Posted June 26, 2013 by

How Communicating with Candidates Led to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Winning a Candidate Experience Award

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan logoIt is reasonable for a job applicant to expect feedback at some point in time during the application process.  However, wouldn’t it be nice to keep track of your application’s status instead?  As a result, you stay in the know during the candidate experience.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is a nonprofit health care organization founded in 1939.  They are the largest health insurer in Michigan with 4.4 million members (more than 40% of the state’s total population) with the largest network of doctors and hospitals in the state.  Blue Cross Blue Shield is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.  In addition, the organization was named a 2012 Candidate Experience Award Winner.

Now in its third year, The Candidate Experience (CandE) Awards and benchmarking program is designed to evaluate the job candidate experience companies offer through their recruitment cycles and honor those companies that implement outstanding strategies to provide a consistent and positive experience for jobseekers. The CandE Awards program consists of three survey rounds designed to capture and evaluate a company’s recruitment processes and practices that impact the candidate experience. Companies that complete the first round submission process receive a complimentary Employer Benchmark Report, and those that meet the standard for candidate experience are invited to advance in the competition.  The CandE Awards program is complimentary and confidential, and all CandE Award winners will be celebrated at the HR Technology Conference in Chicago this October.

Employers interested in competing or receiving benchmarking data must complete their applications by June 28, 2013. To learn more about the Candidate Experience Awards and the application process, please visit

The Candidate Experience Awards (the CandE Awards) was created by veterans of the recruiting industry to help employment candidates have a better experience when they apply for work.  Although the CandE Awards is a competition, it exists to enable any company to benchmark and improve their candidate experience.  The organization behind the CandE awards is the Talent Board, a non-profit research organization.  The Talent Board recognizes that finding new employment is inherently stressful for most job seekers and their families.  Its mission is to help employers and candidates to have a more effective, efficient, and humane exchange during the recruiting process.  The Talent Board believes that the best way to improve candidate experience is to provide corporations with research that helps them to benchmark and improve their operation.

Here is what Stefanie Thornton, Director of Talent Acquisition at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, says about why her company applied for the Candidate Experience Award.

One of our 2012 goals was around examining our candidate experience and we thought applying for the Candidate Experience Award was a perfect way to highlight what we were doing and benchmark against other best in class organizations.

Thornton also shares what makes her company unique, yet important with respect to the candidate experience.

We have implemented a Candidate Communication Agent tool within our ATS which allows candidates to login to their profiles and see “realtime” status updates on their applications.  We also leveraged communication pieces that went out to candidates as an opportunity to showcase what was happening at our company and in Detroit through photos, hyperlinks and text.  Finally, we survey candidates throughout the application process to aggregate and analyze the feedback on our process overall.

–Article by William Frierson, staff writer for, the leading niche job board used by college students searching for internships and recent graduates hunting for entry-level jobs and other career opportunities. Steven Rothberg, president and founder of, is a member of the 2013 Candidate Experience Council which helps to steer the future of the CandEs awards and benchmarking program by drawing on the expertise and knowledge of the HR community’s thought leaders.

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