Your company, recruiters, and hiring managers are most likely highly invested in the recruiting process. They should be as highly invested, if not more so, in the candidate experience. The candidate’s overall perception of the experience seeking a position with your company matters even more than your hiring success rate. And the candidate experience is more extensive than you may know.
Candidate experience encompasses the entirety of interactions with your organization by job seekers. That means their initial awareness of and interest in your company and openings, including the application, interview, hiring, and onboarding processes. That means a lot of opportunities to impress or disappoint interested and motivated candidates.
When an individual who is interested in working for your company has a bad experience during the recruiting process, it’s not just bad for the candidate. It is a real problem for your company that will affect not only your recruiting effectiveness but your reputation and your ability to sell goods and services. LinkedIn reports that 83 percent of job seekers say a bad interview experience changes their mind about an employer.
When candidates are interested enough in your company and opening to apply and interview, they have invested time, energy, and attention. They have opened a dialog and engaged with your employer brand, and look forward to interactions with recruiters, hiring managers, and employees. They invest in preparing to vie for your opening, and they expect and deserve your time and attention in return.
As Jack Kelly observes for Forbes, when job seekers experience frustration during the recruiting process, they don’t hesitate to broadcast it on social media like LinkedIn. Lack of feedback, long periods with no communication, no appreciation expressed for candidates’ time and interest, and even ghosting candidates are top complaints. Lack of employer response is a common complaint of job seekers.
If you recognize any of these types of treatment of candidates, you should take a serious look at the candidate experience at your organization. Career coach Kenneth Lang suggests implementing a job seeker “Bill of Rights” outlining fairness and dignity for candidates. Stay in touch with candidates, thank them for their time and interest in your company, and ensure they are treated well throughout your recruiting process.
Make sure everyone keeps good communication at every step of the candidate experience, whether it’s in person or with technology such as chatbots or candidate communications platforms.
Forbes contributor Jack Kelly describes how job seekers are outraged over multiple interviews over a long period of time. He says too many interviews with too many interviewers shows a hiring manager’s lack of confidence in their ability to make a hiring decision. It also leaves room for uninterested or inexperienced interviewers that will confuse candidates and leave a bad impression.
If you don’t think an unpleasant interview process matters, you should think again. All you have to do is read about Virgin Media’s findings. Their head of resourcing Graeme Johnson decided to use post-interview surveys to see how rejected candidates viewed the company and interview experience. He found that 18 percent of Virgin Media’s rejected candidates were also customers of the cable and media provider.
That led to a deeper dive that revealed that two-thirds of rejected candidates wouldn’t recommend the company to others. Additionally, six percent of rejected candidates canceled their own Virgin Media subscriptions. Doing the math, they calculated that the bad experience of rejected candidates was costing the company $5 million a year.
A huge factor in bad candidate experience is a long or complicated application process. A CareerBuilder survey revealed that 31 percent to 42 percent of job seekers say they give up on applications that are difficult, confusing, or taking too long to complete. Executive recruiter Richard Holmes says a long application process loses good candidates. He recommends keeping the initial application response to five days and explains that applications that take more than 20 minutes will lose one in five candidates. He says limiting generic questions and keeping the application is best.
Is hitting the “Apply Now” button for your openings the beginning of a long haul for interested candidates? If creating a user name and password, uploading a cover letter and resume, entering contact information, and answering a list of questions before submitting is your process, you will lose great candidates.
Consultant David Pullara describes how Google’s application process is candidate friendly and doesn’t make applicants jump through hoops or waste their time. He says requiring candidates to upload resumes and also manually enter information on those resumes wastes their time and is inconsiderate when technology can get that information.
Pullara reminds employers that job seekers also buy products and services with family and friends who will most likely hear about their experiences.
Candidate experience impacts your business in myriad ways. Candidates who have a good experience with your company will be happy to recommend others. Candidates will share their experience (positive or negative), and either remain customers or stop doing business with your company. These factors not only affect your recruiting success. They also affect your bottom line and company reputation in the job market.