To accomplish their talent goals, organizations have tested a variety of solutions, technological and otherwise. One popular emerging choice is also arguably one of the most intuitive: accountability.
As diversity, equity and inclusion became prominent plans of company strategy, some employers opted to tie executive pay directly to DE&I outcomes. In October 2020, HR consulting firm Mercer found that between 15% and 20% of S&P 500 companies incorporated DE&I metrics into their executive incentive plans. Big names including Starbucks, Wells Fargo and Uber have been part of the trend, and others, like Chipotle, joined this year.
But could the concept be extended to other HR functions? According to nonprofit Talent Board, employers increasingly are doing just that by tying recruiter pay to candidate experience.
Not only that, but employers with better overall recruiter performance are more likely than peers to link that performance to pay, Talent Board found in a benchmarking survey published last month. The organization's top 10 companies for candidate experience in North America aligned recruiter performance with candidate experience 6% more often than the average for all companies in the survey.
However, implementing this strategy can be an uphill battle for employers, said Kevin Grossman, president at Talent Board.
That's because the vast majority of job candidates are not hired, be it due to a lack of qualifications, experience or some other element. Moreover, hiring processes are increasingly automated on the front end. Machine learning solutions have proliferated in the space.
Employers, according to Grossman, should be focusing on the aspects of the hiring process that involve direct human interaction, from candidate screening onward. For example, employers could measure how successful recruiters are at screening candidates who are later given a hiring offer.
"The accountability comes in when I'm starting to screen and assess folks and interview them," Grossman said. "That's where there's more human interaction in the mix."
Developing the right measurements
Employers can go beyond this aspect of hiring in their assessments by surveying prospective candidates on whether they would recommend that their peers apply to the organization, Grossman continued. But to do that, they may want to focus on candidates who did not get hired rather than those who did get hired.
Such candidates are typically a challenge to survey, Grossman said, and polling them often does not result in a high net promoter score, or NPS. But if employers are able to improve aspects of their hiring process, they might be able to receive a positive NPS from candidates who are not hired, even if the result is not highly positive.
Employers also need to set benchmarks to compare themselves against organizations of similar sizes and industries, Grossman added. This can be accomplished in several ways — for example, employers can utilize a third party that has this information.
Inertia can be a slight obstacle in some cases, said Grossman, who noted that several large employers have discussed the possibility of tracking candidate experience but later backed out over the implementation of new team members, processes or applicant tracking systems. Grossman advised beginning the baseline data collection process anyway, even if the employer has not started yet.
There are compliance considerations, too. Employers, Grossman said, may want to ensure their surveys are compliant with the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation and that responses are anonymous.
Employee experience differs from candidate experience, but employers should still note that internal candidates are an important source of talent, so the two concepts are not completely unrelated. "Even as employees, we're always perpetual candidates," Grossman said. "All it takes is one thing, one bad day [or] two years of a pandemic for us to turn our heads."
And no matter how the talent market changes in the coming months and years, certain best practices may provide a successful recruiting basis regardless.
"No matter what the world looks like, you've got to be consistent with the feedback and communication you have with your employees," Grossman said.