12 Missing Links That Could Be Ruining Your Candidate Experience

June 28, 2017 Ladan Nikravan Hayes


SPOILER ALERT: Your candidate experience is probably worse than you think. Why? There’s an experience gap between how employers perceive they’re faring versus how candidates rate their proficiency. Job seekers and employers agree that an end-to-end candidate experience matters, but there is still much work to be done to overcome the failures and frustrations that arise during different stages of the hiring process.

Any business process is only as strong as the weakest link – and candidate experience is no different. Exclusive research and insights from CareerBuilder’s 2017 Candidate Experience Study show what peers and competitors have identified as shortcomings in their process, illustrate the role for technology to help improve the process and provide tips to make things easier for employers and prospective employees. Here are some aspects employers are struggling with:  

  1. Not having a quick apply process for every device: The application process itself can contribute to a negative experience for modern candidates, whose top complaints are: “applications taking too long” (28 percent), “having to customize documents for every job” (34 percent) and “uploading a resume into a system but still having to manually fill out fields” (29 percent).
  2. Not preparing hiring managers: On average, only 2 out of 5 hiring managers are prepared by recruiters or talent acquisition specialists. Of those who are, only 2 out of 5 prep hiring managers specifically on the topic of candidate experience. This means only 16 percent of hiring managers overall are prepared by specialists to help manage the candidate’s experience.
  3. Not having an effective career site: An employer’s career site is important for getting key information, according to 89 percent of job seekers. But a quarter of employers (24 percent) say their company career site doesn’t accurately portray what it’s like to work for their organization, and only 45 percent of candidates say they can typically tell what it would be like to work for a company based on their career site.
  4. Not tailoring communications methods to specific segments: The ever-emerging multigenerational workforce demands a shift in the way we communicate. Millennials significantly prefer email communications (57 percent) over phone calls (31 percent), whereas boomers significantly prefer phone calls (58 percent) over emails (37 percent). Gen Xers have equal preferences towards email and phone calls (47 percent for both). Further, millennials are 2-3 times more likely to prefer alternative communication methods (text messaging, social media messaging and video calling) compared to Gen X and baby boomer generations.
  5. Not recognizing when the employee experience really begins: The lines between the candidate and employee experience are blending – at least in the eyes of candidates, as 3 in 4 say their candidate and onboarding experience with a company is the first part of their broader employee experience with that company. 
  6. Not building relationships with candidates for future opportunities: The most valuable resource an employer has is their talent pool. While it is important to attract the top candidates, it is equally as important to frequently and effectively communicate with your talent pool, but more than a third of employers (35 percent) say they don’t put time into doing this.
  7. Not having an efficient background check process: Employers that want to keep top talent from talking to other companies while they want to receive employment screening results should improve their screening process. Sixty percent of candidates continue communicating and interviewing with other companies while waiting on background results.
  8. Not having the right ATS or an ATS at all: Organizations currently utilizing an ATS (applicant tracking system) reported placing more emphasis on the candidate, employee and hiring manager experiences. For example, those who currently use an ATS are 25 percent more likely to have a standardized process to help deliver a consistent candidate experience.
  9. Not informing the candidate where they stand: More than half of job seekers say employers don’t do a good job of setting expectations in terms of communication at the beginning of a potential hiring interaction. Eighty-one percent of job seekers said continuously communicating status updates to candidates would greatly improve the overall experience.
  10. Not staying connected with candidates once they have accepted the position: Once the hiring process is in the post-acceptance and onboarding stage, the expectation is for the process to be seamless and frustration-free for new hires – yet a noticeable number of candidates say this stage has not been ideal. Two in 5 candidates (40 percent) say they’ve experienced a lack of communication in the past between when they accepted the job and their first day of work. This is not surprising, since less than half of employers (47 percent) have a formal process in place for communicating and interacting candidates between the time the day they accepted the job and the day they start work.
  11. Not paying attention to how their employer presence/brand is portrayed on social media: Employers are trying to reach an audience, and they can’t afford to let their brand’s social media pages fall by the wayside. Yet, 60 percent of employers don’t monitor their employer presence/brand on social media. Of those who do, 68 percent take steps to encourage positive reviews while 16 percent just react to negative information.
  12. Not treating candidates with the same respect as employees: While the majority of employers (51 percent) say the line is blurring between the company experience and employee experience, less than half of job seekers (49 percent) say employers treat candidates with the same level of respect and accountability as current employees. This is an issue since the vast majority of job seekers (nearly 4 in 5) say the overall candidate experience is an indicator of how a company values its people.

What Does This Mean for You?

One in 4 employers says the amount of time it took to fill their last opening was too long. Hiring isn’t easy. But don’t lose sight of the plight of candidates. Job seekers on average say it takes them about two and a half months — 10-11 weeks — to find a job, from when the search begins to when they accept the offer. During this time, they spend just over five hours a week on average on job search related activities.

Your job is hard, but so is the candidate’s. That’s why it’s crucial to understand how to improve your candidate experience – and technology can help you get there.

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