Fortune 500 fail in the category Candidate Experience

Published on 22-11-2018

What can a bad candidate experience cost you? The 2018 State of Talent Relationship Marketing report showcases the failure and successes of the 500 Fortune corporations in the field of candidate experience. We summarized the results for you. So, let’s learn from their mistakes!

The  Talent Relationship Marketing Platform Phenom People recently published the 2018 State of Talent Relationship Marketing (TRM) Report. The report illustrates and compares the candidate journey at every single one of the Fortune 500 companies.

Fortune 500 lack in positive Candidate Experience

The Fortune 500 are the largest corporations of the US. You would think that they know how to attract and retain talent. However, the TRM report shows that only a minority of companies scores high in the field of candidate experience. 475 of the companies’ candidate experiences are ranked as ‘troublesome’ or ‘flawed’.

The TRM report analyzed the effectiveness of the candidate experience within the following three categories:

  • Attraction – Is the career site pulling in traffic?
  • Engagement – Is the candidate spending time discovering what the company has to offer?
  • Conversion – When do active and passive job seekers turn into applicants?

The aspect Attraction looks at the career page, landing pages, the embedding of social media and mobile optimization. Engagement examines whether the companies can sustain the initial interest sparked by the Attraction phase. To what degree is the content personalized and engaging? Is the language of job ads matching the company’s culture? And, more generally, is a certain employer brand awareness being created? Finally, the last category measured the user interface and experience of applying to an open position as well as what happens afterwards.

Candidate Experience Phase #1: Attraction



Overall, most of the Fortune 500 career sites are well-designed:

  • A majority of the loading time is less than 3 seconds
  • Job applications are well written and designed
  • Great application Flow: More than 80 percent of career sites possess prerequisite fields in the application to increase flow

Only 3% of the surveyed companies don’t offer their candidates any career opportunities at all. We can live with that! However, the report also points out several areas that need to be improved:

Embedding social media (especially LinkedIn) in the Candidate Journey seems to be moderately popular with the Fortune 500. 92% of the investigated companies offer their candidates no opportunity to present their carefully maintained profiles.

In addition, only 7% of the surveyed companies offer a location specific job search. This comes as a surprise. After all, most of the Fortune 500 are global oriented companies with job offers all over the world. Integrating a tool that shows only local job recommendations to job seekers instead of making the candidate look through dozens of irrelevant vacancies is an easy fix to improve the candidate experience.

Candidate Experience Phase #2: Engagement

Personalisation is a key element to stay relevant as an employer in today’s competitive HR landscape. Candidates want to feel wanted, heard, adored, recognized, and appreciated. The study suggests, however, that the Fortune 500 lack in personalized and engaging content: 18% of companies have a very limited quality of engaging texts, videos, and photos on their career sites.

According to the study ‘Personalisation’ includes a rather extensive catalog of different actions that should lead to a personalized experience for all candidates. These include, for example, the application via social media, the option to save interesting job advertisements in a kind of HR shopping cart for later, descriptions of the employer value proposition, but also a personal warmhearted contact. The study found that 84% of companies lacked such personalisation measures.

Overall, we discovered that companies need to pay more attention to how they communicate their employer brand with candidates. 59% of companies do not provide their candidates with content that shows why their company is a great place to work. Implementing content, such as

  • Employee testimonials
  • Company mission and vision statements
  • Professional development programs
  • Benefits & perks
  • Compensation packages

can make your company stand out and leaves a good impression among candidates.

Candidate Experience Phase #3: Conversion



This is the crucial step of every recruiting process: Converting job seekers into candidates. Surprisingly, this is also the step most of Fortune 500 corporations fail miserably:

Only 30% have an “Apply Now” button, which is visible throughout the entire application process. A button like this is a simple and foolproof way to get candidates engaged and converted. The study advises other companies to follow suit, especially if the application process is tough and complicated.

According to the study, this applies to most application forms: 84% are classified as “not intuitive”.

The basics are also lacking when it comes to communication between applicants and recruiting: only 2% of the companies regularly inform their applicants about the status of the application. Let’s be honest, in times of automated solutions, more companies could and should do this.

A bad Candidate Experience will cost you

We learned that many of the Fortune 500s seriously lack a sufficient candidate journey. So, if they don’t care, why should we? Well, let’s have a look at how a bad candidate experience could impact your business:



According to, 60% of job seekers have ever had a negative candidate experience. And they will not be quiet about it: 72% of these publicly share their experience on employer assessment platforms. Can you see your employer reputation going down the drain?

But that’s not all: According to the source Talent Board, the candidate’s opinion about a company and its products/services is massively impacted by a negative candidate experience: 18% of candidates are so scared off that they even stop using a company’s products or services.

In a nutshell: A bad candidate experience will cost you more than talented future hires! That is why, you should learn from the Fortune 500 mistakes and start investing in your candidate experience before it is too late. We talked with Anja Kristin Bank, Employer Brand Manager at Vodafone, about how to create a positive candidate experience throughout the entire recruiting and onboarding process. Find the full interview with many tips and tricks here.

A fluid candidate experience makes our lives easier as well: If the process flows without any disruption there is no extra work involved for us such as answering questions due to missing information. It’s a win-win situation! – Anja Bank, Vodafone

You can download the entire TRM report, including the ranking and all results, here.

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