing and retail. This is difficult news for workers as we have also seen increases in unemployment claims over the past several weeks.

The Unknown

March’s jobs report does not reflect the impact of the failure of Silicon Valley Bank as the numbers reflect trends at the beginning of the month. The fallout will begin to show up in the revisions to March’s numbers in April’s report.

Additionally, the big question for experts is whether or not this cooling will be enough to slow the pace of rate hikes at the Federal Reserve. As MarketWatch reports, the slowdown is good news, but it may not be slow enough for officials. The Fed next meets May 2-3.

2022 U.S. Jobs Data and Trends Shaping Work in 2023

2022 U.S. Jobs Data and Trends Shaping Work in 2023

Exclusive Access to Jobs Data and Workforce Insights for 2023

As 2023 gets underway, hiring remains a key issue for employers across the country. The labor market is still creating jobs at a brisk pace and the number of available jobs continues to outpace the number of workers. PeopleScout is looking back at some of the trends that have shaped the job market this year — and that are likely to make an impact for next year as well.

Our newly released report, “2022 U.S. Jobs Data and Trends Shaping Work in 2023,” shares exclusive jobs data across a variety of industries plus insights on recruitment and hiring trends. Plus, we explore some of the dominant workforce trends affecting the labor market and preview the year ahead with a series of predictions.

Key information you’ll find in the report includes:

  • National job numbers for 2022
  • Workforce and wage info for several major industries
  • Breakdown of jobs seeing the most growth
  • Workforce trends and predictions for 2023


Get access to your report now!

PeopleScout Named an RPO Leader in APAC on HRO Today’s Baker’s Dozen Customer Satisfaction Ratings

Global RPO provider ranked as an industry leader based on buyer feedback

SYDNEY– March 8, 2023 – PeopleScout, a leading global provider of talent solutions, has been recognized as an RPO leader on HRO Today’s 2022 RPO Baker’s Dozen Customer Satisfaction Ratings in APAC. This follows the company’s ranking as an enterprise leader on the global 2022 RPO Baker’s Dozen list announced in September and on the 2022 RPO Baker’s Dozen list in EMEA in December.

HRO Today‘s Baker’s Dozen Customer Satisfaction Ratings are based solely on feedback from RPO buyers—the APAC list ranks the top RPO providers within the region. Providers are evaluated on three sub-categories: breadth of service, size of deal and quality of service.

“This recognition of our impact within the APAC region is great validation of our efforts to drive innovation in talent solutions globally,” said Taryn Owen, President & COO of TrueBlue. “We remain grateful for the strength of our APAC client partnerships that make these rankings possible and thank them for trusting us as their talent partners.”

“It is an honor to receive this recognition from HRO Today for our work within APAC,” said Tim Powell, PeopleScout’s Managing Director, APAC. “We continue to build momentum and grow our capabilities across the region, and this affirms our impact in meeting the talent needs of our clients.”

PeopleScout continues to deliver talent solutions that propel clients from now to next. In addition to its rankings on the RPO Baker’s Dozen list globally and in EMEA and APAC, the company was also named an RPO Leader on Everest Group’s 2022 RPO PEAK Matrix and a Leader in every category of NelsonHall’s 2021 NEAT Vendor Evaluation for RPO.

Learn more about the 2022 RPO Baker’s Dozen in EMEA and APAC on the HRO Today Magazine website.

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Taylor Winchell
Senior Manager, External Communications

How to Scale Candidate Engagement for Total Talent Acquisition 

By Mark Fita, Global Vice President of Implementation 

An extensive amount of time and energy is put into candidate engagement, as candidate-centricity continues to dominate in a labor market of inverted supply and demand. However, the engagement strategy often focuses solely on full-time hiring. But why?  

Contingent labor is critical for responding to the fluctuating supply and demand of today’s talent market. Many organizations have increased contingent labor spend to decrease costs and increase liquidity amongst our uncertain economic environment. A total talent acquisition strategy—encompassing both full-time and contingent workers—helps organizations reduce agency costs and improve fulfillment to meet the most critical business demands. 

In our recent study, Inside the Candidate Experience 2023 Report, we found that just two in 10 candidates rate their most recent recruitment experience as positive. Candidate ghosting, long application processes, and long delays in between hiring steps have become the norm.  Clearly, organizations must improve how they’re engaging with candidates to improve outcomes across all their hiring programs.  

Keep reading to explore the differences between the permanent and contingent candidate journey, and to learn how investing in candidate engagement as part of total talent acquisition strategy improves recruitment outcomes.

A Tale of Two Candidate Journeys: Permanent and Contingent Workers

Let’s take a look at the recruitment processes for permanent and contingent workers.

Recruitment process workflows for both permanent employers and contingent workers

The strategies for engaging with and acquiring both permanent and contingent talent are often siloed.  

Typically, Procurement leaders oversee contingent labor spend, while talent acquisition leaders look after full-time hiring. Contingent hiring is also sometimes decentralized, with hiring managers taking responsibility for their own departmental hiring. The two sides are often competing for similar talent, with each side paying a premium to get workers in the door. 

Permanent hiring typically involves thorough vetting with recruiters responsible for moving candidates manually through the process.  

The contingent hiring process includes various stages and handoffs, especially as suppliers pass along the candidate to the hiring manager. 

The Importance of a Total Talent Acquisition Strategy

We often see senior leaders go to their internal stakeholders to plead for 50 or even 100 workers in a particular job type to keep up with growth. Think of software developers, commercial drivers, nurses and more. These leaders are so desperate for talent that often they don’t care about the workers’ classification.  

This makes having a comprehensive total talent acquisition strategy that includes both full-time and contingent labor hiring even more critical. Silos between these recruitment processes result in poor candidate engagement. Full-time and contingent workers end up engaging differently with your brand, leading to ghosting and drop-off—and higher costs for the business. 

While employers understand the importance of the candidate experience, there is still room to grow. Some of the common pitfalls we see are: 

  • Delivering one directional communication to candidates 
  • Not tailoring the outreach and message to different target audiences  
  • Spreading the talent attraction budget too thinly across job boards and aggregators 
  • Not asking for feedback  

Now, let’s contrast that with what candidates want:  

  • A mobile-first experience  
  • Cultural immersion, regardless of worker classification 
  • Job flexibility, including remote work options 
  • A quick and easy application processes 
  • Fewer interviews and shorter assessments 
  • Real-time status feedback (No recruiter phone tag!) 

The Candidate Engagement Pyramid

So, how do you create an engaging candidate experience that gives both full-time hires and gig workers what they want? I like to think of the candidate engagement pyramid: the recruiting process, talent engagement technology and the worker value proposition. 

the candidate engagement pyramid

Why a pyramid? Because each level is built on the one below it. Organizations that focus on one area at the expense of others don’t have a solid foundation for their talent acquisition program.

Streamlining the Recruitment Process

At the base of the pyramid, an optimized recruiting process engages talent every step of the way. Candidates should drive the process and be able to self-progress throughout the recruiting workflow, regardless of whether they’re applying for a permanent or contingent role.

Focus on Your Candidates, Not Your Company

Start by focusing on the targeted talent personas. Your recruitment marketing campaigns and job postings must feature thoughtful messaging that resonates with this audience and highlights what’s in it for them—not just what your organization needs.

Make Your Career Site Work Harder for You

Over 90% of job seekers globally use career sites to search for opportunities. Streamlining your career site to provide more information and eliminate candidate confusion goes a long way to increasing application rates for full-time and contingent roles.

Is your career site easy to navigate? Have you eliminated job duplicity? For example, let’s say a large retailer is hiring across 20 locations in a major metropolitan area. If I apply to one location, will I be considered for all, or do I have to apply to each location separately? Do I need to apply for the part-time role if I already expressed interest in the full-time role? Consider adding FAQ content to your site that answers these types of questions and lays out the process for each job type.

Move to Mobile-First Applications

Next, a mobile-first, quick-apply process is a must-have. Over 90% of candidates have used a mobile device to apply for jobs. Yet less than half of employers are taking advantage of a one-click application tool. When a candidate can complete an application in less than three minutes, completion ratios are as high as 80%.

I recognize there are regulated jobs that require specific information. However, I’d encourage you to work with your legal teams to determine what you must know upfront and what you can move to a screening step or to the formal paperwork in the post-interview or offer phases.

Streamline Interviews

The shelf life of an engaged candidate is short. Phone tag leads to disengagement. If you can’t connect with candidates quickly, they’re gone. Technology is a great way to connect with candidates and speed up the vetting process. You could introduce pre-recorded digital interviews, screening questions delivered and answered by text message, or even automated interview scheduling tools.

The more interviews a candidate must complete the more likely they are to drop out of the process. Obviously, if you’re looking for a senior executive, they need to be thoroughly vetted. However, a panel interview for a hospitality worker wouldn’t make sense, so make sure your recruitment stages match the type of role.

Make Faster Decisions

Close the candidate. Today’s competitive market requires you to make fast decisions.

If your candidate is “the one,” make them feel special and respect their time. Candidates will not wait for you, so get the offer paperwork out quickly.

candidate engagement for contingent workers

Leveraging Technology for Total Talent Engagement

Talent engagement technology is closely tied to the recruitment process. The right tools at the right point in your process can further streamline the candidate journey and prove that you value their time.

Here are some examples of how our clients leverage technology to improve their recruitment process.

  • Full-Time Candidate Journey
    Raquel submits a three-minute application via her mobile phone and receives an automated text-based assessment. Built using natural language processing, the assessment deems her a good fit against the scoring rubric. Raquel then gets a text with a link to self-schedule an in-person interview with a hiring manager as soon as two hours later. This entire process takes about 15 minutes. Raquel has an offer by the end of the day.
  • Contingent Candidate Journey
    Mario is a contractor who has worked on an assignment at your company before. He received glowing reviews and prefers short-term assignments due to the flexibility it offers him and his family. Your company has an advanced direct-sourcing platform that manages all current and former workers. This makes it easy and fast for Mario to find and apply for jobs because his information is pre-loaded. Mario was also pre-onboarded through your organization’s preferred supplier for this labor category. Now he can sign up for a variety of shifts without going through the formal vetting process.

Invest in Your Talent Tech Stack for Candidate Engagement

Here are a few tools to consider adding to your talent tech stack to create scenarios like these that will keep your potential full-time and gig workers engaged:

  • Chatbots: Chatbots help candidates submit applications, vet passive talent and even automate some of the screening process. They also support candidates by answering common questions and can even be linked to a standby live resource to assist with queries that fall outside of pre-determined content.
  • Interview Scheduling: Self-scheduling tools help the candidate take charge of their experience by allowing them to find interview slots that suit them. It cuts the lengthy back and forth of coordinating calendars, saving time and creating a frictionless experience for candidates, hiring managers and recruiters alike.
  • Digital Interview Tools: There are many options for virtual interviews, including on-demand phone interviews, text interviews as well as live and pre-recorded video interviews. Virtual interviews are mobile-friendly. Plus, they are perfect for remote workers and those with variable work schedules as candidates can record their interview responses when convenient for them.
  • CRMs: CRMs help with regular delivery of relevant communications and content to keep candidates engaged throughout the recruitment process. You can also keep permanent and contingent talent pipelines warm and ensure they’re informed about your latest vacancies and opportunities.
  • Analytics: A talent analytics suite aggregates data to empower you to increase fulfillment, decrease costs and reduce the time it takes to put a worker on the job. There are times when it makes sense to bring on a contractor or someone with less experience who can get trained in the same amount of time it takes to find the ideal permanent candidate. Recruitment analytics provides insights to power decisions like this and increase your agility in a competitive market.

Many providers offer a broad range of capabilities or act as a middle layer that brings together the best-of-breed tools to help you stay ahead. Whether you go with a technology suite or choose to leverage integrations to connect your systems, your selection should support a consistent and compliant set of workflows.

Employer value proposition for total talent acquisition

Expanding Your EVP to Include All Job Roles

Candidates today have greater expectations when it comes to work culture, flexibility, DE&I and pay equity—regardless of their working arrangement. While these expectations carry on well past onboarding, for the purposes of this article we’re going to focus on talent acquisition.

Change Your Perspective

We often talk about the employer value proposition (EVP) and how important it is to sell workers on a company’s proposition. But does yours apply to both your gig workers and permanent employees? Have you formally defined the value proposition for contractors?

Rather than using the term EVP, which implies the value is only experienced by those you employ directly, I like to use Worker Value Proposition (WVP) to make it more inclusive. Your WVP captures the essence of your uniqueness as an employer and the “give and get” between you and your workers—regardless of worker classification.

So, how do you move from EVP to WVP?

  • Boost Your Cultural Inclusion 
    First, make sure that the workers are culturally immersed in your brand. Where applicable, do your contractors get one-on-ones with managers? Are they included in company events and celebrations? Can they join ERGs? What about access to paid time off or flexible schedules? Be mindful that a person’s worker classification doesn’t change the need to do things like dropping off the kids at school, attending doctors’ appointments or running errands.  
  • Create Growth Opportunities
    Demonstrating growth opportunities is a struggle for many employers, for both contractors and employees. Has your organization invested in creating formal career paths for all its departments? Have you mapped out how workers, regardless of labor type, impact the organization and how their skillsets can translate into long-term mobility and growth?
  • Communicate Consistently
    You may be doing some of these things already, but are you communicating it during the recruitment process for both full-time and contingent roles? It’s not enough to tuck it away at the bottom of a job description. We’re helping our clients get more creative in showing their WVP through employee spotlight videos, realistic job previews, community spotlights and more.

One final note, WVP is not just a marketing exercise. The responsibility also sits with talent acquisition. Recruiters are often the first direct point of interaction between talent and your WVP, so make sure they understand their role as brand ambassadors.

Choosing a Total Talent Partner for Better Candidate Engagement

You may find yourself in a position where you need some help from a talent partner to achieve your total talent hiring goals. Here are three key things to look for:  

  1. Look for a partner with a holistic purview of the total talent landscape coupled with demonstrated success in hiring in your required labor categories. A partner should be prepared with the right market intelligence to map your talent personas against your talent market and identify, engage with, attract, and retain the talent that you need.  
  2. Your partner should have a tech stack that brings the right balance of open web sourcing, AI, and automation. Plus, these tools should introduce more candidate engagement and recruitment optimization.  
  3. Your talent partner should create a total workforce solution unique to your business that goes well beyond the traditional means of direct sourcing. They need a track record of creative problem solving, leveraging their in-house resources to enhance your social media presence, your employer brand, your DE&I strategies, and more. 

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Boosting Candidate Engagement with a Comprehensive Talent Strategy