The nonprofit Talent Board has released its 2019 Candidate Experience Awards, a benchmarking report covering over 200 companies in North America and 130,000 job seekers that looks at what organizations focused on in their talent acquisition strategies in 2018 and what they are planning for this year, particularly with regard to candidate experience and employer brand. These issues were top of mind for recruiters going into 2019, Talent Board president Kevin Grossman tells SHRM’s Roy Maurer, with employers paying more attention to the perceptions and experience of not only job applicants, but passive and potential candidates as well:
“The candidate experience begins during talent attraction and sourcing, even before a potential candidate applies for a job,” he said. “Attracting candidates is one area of talent acquisition that has been given more and more attention and investment due to such a strong job market throughout 2018, with many more employers big and small across industries understanding just how competitive attracting and sourcing quality candidates truly is.”
The Talent Board’s report shows that 70 percent of candidates do some research on a prospective employer before applying for a job, leaning primarily on employers’ careers sites, job alerts, and careers pages on LinkedIn. According to our research at Gartner, however, candidates are doing less in-depth research into prospective employers before submitting applications than they did a generation ago. That means candidates aren’t engaging that much with employers’ recruitment marketing and branding materials early in their job search. As Craig Fisher, an industry thought leader and head of marketing and employer branding at Allegis Global Solutions, explains to Maurer: “A lot of candidates just apply, apply, apply and don’t really get into the employer brand materials you work so hard at creating until they get further into the process. They’ll begin to scout around when they’re brought onto the company’s careers site to start an application.”
Indeed, this shift is the key insight of our recent research at Gartner on the changing shape of the candidate journey.
The marketplace of online recruiting platforms has become increasingly competitive over the past few years, as both big tech companies and startups alike have sought to establish themselves as the platform of choice for both candidates and employers. This week brought news that three of the most-watched competitors in this field are growing, adding new features, or expanding their geographical reach.
LinkedIn announced on Tuesday that it was moving all of its core talent solutions — Jobs, Recruiter, and Pipeline Builder — onto one platform, which it calls the intelligent hiring experience. This consolidation will enable recruiters to “to see all their candidates … in one unified pipeline,” no matter which of these three tools they came from, John Jersin, VP of Product Management at LinkedIn Talent Solutions, explained in a blog post on Tuesday. The company is also “releasing more than 15 new product enhancements for LinkedIn Recruiter and Jobs over the next few quarters,” Jersin added.
In addition to the single pipeline, LinkedIn’s new features include new AI capabilities, which will enable its tools “to talk to one another and leverage machine learning to simplify the hiring process”:
The more you interact with candidates within a project, the more our tools learn about what you like — and don’t like — and then we can surface better candidates for your open role. Based on the applicants, leads, and search results you interact with, the intelligent hiring experience automatically builds a list of recommended candidates for you to consider reaching out to.
The platform is also adding a shared messaging system that will show all candidate communications in one place, a slide-in profile view to more easily look at candidate profiles in the middle of a search, and a feature called “Closing the Loop,” which makes it easier for employers to send rejection messages to applicants, either individually or in bulk. This functionality is meant to address the lack of communication that adversely affects candidate experience and can discourage rejected candidates from applying to other jobs at the same organization for which they might be more qualified. LinkedIn’s mobile app is also getting a call-to-action feature that will enable anyone at an organization to quickly let their LinkedIn network know about a job opening there.
LinkedIn’s latest round of updates to its job posting tool includes features designed to help smaller organizations without dedicated recruiting functions to more easily source and track qualified candidates, Monica Lewis, Head of Product at Linkedin Jobs, announced on the professional networking platform’s Talent Blog last week:
Now, when you post a job on LinkedIn, these new features will work to deliver a pool of relevant candidates who you can’t find anywhere else. … Once you’ve posted a job on LinkedIn, Recommended Matches will scour our network to find candidates who have the experience and skills you’re looking for. And, most of these candidates are exclusively on LinkedIn: 57% of our users in the US did not visit the top three job boards last month.
We put these potential candidates right in front of you, giving you access to their full profiles. In one click, you can indicate if you’re interested in a candidate and start a conversation with them about the job opportunity. Based on how you rate candidates, our algorithm learns your preferences and delivers increasingly relevant candidates.
LinkedIn, which is owned by Microsoft, has also reconfigured its matching algorithm and given organizations the ability to add their own targeting preferences, giving them more control over who sees a job post. The update also makes it easier for users to keep track of candidates they are considering or wish to contact.
The new features are deliberately designed to encourage smaller and medium-sized enterprises to use LinkedIn as a job board. ERE’s Joel Cheesman calls this “a smart move at the right time”:
LinkedIn users browsing job listings can now get a sense of what their commute would be like if they took the job. The new feature, which senior product manager Dan Li announced in a blog post last week, adds to the growing pile of information LinkedIn helps job seekers find about the roles they are considering:
When you visit job listings on LinkedIn from your mobile phone, you’ll start to see a “See Your Commute” module. From here you can enter your address to calculate how long it would take you to get to your new office walking, driving or on public transportation. Soon, you’ll also have the option to save your location information locally on your phone so you don’t have to type it in every time you’re looking at a role.
You can also set your commute preferences within your Career Interests dashboard so we can provide you with more relevant job recommendations that fit your lifestyle.
The feature was introduced after LinkedIn surveyed 1,000 of its users last October and found that 85 percent of them would take a pay cut in exchange for a shorter commute, Fortune’s Rachel King added. Times and maps for the See Your Commute feature are processed by Bing, the search engine owned by LinkedIn’s parent company Microsoft; in that regard, it’s evidence that Microsoft is making good on its plan to augment LinkedIn, which it bought for over $26 billion in 2016, by integrating it with other elements of the tech giant’s vast suite of software products.
Ever since Recruit Holdings, the Japanese HR conglomerate that owns Indeed, announced last month that it was acquiring Glassdoor, speculation has run rampant that the parent company would inevitably combine the two properties into an even larger online recruiting behemoth, perhaps as a defensive move against Google’s new job search feature. Matt Charney at Recruiting Daily, in his massive, four part “Requiem for Glassdoor,” concludes that even with their powers combined, Indeed and Glassdoor have no hope of competing with the search engine where 80 percent of job searches begin. With so much control over the front end of the funnel, Google has the power to render its competitors in the job search aggregation market virtually invisible to most users. No matter how much traffic Indeed buys, Charney reasons, “that traffic will ultimately be controlled (and priced) by … Google.”
Still, other observers see the Glassdoor acquisition through a different lens, viewing the site’s impact not so much in terms of volume but rather in how it has mainstreamed transparency and accountability on the part of employers in their interactions with candidates. That’s how the Washington Post’s Jena McGregor described it in her column after the news of the acquisition broke:
Analysts say the $1.2 billion pricetag for Glassdoor reflects a company that sits at the nexus of a number of trends: A tight labor market where many workers have their pick of jobs and employers have to work harder to attract them. A growing demand by recruiters and H.R. departments in an era of big data to back up their decisions with metrics. And a technological and cultural zeitgeist where an appetite for transparency and accountability have only grown
These trends were illustrated in a report Indeed issued just a week after the announcement: How Radical Transparency Is Transforming Job Search and Talent Attraction, based on a survey of 500 US jobseekers, highlighted findings like these: 95 percent of candidates said insight into a prospective employer’s reputation would be somewhat or extremely important in their decision making. Among Millennials, 71 percent said transparency was extremely important, while 84 percent of Millennials aged 25 to 34 said they would automatically distrust a company on which they could find no information (even among Baby Boomers, 55 percent agreed that transparency was crucial). No reviews, Indeed found, are even more harmful to an employer’s reputation than bad reviews, since candidates are at least willing to consider an employer’s response to a bad review.
The growth of online pay information sources like Glassdoor is also a central theme in our upcoming work on pay transparency at CEB, now Gartner.
Facebook announced on Wednesday that its job search tool, which launched in the US and Canada about a year ago, is now available in over 40 countries. The expansion, which includes countries like the UK, France, Germany, and Spain, comes as part of the social media giant’s efforts to focus more on local issues, which in turn is part of its campaign to improve its reputation and regain public trust, Richard Nieva notes at Cnet:
The company retooled its iconic news feed to focus more on posts from friends and family, instead of viral videos and news. Part of the new ranking also includes a bigger focus on local news. For the job search tool, Facebook also put the emphasis on the local impact. “The jobs product is about local businesses connecting with people in their communities,” Gaurav Dosi, a Facebook product manager, said in an interview.
TechCrunch’s Josh Constine sees it becoming more of a “blue-collar LinkedIn”:
The Job posts rollout could help Facebook steal some of the $1.1 billion in revenue LinkedIn earned for Microsoft in Q4 2017. But the bigger opportunity is developing a similar business where companies pay to promote their job openings and land hires, but for lower-skilled local companies in industries like retail and food service.
LinkedIn has announced two new features for its platform: one to help improve pay transparency in the job market and the other aimed at making scheduling easier for recruiters. The social media company, acquired by Microsoft in 2016, announced Salary Insights and LinkedIn Scheduler in separate blog posts on Tuesday.
LinkedIn Scheduler is an InMail feature that will allow recruiters to share their schedules and easily set up interviews with job candidates, creating a more seamless experience for both parties. Rather than engaging in back-and-forth messages to set up a time to speak after agreeing to an interview, LinkedIn can sync with Office 365 or Google calendars to provide a listing of available time slots so candidates can select and confirm their appointment times. They will then need to enter their contact information, and those details will by placed onto a meeting invite on the recruiter’s calendar.
“Imagine sending a dozen InMails before lunch, grabbing a bite, and coming back to see your calendar is suddenly full of candidate calls for the next week, without you lifting a finger,” the blog post states. “That’s the power of LinkedIn Scheduler.”
Salary Insights will allow job seekers to see a salary range for job listings, either reported by the employer or estimated based on data collected from LinkedIn Salary. LinkedIn claims that this feature will help companies attract applicants whose salary expectations are more closely aligned with what the company is prepared to pay for the listed position, so they won’t need to spend time dancing around the compensation conversation. Companies will be encouraged to post their own salary information; if they don’t, the LinkedIn estimated salary will appear. In some instances, LinkedIn may not have the data to provide an estimate, which will be the only cases where a job posting won’t include any sort of salary estimate.