How Well do you Treat your Job Applicants?

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Office Manager Is Screaming Behind Prison BarsMost of us are familiar with the idea of candidate relationship management and that if candidates are not treated well during the hiring process, it can lead to all sorts of difficulties with your future talent attraction process. Specifically, candidates who feel mistreated during the hiring process are much less likely to apply again, which is a real shame if they are basically a good sort. The seemingly ‘mistreated’ are much more likely to tell the marketplace about their negative experiences, and since culture is such a crucial factor of employer attractiveness these days, it could deter top talent from applying to you in the future as they opt for the competition.

But, are bad candidate experiences still a feature of today’s more enlightened recruitment environment? Well yes, according to a survey, which reported that 46 percent of applicants had a poor to very poor candidate experience. CareerBuilder recently put that figure at 25 percent, which still suggests there is a significant body of employers who are still delivering bad applicant experiences.

So, what’s the quantifiable impact of a bad candidate experience?

Well, there is a growing body of evidence to back up the notion that treating applicants badly will have severe knock on effects for your talent management process. For example, the recent survey by has revealed that 83 percent of applicants will tell their friends and family about a bad experience  and 64 percent of applicants will convey their disappoint via social media.  As I said, these findings are not a one off as CareerBuilder showed, albeit from a slightly different angle with their survey finding, that 22 percent of applicants who had a bad experience would “tell others not to work there” and “two percent would not actively seek employment there again”.

Of course, many of us are familiar with the talent management reasons for delivering great candidate experiences, but there are also important commercial reasons too. These are that according to the survey,38 percent of candidates are less likely to buy from or use products or services from an employer after the interview. Note, this is a 57 percent swing from the status before interview where the survey found that 19 percent of people were more likely to buy or use the company’s products or services. CareerBuilder found that 32 percent of mistreated applicants would not purchase products or services from the employer and 9 percent would tell others not to.

This shows that the negative experiences of the interview process can have a negative impact on company sales as these candidates are also customers. So, there is a very compelling HR and commercial case for HR tostart delivering a dream candidate experience. And what does this look like? CareerBuilder gave us a clue to this by outlining the five indicators of a bad experience as revealed by their study, which I have inverted to give the five indicators of a dream candidate experience and you can find these below. These are:

  • Informing the candidate about the decision after the interview – 60 percent
  • Making sure the job advert matches what is presented at interview– 43 percent
  • Company representative presenting a positive work experience – 34 percent
  • Company representative being knowledgeable – 30 percent
  • Employer acknowledging receiving their application – 29 percent

So, if you find that these points characterize your hiring process, then you are delivering a dream candidate experience and if not, you may need to make some enhancements and I hope this article can assist you in this process.

By Kazim Ladimeji