Candidate Experience – Why embracing your unsuccessful candidates could improve company performance…

Consider these two extracts from emails sent to ‘Clear Channel Communications’ Chief Talent Scout, Morgan Hoogvelt

 “…I’ve been doing this for a while and I’ve never worked with anyone in an HR capacity who took the time to inform, support and strategize with a candidate the way that you guys did with me. It’s obvious that you all care about the candidate as much as the company you work for, and that’s very rare. I really appreciated all the time you took with me to help me try and succeed.” 

“…I can’t begin to tell you how great the experience I have just completed was. The entire candidate process from start to finish was great and in speaking with everyone involved, they all treated me with dignity and respect when I felt I was at the lowest point of my professional career.” 

Their feedback is a recruiters dream; satisfied candidates who leave with a positive experience of the company – but which was offered the job prior to these emails? It’s impossible to tell, isn’t it?

And so here lies a perfect example of applicants receiving an excellent candidate experience, resulting in a positive impression of the company regardless of the interviews result; an outcome every HR department should strive for.

However, according to statistics taken from a recent survey of jobseekers by career coach, Jane Downes, many recruitment processes leave a lot to be desired when compared with the above. Applicants report:

A lack of common courtesy – 

‘28% of respondents experienced a noticeable lack of respect or understanding from the interviewing panel.’

A lack of respect and regard for their efforts –

77% of people surveyed said they received ‘absolutely no communication from a company after sending in their CV to an advertised position’.

A communication break-down between recruiters and their candidates –

‘40% of candidates experienced an “unacceptable time lapse” between response to a first-round interview and receiving a second interview.’  (An unacceptable time lapse being 2-3 weeks.)

These findings show that candidates don’t expect the world, but everyday pleasantries: courtesy, respect, understanding and communication. However, here is evidence that a high percentage of candidates are not receiving such good conduct from recruiters.

Whilst an unsavory recruitment process could easily affect the calibre and performance of the chosen hire, those rejected from the process should be considered as well, as their opinion of the company will also have changed. Every company hopes that these impressions will have changed for the better, but, when considering the statistics given above, we can assume that this is not always the case.

Although many companies do work on impressing their potential employees during the attraction, application and hire process, these statistics suggest that some companies fail to put the same amount of effort into the rejected candidate’s experience. It is integral that those that are to become the bulk surplus of your recruitment process do not end up feeling like that. Companies should consider how they are dealing with these applications as a rejected applicant does not need to be a disgruntled one. The statistics above offer some guidance as they suggest that a communication breakdown between recruiters and applicants is a common cause for a negative experience. By keeping candidates informed of what to expect from a process and what’s happening next, a familiar complaint can be addressed. Companies that fail to recognise the implications of their actions towards rejected applicants face a negative reproach upon their employer brand which, consequently, will also affect their company brand as a whole.

By creating an excellent candidate experience, both during and after the application process is completed, companies will not only find that their new hire enters the workforce with motivation and enthusiasm, but that those rejected leave the application process as advocates of the company.

How, though, can organisations ensure that any policies they instigate to combat these issues are having a positive impact or, alternatively, that they have understood what their candidates expect from the recruitment process to begin with? This can be achieved by monitoring the feedback given from applicants. Whilst it is easy to ask those that have been hired, what about the hundreds or thousands that every company rejects each year? These can be a company’s harshest critics, yet many companies allow this wealth of information slip from their grasp. It is essential that these candidates leave the room with the same positive attitude towards an organisation as they had on entering the room, regardless of the interviews outcome. This is not an easy task as, like a customer who comes to a shop for a specific purchase, they have left without acquiring what they initially set out for. It can be achieved though: if companies target their research prior to a process and gather feedback post-process, they will gradually create a resourcing strategy that meets the expectations of their audience, creating a great candidate experience and, subsequently, supporting their company’s performance as a whole.

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