The Perils of Mismanaging the Candidate Experience

Working in the recruitment industry, one of the most common themes you hear is how frustrating it can be applying and interviewing for jobs. The number one initiative in talent acquisition for 2020 is improving the candidate experience. Hopefully, this will lead to the end of the communication black hole and build stronger partnerships between agency and employer for a smoother journey for all job seekers.

According to TalentBoard’s most recent yearly research report on candidate experience, the resentment rate (candidates willing to sever relationships with the employer based on their experience) in North America has risen by 40% between 2016 and 2019. The same report found that the most common areas of frustration include lack of communication, lack of transparency, a slow-moving hiring process, and the job seeker feeling like their time investment isn’t respected or valued.
Lack of communication
Whether you work for an agency or a corporate talent acquisition team, communicating with the candidate throughout the process is paramount to the positive candidate experience. According to HR Daily Advisor, 26% of job seekers say that a lack of communication from employers after applying is the biggest challenge they face. For recruiters, tools and technologies can help you automate your messaging during early stages for both qualified and unqualified candidates when hundreds of resumes come in.
Once you have narrowed your search to the candidates you want to interview, communication becomes even more critical. All too often, we hear from job seekers that they interview for a role and then never hear back. If you’re waiting for an update from the hiring manager, keep the candidate in the loop and ensure they know they’re still being considered for the role and that no decision has been made. Set expectations with the candidate, set reminders in your calendar to reach out and, most importantly, respond to emails and calls. Looking for a job can be a stressful experience, and you should always try to put yourself in the candidate’s shoes.
Lack of transparency
A Glassdoor survey from 2018 found that lack of information about compensation and benefits created frustration for job seekers. Other areas where employers and recruiters tend to withhold information include what the recruitment process will look like from start to finish, where the role fits within the company, and any challenges their teams are facing. Companies must stop worrying about relinquish power over the negotiation process, revealing flaws in their culture or gaps in their organization. Every company has them, and job seekers are aware of that reality.
Slow moving hiring process
The recruitment process involves many players in most cases, and setting a clear timeline can be tough, which can lead to a slow process overall. The survey from Glassdoor found that 4 out of 5 job seekers would prefer the recruitment process to be less than a month. What we see with our clients is that the best way to move the process ahead is to ensure all the stakeholders (hiring manager, HR, recruitment partners, etc.) are involved during the beginning stage of the search. Set a timeline that fits with everyone involved, schedule milestone meetings and then adjust as needed. By doing that, you can hold everyone accountable and set clear expectations with the job seekers, from application to offer. Slow hiring processes leave job seekers feeling as though they are wasting valuable time.
From my experience as a recruiter, having worked hundreds of searches at all levels, verticals and industries, this is an aggregate of the other three areas. When you provide clear and regular communication with your candidates, provide transparency throughout the process, and set precise deadlines and expectations both internally and externally, the candidate will be satisfied with the process even if they don’t end up getting the job. I have received a thank you from my candidates numerous times because they gained something from the process that they can use in future job searches. And that’s the type of reputation your company and your recruiters should strive to attain.


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