The Candidate Experience Is The New Battle in the “War For Talent”

We’ve come a long way since McKinsey & Company introduced the “War for Talent” concept in 1997. Since then, we’ve established a greater understanding of talent, but we still haven’t figured out how to deal with the problem of talent shortages. And talent shortage is a very real and terrifying thing for many organizations nowadays. A recent study by Korn Ferry states that

more than half of talent acquisition professionals say that it’s now harder to find qualified candidates than it was a year ago.

As a result of the corporate world’s struggle to fill its critical positions, a great deal of attention has been gathered around the candidate experience. It’s considered to be a decisive factor in attracting talented candidates and influencing their decision about whether or not to accept an offer, re-apply for a position, or recommend the company to their network.

Now, you may be wondering about this link between talent attraction and candidate experience (CX), and that’s what we’ll focus on next.

From a superficial point of view, a superior candidate experience may constitute a differentiating factor among employers. In products and services, companies very often try to differentiate themselves from competitors in order to “steal” clients or create a new customer base by making customers feel unique compared to others buying the mass version of a product or service. The same may happen with candidate experience.

Candidates want to be appreciated and feel special, and if there is a company that can provide that, it’s obvious that more candidates will choose this company.

Taking it one level deeper, thanks to technology and social media candidates talk and share experiences now more than ever. Sharing of course is one thing, but the influence it has is an utterly different issue. According to one study, the influence of negative reviews can be tremendous:

Of 4,633 random job seekers,  48% had used  Glassdoor at some point in their job search and  60% percent would NOT apply to a company with a one-star rating.

If this is the case for random candidates, imagine what might happen if a talented individual finds such info online about an employer. Having significantly higher standards and more opportunities compared to other candidates, a talented candidate’s reluctance to apply for a job at a company will have a much greater impact, since talented people is what all organizations desire most.

Finally, since everyone talks about Millennials, their role as future leaders, and what they really want from a workplace, it would be negligent of me not to mention them in a feature focused on talent. For this, I’ll borrow Jeanne MacDonald’s (Futurestep global operating executive and president of Talent Acquisition Solutions at Korn Ferry) words:

Millennials are absolutely looking for culture and fit. They want to feel good about where they’re working and require a shared sense of purpose.

You may wonder what cultural fit has to with candidate experience. Well, candidate experience, if designed well, may enable organizations to share their culture with candidates by giving them a glimpse of it during the recruiting process. That’s why it’s considered best practice to let candidates talk with employees and spend some time on a company’s premises. This gives candidates the opportunity to collect valuable insights, experience a company’s culture, and get to know how it feels to be part of it. Eventually, this data will enable candidates to make more informed decisions concerning their future employer and more informed decisions mean greater commitment and lower probability of an employee accepting a job offer from the competition.

In conclusion, the “War for Talent” may not have the same meaning as it used to when it was original introduced, but it’s fiercer than ever, making a well-designed CX absolutely necessary for the organizations that want to be competitive enough in the talent market. That’s why you should pay attention to your CX, ask for feedback from your candidates, be aware of your social media presence, and measure your efforts in order to improve their impact.

<The article was originally written for Talaera and publshed on Talaera’s Blog. Make sure you visit the blog, as you may find some great articles there!>

CX in Recruiting is a topic dear to my heart, so I really hope to have helped you in a way. Share your thoughts in the comments section below, as I learn just as much from you as you do from me and make sure you don’t miss my future posts by following me on LinkedIn. Finally, if you’d like to get in touch, my email is

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