The importance of candidate experience has been recognized in recruitment only comparatively recently – and even in that time, its effects have changed markedly.
Certainly, the days in which talent was seen as a commodity and cherry-picked from known education systems or groups of people are long gone. But just because the advent of the internet and social media has brought with it a global talent pool, a shortage of skilled applicants and a fresh generation of demanding workers doesn’t mean that there’s a standard internet and social media-based cure-all for recruitment’s technological ills.
When QJumpers first moved into the US market our feedback from a survey of more than 120 companies across a range of industries and sizes was that their existing recruitment software was anything but candidate-friendly.
The most obvious way in which the term candidate experience has changed in recent years is that it is no longer a genie kept in the recruitment industry’s own private bottle. The modern applicant has always known the power of their own role in the application, interview and on-boarding process, but now they also know that the recruiters and hiring managers know that they know – and, even worse, they can see when they don’t.
And statistics from 2017 back up the growing trend of companies missing out on applicants because of the way their recruitment strategy is delivered. For example, a recent CareerBuilder survey revealed more than a third of employers (38%) lost a candidate because of a negative experience with their background check. And those same companies often didn’t even realize why they were losing candidates: less than half of HR managers who conduct background checks (44%) had tested their background check experience themselves. (When employers do test their process, they identify a less than ideal candidate experience, with 14% rating their background check candidate experience as fair or poor.)
And it isn’t just more complicated procedures such as background checks, even simple communication can fall by the wayside, according to The Talent Board’s president of global programs, Kevin Grossman, who – ahead of last month’s Recruiting Trends and Talent Tech Conference told recruitingtrends.com that according to 2017 North American Talent Board Candidate Experience (CandE) data, 52 percent of candidates never hear back from employers from the time they apply up to 2 to 3 or more months later.
The trouble with candidates who have a negative experience during the recruitment process is that they are often willing to bite back at the company which had provided the poor experience by either boycotting the company’s products and services or even telling others not to as well.
Or as Kevin put it when describing why some companies outperform others when it comes to candidate experience: “We’ve found that most companies taking a look at their recruitment processes… have some level of understanding that there’s a potential greater aggregate impact on their business and their brand via those they reject, even more so than those they hire. By participating in our benchmark research, the data they receive underscores that the experience candidates have will inform the decisions they make going forward – applying again or not, referring others or not, and buying products and services or not if they’re a consumer-based business.”
The five main areas in which companies often fall down are in:
- Communication: minimal interaction.
- Timeliness: lengthy process and not keeping within a promised timeline.
- Role and business needs: too much fluidity.
- Lack of interviewer expertise and respect for the candidate.
- Lack of feedback when unsuccessful.
Now that businesses are actively investigating the experience they are providing to potential candidates, there has also been a growth in understanding more about what the applicant wants and how they view their experience.
It’s not enough now to simply think that you’ve upped your game and trained hiring managers to treat candidates better – the changing demands of the candidate experience now means businesses can learn far more about their own systems and processes.
- Gauging applicant reactions can provide great data around ability to hire the best candidates, drop-off rate of quality candidates and employee engagement.
- Barriers and delays within the recruitment process will impact candidate reactions negatively – and the better quality the candidate, the worse the reaction.
- Tests and screening linked to the job are seen favorably while non-job related questions are likely to influence negative behavior.
- Candidate reactions are rarely altered by the amount of money spent on the recruitment process whereas they do react positively to their perception of the process being efficient and fair.
- Applicants react strongly to the presence or absence of an obvious detailed process and knowledge of what’s required of them through that process.
And that’s why QJumpers has built a system that is fast, intuitive and easy; works by allowing applicants to input their resumes and then automatically populating their profiles so hiring managers get all the information they need to make a decision; and is developed so that it is easily accessible via mobile devices.
This process also has the added bonus of allowing the business to build its own “talent pool” as set fields are easier for a machine to read and hence rank and match potential candidates who have either applied or registered an interest previously.
QJumpers President, Simon Oldham, says companies are still learning the practicalities surrounding the pursuit of the ideal candidate experience.
“In the same way that everyone is now talking about mobile technology in relation to recruitment, now most are also speaking about candidate experience,” Simon says. “But then they still want a hugely complicated application process which makes it into a very complicated candidate application experience and they end up losing good applicants because of it.”
“It’s just that some people are still caught in their old ways of wanting all the information about everyone from the start and that really does turn off candidates these days.”