The Lies That Will Ruin Your Candidate Experience

September 7, 2016 Guest Contributor

There’s no denying the struggle is real when it comes to finding great talent. Companies are putting more and more effort into how they find, attract, and hire the employees they need. They do the best they can to create the perfect employer brand that job seekers just can’t resist. There’s just one problem: Job seekers now do copious amounts of research before they even consider working for a company.

The CareerBuilder Candidate Behavior study found that only 36 percent of job seekers apply for a job without looking into the organization first. While that means they’re more likely to learn about all the great things your company has to offer, it also makes it inevitable they’ll find any skeletons you have hidden in your closet.

Poor management, a less-than-stellar company culture, outdated benefits package, and more are all things they’ll sniff out before the interview. And the more you try to downplay the negative parts of your organization, the worse it’ll be when they discover the truth.

It’s better to be open and honest from the beginning instead of trying to hide the information. Because, if there’s one thing for certain, it’s that job seekers will always figure out these dirty little company secrets:

  1. High turnover.

A 2015 CareerArc survey found that 62 percent of job seekers turn to social media to learn about a company’s culture. Unfortunately, for organizations with high turnover, unhappy employees often vent their frustrations on social media, making it easy for candidates to find out how many people have left — or want to leave — the company.

Having poor employee retention is a red flag for job seekers. If they see employees running from your company, it tells them there are issues in the workplace. Instead of letting their minds imagine the absolute worst about your company, get ahead of the situation.

Be honest about why so many employees have left recently. For example, maybe you’ve had a string of hires that turned out to be bad cultural fits. Let them know you’re aware of the issue, and more importantly, let them know what you’re doing to fix it. Tell them the plan that is place and how you’re progressing so they are assured that the situation is improving, not getting worse.

  1. Less-than-competitive salaries.

It’d be wonderful if we could pay every great candidate who comes our way exactly what they want. But, that’s not always possible. To hide the fact that their salaries are less than average, many organizations just avoid the subject altogether during the hiring process. They give vague ranges of what the salary might be, and candidates quickly begin to suspect the offer they’ll receive might not be anything to write home about.

Yet, here’s what’s interesting. CareerBuilder’s Candidate Behavior study found that 77 percent of candidates will accept a lower salary after a positive hiring experience, and a 2016 Payscale report found that 82 percent of employees would actually be happy with a lower-than-average salary as long as they were given the reasons why. That’s how much employees value salary transparency.

Have clear criteria for how pay is determined and be open and honest about that with candidates. Explain why certain skills are given higher salaries than others so they know you’re not just low-balling them because you don’t see what they’re worth. You might be surprised how much they thank you for your honesty.

  1. Lack of career advancement.

Understandably, candidates’ professional future is important to them. In fact, a 2016 LinkedIn survey found that 43 percent of people have left their job because it lacked career advancement opportunities. So they want to know to know that a new company would be able to provide them that growth.

And don’t think you can hide your lack of career development until after candidates are hired. The same survey found that 26 percent of job seekers talk to current employees before deciding to take a job. With one question they can find out the truth about how much you focus on employees’ futures.

If the employees in your company feel like there’s no room for them to move up, that’s a topic for a different time. When it comes to job seekers, however, the best thing to do is to begin a discussion about their future options during the hiring process. Talk with them about their professional goals and let them know if and how they can accomplish them with the company.

  1. Bad leadership.

Nothing impacts a company more negatively than terrible management. A 2015 Gallup report found that 1 out of every 2 employees had left a job because of a bad boss. And thanks to employer review sites like Glassdoor, it’s now easier than ever for job seekers to find out the truth about a company’s leadership.

If you’ve been plagued by bad employer reviews online, don’t act like they don’t exist during the hiring process. In fact, give job seekers the chance to meet and spend time with prospective managers so they can form their own opinions on whether or not the management style will be right for them.

Candidate experience is incredibly important when it comes to attracting talent. And if you’re anything less than honest with your job seekers, they’ll figure it out. So you have to ask yourself if it’s really worth it to lie.

What are some other lies that can spoil the candidate experience? Share in the comments below!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Josh Tolan is the CEO of Spark Hire, a video interview solution used by more than 2,000 companies across the globe. Connect with Spark Hire on Facebook and Twitter.


Learn more about how to give candidates the kind of experience that will make them want to work for you with in-depth insights from CareerBuilder’s 2017 Candidate Behavior Study.

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