Not to be all “I told you so,” but you know how we’ve told you before that ignoring candidates is bad for your company’s brand image and its bottom line? Well…now there’s even more research to back it up.
Results from CareerBuilder’s new Applicant Experience study show how employers may be losing out on talent – and business – if someone has a bad experience applying for a job with their company. According to the survey of more than 800,000 workers nationwide, 15 percent of job candidates reported having a worse opinion of the employer after they were contacted for an interview.
The survey is just the latest of recent research shining light on the following myths about recruitment:
- Myth #1: Failing to acknowledge a job application doesn’t affect the company. CareerBuilder’s Applicant Experience study found 44 percent of workers who didn’t hear back from an employer when they applied for a job said they have a worse opinion of that employer. In a separate study, 32 percent of job candidates said they are less likely to purchase a product from a company who didn’t respond to their job application.
- Myth #2: What happens in the recruitment process stays in the recruitment process. The truth is, bad experiences can go viral or at least spread throughout someone’s personal network. A 2011 CareerBuilder and Inavero study found that 78 percent of job candidates said they would talk about a bad experience they had with a potential employer with friends and family, 17 percent said they would talk about it on social media and 6 percent would blog about it.
- Myth #3: Just hearing from an employer in a tight job market is enough to keep the candidate’s interest. Those Head & Shoulders commercials were for real: You never do get a second chance to make a first impression. And that’s especially true with job candidates, so make it count. When asked to assess the recruiters who contacted them, 21 percent of job candidates reported that the recruiter was not enthusiastic about his/her company being an employer of choice, 17 percent didn’t believe the recruiter was knowledgeable and 15 percent didn’t think the recruiter was professional.
- Myth #4: The top reason workers apply to a job is salary. According to the survey, location was the number one reason candidates submitted an application (45 percent), followed by desirable industry (33 percent), reputation of the company (25 percent), interesting assignments (23 percent) and advancement opportunities (22 percent). While competitive compensation is important, it ranked sixth for why candidates said they applied to a job.
- Myth #5: The top reason why workers don’t apply is content in the ad. Good content in a job ad is critical, but technical issues are more often the culprit behind workers dropping off from applying to a job that may be interested in. Workers cited a link that wasn’t working and computer/Internet problems as the top reasons for not applying to a job. The application being too lengthy rounded out the top three.
Improving the Applicant Experience: 5 Tips
“How your employment brand is presented to job seekers from the moment a job is posted can have a lasting effect not only on your ability to acquire talent, but your business overall,” said Sanja Licina, Ph.D. and Senior Director of Talent Intelligence at CareerBuilder. “First and foremost, it’s important to acknowledge candidates and keep them informed. Make sure that the dynamic work experience you describe in your job posting is further supported in phone or face-to-face conversations. In addition, continually ask for feedback to see where your applicant process shines or where there are opportunities to improve.”
Licina offers the following quick tips to help improve the applicant experience:
- Keep job seekers in the loop. If limited resources and large volumes of applications prohibit a customized response, at the very least, set up an automatic reply with a quick note on the timeframe of hiring, so the candidate knows you received his/her application and is aware of your hiring timeline. Keep candidates informed about the timeline for interviews and when you will make the decision, and always make sure to follow up with candidates who ultimately weren’t chosen after an interview.
- Focus on what matters most to job seekers. Coming off of a recession where workers struggled with longer hours and having to transition to new industries, more are placing a greater emphasis on looking for jobs that have training opportunities, work-life balance and interesting assignments. Make sure to highlight relevant attributes along with your company’s competitive standing, advancement opportunities and other factors.
- Role play with ambassadors. Your employees are the greatest ambassadors of your employment brand. Set up practice interviews with recruiters and hiring managers, and survey applicants to get their feedback.
- Check it and then check it again. Triple check links on your company career page, online job sites, social media pages, etc. to make sure the connection is live and leading to the right information.
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