Talent Analytics Part 1: Candidate Experience

We published our latest research today, Redefining Success: Talent Analytics for the Future, sponsored by Modern Hire. Talent analytics is not a new topic in HR but I have been spending a lot of time thinking about why science doesn’t play more of a role in our talent acquisition decisions. Even with increased pressure and more accountability, we still make decisions based on guy rather than data.

One of the reasons that I am excited about this report is because it includes a framework for taking goals and turning them into actions for efficiency, candidate experience, quality of hire, and DEI.

Here are recommendations for companies looking to improve the candidate experience this year using this framework.


The candidate experience is a priority for companies looking to compete for talent, enhance their brand and strengthen customer retention. Despite an increased focus on experience, companies still struggle with understanding how to improve it. Companies need to create a candidate-first approach to better engage candidates and ensure quality of hire.


Even with increased unemployment, the candidate experience continues to be a priority for organizations, and the way that companies manage their workforce during this challenging period will impact how candidates view their brand. As a result, the candidate experience needs to focus on safety and communication but also on efficiency.

  • Candidate satisfaction: How satisfied are candidates with various stages of the talent acquisition process?
  • Candidate safety: Are candidates safe, and is their health and wellbeing considered during the screening, interviewing, and hiring phases?
  • Candidate engagement: Are candidates engaged throughout the process?
  • Candidate feedback: Are you collecting data on the candidate experience and asking for feedback through the process?
  • Time-to-fill: Are you moving candidates along through the process?
  • Time-to-respond: Once you decide if a candidate does not move forward, how long does it take to respond?


Companies can improve candidate experience when they enhance communication and collect feedback. Companies state that the candidate experience is a priority, yet communication with most candidates has remained unchanged. Below are some considerations to gain better insights:

  • Communicate throughout the entire candidate lifecycle: Communication is not an isolated activity and needs to integrate with existing recruitment strategies so that it is frequent and consistent.
  • Interrupt bias early: Certain attributes in a resume can introduce bias into the talent acquisition process early. Companies need to remove those attributes and stop bias early in the process. Blind screening and blind interviews can help companies to apply an equal experience to all candidates.
  • Use objective data: Companies tend to decide on candidates based on the resume or those attributes they recognize. Without objective data, not every candidate is going to get a fair opportunity.

Action Steps

Companies that want to improve the candidate experience should:

  • Understand what candidates want: Companies must consider the unique expectations and experiences of candidates. Collecting feedback and going through the candidate journey can help companies with a candidate-first approach to automation.
  • Use data to build trust: Both employers and candidates need to trust the data and methodologies for the technology they are using. Companies looking at automation should consider providers that will partner with them and provide transparency.

As companies look to improve the candidate experience, they need a better understanding of what data they have and what insights they can gather to drive change. If you are interested in a new approach to talent analytics, this report will help you get started.

Madeline Laurano

Madeline Laurano

Madeline Laurano is the founder and chief analyst of Aptitude Research. For over 18 years, Madeline’s primary focus has been on the HCM market, specializing in talent acquisition and employee experience. Her work helps companies both validate and re-evaluate their strategies and understand the role technology can play in driving business outcomes. She has watched HCM transform from a back-office function to a strategic company initiative with a focus on partnerships, experience and efficiency.

Before founding Aptitude Research, Madeline held research roles at Aberdeen, Bersin by Deloitte, ERE Media and Brandon Hall Group. She is the co-author of Best Practices in Leading a Global Workforce and is often quoted in leading business publications including The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, Yahoo News, The New York Times and The Financial Times. She is a frequent presenter at industry conferences including the HR Technology Conference and Exposition, SHRM, IHRIM, HCI’s Strategic Talent Acquisition conference, Unleash, GDS International’s HCM Summit, and HRO Today.

In her spare time, she is a runner, an avid sports fan and juggles a house full of boys (where a spontaneous indoor hockey game is not unheard of!).