Using CandE Research To Build A Results-Driven Recruiting Budget

As companies are preparing their 2017 budgets, it can be difficult to determine how to allocate funds to generate the needed results.  Fortunately, the data collected from more than 130,000 candidates who participated in the Candidate Experience survey provides solid direction.  Understanding how candidates behave and what they respond to can guide spending toward productive investments.

Ideally, all historical spending should be reviewed and reallocated as appropriate, yet renewing existing contracts is often the norm.  For the purpose of this discussion, assume that the number of recruiters is stable, external sourcing is stable, and that the LinkedIn Recruiter Licenses are set.

The overall areas where you allocate your money can be narrowed down to 10 major categories:

  • job advertising
  • corporate career site
  • ATS
  • CRM/sourcing
  • campus
  • employee referral
  • social media content creation
  • career fairs/community presence
  • candidate care
  • video interviews

Identifying Goals

To spend effectively, you must identify the issues you need to address and the results you want to achieve. There are generally two major areas that employers struggle with in recruiting: either a lack of qualified candidates applying or a low conversion rate of candidates who view the job and complete the recruitment process. Analyzing your recent results and anticipating your upcoming hiring needs will help you prioritize the investments you want to make. But before you commit budget dollars, it is important to understand candidate behavior and how those behaviors impact the job process.

Aligning with Candidate Behavior

To generate the maximum benefit from your investment, your budget allocation needs to be clearly aligned with candidates’ behavior. CandE data shows that 76% of candidates conduct research to identify new career opportunities.  Knowing how and where they are looking for information is essential to allocating your budget and generating the maximum response. 

career oppertunity

When candidates gather information, they utilize 3 main tools.

The first is mobile: 86% of candidates use a mobile device for at least part of their job search. If your information is not mobile responsive or mobile friendly, the odds of getting in front of qualified individuals are dramatically reduced.

The second tool is video: 72% of internet traffic comes through some form of video. We would much rather have someone talk to us, tell us what we want to know, than give us paragraphs of text. If your recruiting information is presented in paragraphs of text, you will generate minimal engagement.

The third, arguably the most important, is social media: 90% of candidates 18-29 years old use social media. This is the primary way that candidates communicate with each other and adds to the plethora of reasons that social media cannot be overlooked.

Often times, employers do not incorporate these three tools into their recruitment efforts. Some employers have great, engaging content on job boards, but when candidates do their own research they can be lead to a job posting which is simply boring text. This ends up de-engaging the candidate and defeats the purpose of candidate engagement.

Once you understand candidate behavior you can direct your focus to the specific problems you want to solve.

Specific Problem Areas

If you want to address the issue of not having enough candidates, there are 4 key areas that will specifically address this problem:

  • Increasing sourcing and social media interaction
  • Making content more engaging, by adding video
  • Increasing employee referral
  • Improving job postings

If the issue arises from low conversion rates, there is a different set of solutions:

  • Shortening and improving the application and the end-to-end recruiting process
  • Communicating regularly with candidates
  • Clearly explaining the recruiting process

If losing candidates and not having enough conversion is an issue, the problem might be the length of the job application. A question that was asked to 130,000 candidates on the CandE survey addressed the time to complete an application. The results ranged from less than 5 minutes to over 90 minutes.

complete application

The “sweet spot” for a job application is 5-15 minutes.  Longer applications can cause candidate loss, and shorter applications can make candidates feel as though they have not had the opportunity to present their qualifications or that they were not taken seriously.

CandE Winner Best Practice

When it comes to communicating with candidates about the recruiting process, Cumming, a CandE award winner, does an excellent job on their website. They give the candidates an expected time frame and the steps in the process.  This transparency and management of candidate expectations dramatically increases the candidate experience. 

cumming

Maximizing Results

Overall, there are many effective ways that you can allocate your budget in order to increase applicant traffic and drive conversion. There is no one or no right answer when it comes to what and where you should be increasing spending. Once you narrow your problem down to a specific area, there are many options to take advantage of.  If you understand problem and analyze candidate behavior, you can spend against the problem and generate the maximum return.


Data provided by The Talent Board, a non-profit organization focused on the elevation and promotion of a quality candidate experience. The organization, awards program and its sponsors are dedicated to recognizing the candidate experience offered by companies throughout the entire recruitment cycle and to forever changing the manner in which job candidates are treated.

Additional research for this article was conducted by Melis Ulutas.

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