What Are Candidates Saying About Your Company’s Recruiting Experience?
Does your team track candidate experience at every step of the hiring process? Many companies overlook how a bad candidate experience could affect their overall brand. It can also undermine the success of your hiring efforts. We think of candidate experience like employee satisfaction. Both are essential elements of your employer brand, both are an instrumental part of hiring in the digital world, and both require close attention to control.
Employee satisfaction is easy to track with sites like Glassdoor, regular satisfaction surveys, and HR initiatives. Candidate experience, however, it a little tougher to manage. Sometimes you can put yourself in a candidate’s shoes and try to view your process from their perspective. What would they say about how you treated them? What would they tell a colleague about going through the hiring process with your company?
You can also straight up ask candidates for feedback, either directly or anonymously. This goes for those you reject early in the process or those who you bring in for interviews. You might not be able to ask every candidate, nor will everyone want to share their input.
We pulled together a collection of what we often hear candidates say about a bad experience… If you hear feedback like this, then your candidate experience may be poisoning your brand:
The Actual Job Requirements Were Not Clear
Whether you’re posting on a job board or actively recruiting candidates, there can often be confusion about what requirements are necessary for a job. If you have time, follow up with each unqualified candidate individually, explaining what qualifications they are missing. If you see a candidate who doesn't seem like a fit at all, you might assume they applied without reason. However, it's possible you are missing something from their resume or they made an honest mistake in applying. Keeping open and honest lines of communication open with candidates will increase the likelihood that they will apply for a more suitable position in the future.
The Process Felt Drawn Out Unnecessarily
From a candidate’s perspective, there is no reason to wait weeks to hear back from a potential employer. Even if they think they are a good fit, they might get bored waiting and move onto interviews with other companies. We know that there are often things beyond your control that stall the hiring process: a high volume of applicants, an indecisive manager, or internal red tape. Use social media to reassure candidates every few days that you haven't forgotten about them and remind them about next steps in the process. Most importantly, don’t leave candidates hanging once you’ve ruled them out. Follow up promptly after deciding not to offer the job to a specific candidate. Showing respect for one’s time is the easiest way to create a positive candidate experience.
I Received an Automated Rejection Without a Clear Explanation
If you put yourself in the shoes of a candidate, nothing feels less personal than spending significant time preparing your application, only to get rejected by a robot. Many applicant tracking systems will auto-generate messages to save recruiters time on rejecting candidates, but this often gives the impression that your company doesn’t really care about the people on the applying end. It’s even worse when a message gives a misleading or canned reason for the rejection. Be honest, take the time to review applications, and treat the candidates with dignity - and believe us, it will be noticed and appreciated.
The Way They Treated Me Makes Me Not Want to Even Be a Customer
One 2017 study shows that 82% of candidates with a negative experience will choose not to use your company’s products or services again. More importantly, almost 10% ask their friends and families to boycott as well. As a growing business, you can’t afford not to try to create positive experiences for all of your candidates.
I Would Tell My Friends or Colleagues to Stay Away
A similar Workable study found that 22% of disgruntled candidates will tell their friends and peers not to bother applying for jobs at your company. This can severely limit your talent pool, especially in niche circles. Be respectful about rejecting applicants, and they will be more likely to move on without hard feelings.
I Applied & Never Heard Back
For you, sifting through dozens of unqualified applicants and candidates is a real chore, but it’s important not to discount these people entirely. Workable found that 75% of candidates have reported never hearing back from a company to which they applied. This first impression, or lack thereof, shapes a candidate’s opinion of your company forever- even if you had no communication with them. In fact, 42% of candidates with negative experience will not consider applying for a position at that company again, even if it’s in a completely different department. You don’t want to alienate yourself from a future talent pool. Instead, send a quick note to obviously unqualified applicants and ask to keep their resume on file for quick access if a job does pop up in the future.
One of the worst mistakes you can make is NOT soliciting feedback from candidates, or not even thinking about their side of it in the first place. Radio silence after you disqualify someone is a common practice in hiring, but it can severely impact your employer brand. Monster found that 33% of disgruntled candidates will share their negative experience on social media. Finding and responding to Tweets, Facebook posts, and LinkedIn updates that damage your brand takes way more time than sending a polite follow up when you remove someone from the candidate pipeline. There are even many tools that can automate this process for you (just be sure it doesn’t feel too impersonal)
We understand that taking a proactive approach to candidate experience can be overwhelming. If you have a job with hundreds of applicants or a busy hiring season ahead, consider bringing on an external recruiter to help supplement the work of your internal team. They can create, manage, and/or follow up with the pipeline of applicants so that you can focus on the bigger picture: getting the job filled, and delighting those applicants who want to work for your company.