Majority of employers underestimate the business impact of the candidate experience
Candidates are less likely to purchase from a company that treated them poorly during the application process
LONDON, 25 June 2015 – Whether it’s keeping candidates guessing as to where they are in the application process or simply neglecting to acknowledge their application, some employers are unwittingly leaving candidates with a bad impression – and it’s taking a toll on their business.
According to a new study from CareerBuilder, the experiences candidates have with a company throughout the application process can make or break their impression of a company, not only affecting their decisions to apply and accept a job offer, but also their loyalty as customers.
The 2015 Candidate Behavior study, conducted by Inavero on behalf of CareerBuilder of more than 500 workers between February 3 and February 18, 2015, sheds light on the differences between what candidates expect from potential employers during the job application process and what employers actually deliver.
“Today’s candidates expect ongoing communication from companies during the application process, and when companies fail to meet this expectation, it can be bad for business,” said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer of CareerBuilder. “Candidates remember when companies don’t respond to them, fail to update them on the status of their application or don’t follow up after an interview. Not only do these experiences make candidates less likely to apply to the company again, but they also make them less likely to purchase from the company as customers.”
The five facts every employer should know about the candidate experience include:
Fact: Candidate Experience Matters (More Than You Know)
The majority of candidates do not take poor treatment lying down: 60 per cent are less likely to buy from a company to which they’ve applied if they don’t get a response to their application; 66 per cent are less likely if they have a bad experience in the interview; and the same is true of 66 per cent if they didn’t hear back after an interview.
Conversely, a good candidate experience can have the reverse effect: 67 per cent of candidates are more likely to buy from a company to which they’ve applied if they’re treated with respect throughout the application process, and 63 per cent are likely to do the same if they receive consistent updates throughout the recruitment process.
Fact: Candidates Expect More Than You’re Giving Them
For some candidates, the myth of the infamous application “black hole” is all too real. What these employers may not realise, however, is that not only do most candidates expect an automated reply that acknowledges their application, the majority (85 per cent) also expect a personal email response, and 41 percent anticipate a phone call. Even when the news isn’t what they hope to receive, candidates expect a response: 35 per cent expect to hear if the employer will not be bringing them in for an interview.
Fact: Employers May Be Missing Opportunities to Connect with Candidates
Job seekers may be searching for jobs in a lot of places where employers don’t have a presence. Candidates consult up to 15 resources throughout their job search – including job boards, social networking sites, search engines and online referrals. Employers should consider expanding their search strategy and track data on where their candidates are coming from to avoid missing opportunities to connect with candidates where they are actually searching.
Fact: Ongoing Communication is Critical for Candidates
When it comes to candidate communication, employers seem to be falling short of candidates’ expectations. Thirty-two per cent of candidates expect to be updated throughout the application process, and 42 per cent expect to be notified if they weren’t chosen after they interviewed with the company. Even when they’ve made it as far into the process as an interview, many candidates are still left in the dark: Three in five (60 per cent) candidates who interviewed with companies said they were never given an explanation for why they didn’t get the job.
Fact: Candidates Are Frustrated with the Application Process
When it comes to keeping candidates engaged and interested in their opportunities, a company’s application process can be its own worst enemy. Forty-four per cent of candidates feel the application process has become more difficult in the last five years. Of those, 44 per cent complain the process is too automated and lacks personalisation, 38 per cent are frustrated they have no idea where they are in the process, and 44 per cent say the process has so many more steps than it used to have. Employers can reduce these frustrations by taking the time to respond to candidates, by keeping the lines of communication going and by minimising the number of steps candidates must go through during the application process.
In partnership with Inavero, CareerBuilder surveyed 500 workers ages 18 and over between February 3 and February 18, 2015 in the United Kingdom in an effort to understand the factors that influence candidates’ job search behavior. With a pure probability sample of 5,013 job seekers, one could say with a 95 confidence interval that the job seeker results have a sampling error of +/- 1.4 percent.
CareerBuilder is the global leader in human capital solutions, helping companies target and attract great talent. Its online career site, CareerBuilder.com®, is the largest in the United States with more than 24 million unique visitors and 1 million jobs. CareerBuilder works with the world’s top employers, providing everything from labor market intelligence to talent management software and other recruitment solutions. Owned by Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE:GCI), Tribune Company and The McClatchy Company (NYSE:MNI), CareerBuilder and its subsidiaries operate in the United States, Europe, South America, Canada and Asia. For more information, visit www.careerbuilder.com.
Georgina Routen/Shannon McGuirk