57% of candidates were dissatisfied in how they were rejected, pointing back to the black hole of silence.” TWEET THIS
Every applicant knows the precise moment she became your candidate. Just ask her.
She may have pressed submit on your career website. She might have walked in off the street. She may have sent in a resume to your HR department. Whenever an individual raises her hand for consideration, she forms a bond with your company. In her mind, the moment she chose to declare an interest in your open requisition, no matter which of these avenues she chose, is the moment she became a candidate.
Candidates have an emotional, but reasonable, set of expectations of how they will be treated by talent advisors. Do you know what your candidates’ expectations are — or do you just think you know? The more pertinent question may be, can you put a number to it?
The Data Behind the Candidate Experience
I am a board member of a nonprofit group of volunteers called the TalentBoard, which oversees a program called The Candidate Experience Awards. We regularly collect data on over 122 companies that hire talented people.
Recently, we polled applicants and candidates about how they thought they were treated during the hiring process — and the results were interesting.
First, here was our sample size of job seekers:
- 95,000 applicants and candidates answered as many as 60 detailed questions about their experience with recruiting teams and talent advisors.
- 50 percent were female.
- 33 percent were professionals.
- 10 percent were executives.
- 33 percent were millennials.
- 33 percent had been looking for 16 weeks or more.
The majority of the companies that participated in benchmarking the candidate experience thought they were doing a good job of it. About half of them (62 percent) got that right. More than half the candidates (53 percent) thought they had a positive relationship with the firm even before they applied. They admired the company or bought their products or had friends and family who worked there. From a company perspective, “They were ours to lose.”
What happens when people don’t get hired? Well, there are about 2.1 unemployed citizens for every job opening in America. Most people who apply for a job don’t get that job; however, they can still have a positive experience with a company’s brand.
Unfortunately, when a candidate’s experience turned bad, it turns really bad.
- 29 percent of all respondents were dissatisfied with the research companies provided on their websites.
- 25 percent were dissatisfied with the application itself.
- 15 percent took less than 15 minutes to complete an online or paper application.
- Nearly 10 percent of applicants took more than 60 minutes to complete an application.
We also found that 57 percent of candidates were dissatisfied in how they were rejected, with anecdotal stories pointing to the black hole of silence that so many job seekers know and fear. This may be the easiest opportunity for talent advisors to fix.
What Have We Learned?
Data comes at us like a firehouse, drenching talent advisors with both important and trivial information. How do we know what practices are merely annoying? Which ones have a real impact?
Asking “what have we missed?” is one way to influence the candidate’s perception of fairness. When applicants and candidates share their skills, knowledge and experience on an application or in a phone screen — even when they are not hired at all — they are largely satisfied.
Employers with great candidate experience stories also listen more, measure their results and tie those results to recruiter performance.
Ask your applicants:
Would you refer others to our company given your current experience?”
Being a “candidate” has a legal definition and an emotional definition, but in the applicant’s eye, none of this matters. Although she might not even be qualified or may never even considered for a job, she expects to be treated fairly. This candidate holds expectations about how likely it would be to hear from you, and how you respond may change or strengthen her attitude about your company.
If you don’t respond, it can negatively impact a candidate’s perception about your organization. This can affect your recruiting goals, your employer brand — even your products and services.
I believe tuning into the candidate’s experience makes a tremendous amount of sense for talent advisors. However, the choice to listen to the market and adjust your recruiting process or to diminish your brand, and lose candidates to your competitors, is yours.
Learn more about the role of the talent advisor in elevating the candidate experience withCareerBuilder’s new e-book on how to use HR technology to humanize your process. And don’t forget to check out “10 Tips to Create an A+ Candidate Experience and Improve ROI.”