17 April 2015

Why companies need to create a positive candidate experience

A poor recruitment process can reflect badly on your company. So how can firms improve?

Research shows that companies are risking damage to their brands by not focusing on candidates’ recruitment experiences, with disgruntled job applicants sharing their negative experiences in person and on social media.

A survey of 2,000 UK jobseekers by Shortlister.com showed that 80% of candidates who aren’t happy with the recruitment process tell other people about it.

And a US survey by CareerBuilder shows that after a bad candidate experience, 22% of respondents would tell other people not to work at the company, while 9% would tell people not to buy from them.

Recruitment priorities
However, for many employers, ensuring a positive experience for candidates doesn’t appear to be a priority. When the Recruitment and Employment Confederation surveyed 272 employers in the UK it found that “reduce the cost of recruitment” was the preferred recruitment model for 42% of employers, while “ensuring the candidate receives a high-quality experience” was a priority for just 20% of respondents.  

Positive experiences, positive effects
The recruitment process is expensive – it’s estimated that it costs around £30,000 per vacancy. But, as the research shows, over-emphasis on costs can be expensive in terms of a company’s brand and can put off quality candidates.

On the other hand, a good experience can boost a company’s reputation. A US study by The Talent Board showed that 61% of job applicants who had a good recruitment experience would encourage others to apply to the same company, while almost 40% would buy more from them even if they didn’t get the job.

Improving the experience
So what can recruiters do to focus more on candidates? 

  • Know what job applicants are thinking: according to a study by CEB, 60% of HR professionals are not monitoring the candidate experience. Doing so can help recruiters understand where they need to improve.
  • Treat candidates as customers: candidates should be impressed by your company and feel that it’s somewhere they’d like to work.
  • Communicate: not hearing back from companies is a big bugbear for candidates. In the survey by CareerBuilder, 60% of respondents complained about not being told of interview decisions and 29% about not having their application acknowledged.
  • Keep the process timely: job applicants dislike long, drawn-out recruitment processes. According to a study by Robert Walters, 72% of professionals would be put off by a long recruitment process.
  • Personalise the process: make your processes flexible and not just tick-box exercises.

For more on attracting and keeping the right people, see Turning a company into a talent magnet.

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