In my view the answer to this is a resounding yes!

Real-time candidate feedback, in essence, enables hiring managers, HR teams and employers to gather in-the-moment opinions of the recruitment process which allows immediate changes to be made in order to leave the candidate with the best possible experience.

While this might seem far-fetched to some, it’s a methodology that’s already being employed in the consumer field. Just take the numerous airports which have feedback stations dotted around the terminal. These ‘smiley face’ ratings tools enable the business to gather immediate information on the sentiment being felt by customers at that point in time and react accordingly. The same method is being used online. Amazon, for example, uses algorithms to track a user’s behaviour and recommend ways they can improve their experience.

The consumerisation of talent acquisition and management processes is something that has been a long time coming and it was, in my view, only a matter of time before real-time feedback was needed in the hiring process. Collecting data after the event – as happens so often at the moment, when it comes to the recruitment process – serves little immediate or even short-term value. For those who have had a negative experience, being given the chance to share this feedback afterwards will do little to mitigate the damage that’s already been done to their perspective of the employer brand and conversations they may have had with other potential recruits.

When we consider that a negative experience can cost a company the best talent, the need to introduce in-the-moment feedback becomes even more critical. According to a survey by LinkedIn’s marketing manager, Paul Petrone, 83% of professionals say a negative interview experience can change their mind about a role. And a survey by Glassdoor revealed that 11% of job seekers said they would decline a job offer from an employer with a bad reputation – even if they were unemployed.

The ability to make adjustments to the hiring process as it happens, then, can be of huge benefit in the long run. As a case in point, we’ve been working with a large financial services firm to develop this concept within their business and have been able to identify barriers facing applicants that would previously have gone undetected. There were examples where the candidate was being put off by the actual interview itself – with feedback ranging from meetings running late or interviewers not creating a positive and consistent impression.

Not only was this information useful in terms of up-skilling the interviewers to ensure an improved experience is delivered to the rest of the applicants, but it also gave those who had had a negative experience the clear message that their opinions matter to the business.

In my view, this is where the crux of talent acquisition and management lies: the expectations of candidates. Today’s generation of applicants expect a more customer-centric experience. The recruitment process is no longer just about an employer identifying the right person for the role, but also a job-seeker identifying the right business for them. And the key to the latter point is in the experience they have as a candidate – regardless of the end outcome.

Real-time feedback such as this is still in its infancy, however I truly believe that this will be the next impactful innovation in HR. I certainly hope, then, that 2017 is the year this new concept really takes off.