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Survey: Treat Candidates Well. (Your Business Depends On It.)

According to a new CareerBuilder study, when candidates have a bad job search experience with your company, it can adversely affect your company’s bottom line.

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.

Recruitment Mythbusters

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
Mary Lorenz

About Mary Lorenz

Mary is a copywriter for CareerBuilder, specializing in B2B marketing and corporate recruiting best practices and social media. In addition to creating copy for corporate advertising and marketing campaigns, she researches and writes about employee attraction, engagement and retention. Whenever possible, she makes references to pop culture. Sometimes, those references are even relevant. A New Orleans native, Mary now lives in Chicago, right down the street from the best sushi place in the city. It's awesome.
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  2. [...] provide positive experiences for candidates (especially since a negative job search experience can adversely affect the bottom line), which is also all the more reason for employers to think about their CRM [...]

  3. [...] of creating a positive candidate experience.  A separate CareerBuilder study about how the application experience affects candidate behavior indicates that a company’s reputation played a significant role in candidates’ decision to [...]

  4. [...] of creating a positive candidate experience.  A separate CareerBuilder study about how the application experience affects candidate behavior indicates that a company’s reputation played a significant role in candidates’ decision to [...]

  5. [...] Keeping the lines of communication is key to maintaining your talent network – and it’s key to providing a good applicant experience, which research has shown to affect a candidate’s decision to accept an offer with that [...]

  6. [...] Better the Candidate Experience, the Better the Business Results:  Results from CareerBuilder’s recent Applicant Experience study show that companies do not just lose potential candidates when they have a negative application [...]

  7. [...] companies know that treating candidates well is more than just about trying to recruit new hires (although that’s a large part of it); they [...]

  8. [...] Eighty-two percent of workers expect to hear back from a company when they apply for a job regardless of whether the employer is interested.  Nearly one-third (32 percent) of workers said they would be less inclined to purchase products or se… [...]

  9. [...] Eighty-two percent of workers expect to hear back from a company when they apply for a job regardless of whether the employer is interested.  Nearly one-third (32 percent) of workers said they would be less inclined to purchase products or se… [...]

  10. [...] Eighty-two percent of workers expect to hear back from a company when they apply for a job regardless of whether the employer is interested.  Nearly one-third (32 percent) of workers said they would be less inclined to purchase products or se… [...]

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