Research Section: A Candidate’s Experience

How a candidate’s experience of your recruitment process can have long lasting consequences.

 Why is this so important?

Getting the candidate experience right is so important. Mystery Applicant research shows 48% of candidates said they had a poor or very poor time when seeking a new role.

Where is it going wrong?

The two main areas where businesses seem to get it wrong are in keeping candidates informed during the process, mentioned by 58% of applicants, and how the candidate was meant to feel during the whole journey. Just over half of respondents said they didn’t feel that they were treated as an individual.

Stats and Facts:

  1. Recent data from the Corporate Executive Board (CEB) shows that candidates who have a positive experience put in more effort in the job, to the tune of 15%.
  2. Those who have a positive experience are also 38% more likely to stay with that employer than those who didn’t.
  3. Candidates share their poor experiences with others. An amazing 83% tell friends and family while 64% take to social media.


So we know it’s important, but what are the main steps we can take to resolve the problem?

  • Be Explicit: if you explain what the recruitment process will be like before they apply, candidates are far more likely to feel more relaxed about the steps needed to be taken.
  • Early Self-Screening: when a job specification is clear, it helps prevent candidates applying for a job they know wouldn’t be right for them. Make the requirements obvious and easy to understand and you’ll see the dual benefits of cost saving with fewer applications that wouldn’t fit but you but also fewer candidates barking up the wrong tree.
  • Keeping on top of it: especially challenging when recruiting large numbers, but nothing is more disheartening for a candidate than simply never hearing back. Even generic feedback like missing qualifications or the wrong experience is far better than nothing. So ensure your application tracking technology or systems can help you keep an eye on your responses.
  • Be on the same page: make sure line managers are fully aware of how long a recruitment process is likely to take, let the candidate know from the start and set deadlines.
  • Communicate throughout: make it clear internally, whose role it is to meet the candidate, when? As a rule of thumb, there should be a follow up email or phone call after every significant contact, but who in your firm will make sure that happens?
  • Feedback: why not consider asking candidates for their view on your recruitment process? Whether they received the job or not, their opinions can help encourage a continuous improvement mentality, which in the long run could save you time and money.

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Original article by the Institute of Recruitment Professionals first published by Kevin Green, Chief Executive on HR Magazine’s Website.

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