Why you should work on candidate experience
Updated: Jan 12
The importance of and problems with candidate experience
Under these times of COVID-19 the economy wears down and more and more people will lose their jobs. This means that more and more people will look out for new jobs, also at your company. It is therefore important to have a good candidate experience, because more people will interact with you and will therefore form an opinion about you. However, if you want to know the truth, then you need to look at the facts.
Unfortunately, when it comes to candidate experience, the fact is that most companies are not doing too well. Research of 1200 surveys shows that 60% of all candidates have had a bad candidate experience and almost 75% of those candidates shared that experience with somebody else. Now if these figures are representative to the candidates which have been in touch with you, then almost one in every two candidates who you meet will share their bad experience with their surroundings. Depending on the number of candidates you meet, the consequences of them sharing their experiences can be seriously damaging your brand.
Now that the tone is set on why a good candidate experience is important, this blog will go a bit further in depth on the data, what it means and how you can improve your candidate experience.
One of the conclusions which we can draw from the data is that candidates and employers have different expectations from a recruitment process. Nearly 60% of the candidates said that they spend at least one hour on research and resume preparations before they start submitting online, with the entire process taking typically up to three or four hours. However, 70% of the employers believe that the entire process of research, preparations and submission can be done within one hour.
Furthermore, it seems that candidates and employers have a different perception on what can be improved in their recruitment pipelines. 60% of the candidates thought that better communication would improve the candidate experience, whereas 55% of the employers thought that a better online application or interview process would improve the experience.
So, what does this mean? Well, firstly there seems to be a mismatch in what candidates and employers think is an appropriate amount of time spend for an application. This results in the fact that the candidates are way more invested in the application than the employer is (purely from a time perspective) and this can create a mismatch in expectations thereafter. The candidates hope (or even expect) a similar investment from the employer, whereas they typically spend 15 minutes or less to review one application (and yes, that is even after the selection software filtered out the first selection). So, an uneven investment in the relationship arises, setting uneven expectations of the opposite party.
Moreover, the way to fix this issue differs from each side. The candidates propose better communication whereas the employers believe that the process is the problem. Now we can see a clearly why candidate experiences are in general not that positive; they enter an unequal relationship, and they are not provided with (in their opinion) the right solution to balance out that relationship.
From the perspective of the employers, there are also obstacles which cause a worse candidate experience. Firstly, is the sheer volume of candidates. If you ever published a vacancy on LinkedIn, then you recognize this problem: the flood of applicants. Of course, in first instance this is positive, however most of the time the larger part of these applicants is not relevant for the position. Just rejecting those applications in a respectful manner can be a fulltime job on its own.
Secondly, there is often a gap between the specific knowledge of the responsible recruiter and the specific knowledge of the candidate. This makes for difficulty when the recruiter has to interpret feedback from the internal organisation back to the candidate. Often things get mis-translated and mis-interpreted which makes for fuzzy feedback and confused candidates.
Finally, recruitment is often not a priority of hiring managers which makes it difficult to get feedback to the candidate in a timely manner. When an application rolls in and a recruiter is uncertain if the qualifications align with the recruitment profile (if that one even fully determined and agreed upon), then the recruiter often refers to the hiring manager for feedback. Depending on the persuasiveness of the recruiter, the time it takes before the feedback reaches the candidate can range anywhere between a couple of hours, days, or weeks (in extreme cases).
So how do we fix these problems and how can we get closer to a good candidate experience? Well let’s start off with saying that we cannot keep everybody happy. There will always be candidates who have a bad experience and that can be completely out of your control. That can be due to the unreasonable nature of the candidate (although this cannot be your scapegoat for every bad experience), influences from the outset which are out of your control, or simply miscommunication between you and the candidate.
However, we can definitely reduce the amount of bad candidate experiences. The key to improvement lies in a couple of factors which we widely explore in this blog, but here I will summarize the main solutions:
Improved candidate profile
Improved speed and quality of communication
Higher integration and prioritization of recruitment
Do you experience different problems with your candidate experience and do would you like assistance fixing them? Get in touch with us and see what we can do for you.