If you think the candidate experience at your company is truly great, take a look at this list of mistakes. You probably make at least one of them anyway. 

Which would you prefer: a reassuring lie or an inconvenient truth?

If you think that candidates who apply for a job in your company are always delighted by the way you treat them, you might be very wrong. And today, if you don’t offer a top-notch candidate experience, people will not choose you as their employer.

According to LinkedIn Talent Solution, 65% of candidates say they lose interest in the job after a bad interview. Seven in ten candidates who have had a bad experience have shared it online or with colleagues. And according to the Page Personnel Talent Trends 2021 report, as many as nine out of ten respondents reported a frustrating experience during the interview process.

What are the mistakes in candidate experience?

So if you have a high number of applications per job, but are still struggling to hire the right person for the job, you are probably making at least one mistake in designing your candidate experience.

What are those mistakes? We decided to ask someone who knows all about candidate experience and is an unquestionable expert in the field – Maja Gojtowska, who is a business consultant, lecturer, communication specialist and the author of the book “Candidate experience”. She also writes a popular blog “Gojtowska.com”.

Here are 7 mistakes that can sabotage your candidate experience and hiring efforts, and how to avoid them.

22% of employers don't undertake any activities to design a good candidate experience.

1. You don’t measure the candidate experience

According to eRecruiter’s 2019 Candidate Experience in Poland report, 22% of employers do not undertake any activities to design a good candidate experience.

A third of employers see no need for measuring CX, and 25% say they do not have the budget or time to measure and evaluate it.

“You cannot improve how candidates view your company if you do not measure it,” Maja says. “Asking about candidate experience gives you invaluable insights into what attracts and deters the people you want to hire. It also helps you position yourself against your competitors. The most important step is to start doing it – even with free online tools like Google Forms,” Maja adds.

2. You look at the wrong data

Many companies think they “know” how candidates perceive their hiring process because they solicit feedback from their new hires. “This is an inappropriate attitude because the perspective of someone who was hired is usually completely different from someone who was rejected. This is why you should also ask unsuccessful candidates about the process” Maja Gojtowska explains.

Other employers track basic HR metrics such as time to hire, time to fill, or the number of applications per job. However, this does not really reflect the experience of your candidates.

As Maja Gojtowska notes, you should rather pay attention to these metrics:

  • How many candidates looked at your job listing but did not apply?
  • How many started the process but did not complete the application form?
  • How many declined your offer and at what stage of the hiring process did they do so?

A proven method of measuring applicant experience is the eNPS (employee Net Promoter Score) survey. Here, you only need two questions, of which the first is:

How likely are you to recommend us to other candidates on a scale from 0 to 10?

Then you evaluate the outcomes:

  • 9-10 points means “Promoters” – people who were happy with the hiring process.
  • 7-8 points mean “Passives” – people who are neutral or indifferent and may be swayed by the competition.
  • 0-6 points mean “Detractors” – candidates who may damage your brand through negative word of mouth.

Then ask the second question, depending on the group.

  • To the promoters, “What elements did you particularly like during the hiring process?”
  • To the passives: “What elements of the recruitment process would you change?”
  • To the detractors: “What elements of the recruitment process should be improved immediately?”

The eNPS is a simple but very powerful metric and a great starting point for a more in-depth analysis of your hiring process.

3. You don’t review your recruitment process

Let us say you are collecting data and feedback from your candidates. The next step should be to get to the bottom of the responses and see what you can change. Details are important – they shape the overall candidate experience. However, many employers hang on to their HR processes and are not very willing to review them. They take a passive or even defensive stance and do not respond to market changes.

Maja Gojtowska about the candidate experience

4. You publish unattractive job ads

Many recruiters lack the ability to write compelling job ads. Nowadays, every recruiter also needs copywriting skills, because the job ad is one of the first touchpoints in the applicant’s journey.

“A good job ad does not need to be short. On the contrary, today more and more companies like Bee Talents, Traffit or Pani Swojego Czasu publish long and detailed ads. They are packed with detailed descriptions of what a new employee will do, who they will work with, what their typical working day will be like and who they will report to,” says Maja Gojtowska.

Another factor that can help you create a positive candidate experience is authenticity. Your job ad should reflect your brand, tone and voice. It should be consistent with your brand image and really “speak” to a candidate. 

These days, most job ads still repeat old-fashioned clichés and vague statements. On the other hand, there are companies that impress with unique job postings and a personal approach to the candidate.

5. Your recruitment process is too long

We live in a fast-paced world. According to Glassdoor, the hiring process today takes an average of 22.9 days, while candidates expect it to be half that at most.

“We are an on-demand society. We want everything to happen quickly, and some companies already specify their hiring timeframe in the job posting. Some promise to respond to an application within 72 hours, provide feedback within 24 hours of the interview, or even make an offer the same day if a candidate proves successful during the interview process. Research shows that a shorter hiring time contributes to a higher eNPS and a much better candidate experience, and is important to 54% of candidates,” Maja Gojtowska points out.

What can help you make your recruitment process shorter is to use a people analytics tool, such as Human Panel. An easy-to-use platform helps you track the effectiveness of your recruitment funnel and monitor the number of candidates per recruiter, as well as the time each recruiter spends at each stage of the process. This way, you can identify and remove any bottlenecks to manage the funnel more efficiently. Click here to find out more about Human Panel features.

Maja Gojtowska also emphasizes that a perfect candidate does not exist.

Prolonging the recruitment process is often related to finding an ideal candidate, who does not exist. And as you drag out the process, the candidate could lose interest and turn to another recruiter. Better to hire the first one that fits.

Maja Gojtowska

6. You don’t give feedback 

According to a study by eRecruiter, 72% of candidates expect feedback during the hiring process, even in case of rejection, regardless of the stage of the process. On the other hand, this is only practiced by 17% of employers, who tend to think of feedback as information they only give to candidates who make it to the interview stage.

“Feedback is any communication with the candidate telling them why they were rejected or accepted. All people who decide to submit an application need feedback. And by feedback, we do not mean the autoresponder that says, “We will contact the selected candidates,” Maja Gojtowska emphasizes.

The key is to tell people why they did not move forward in the process. Companies that want to move up a level can add a more detailed description of what a candidate needs to improve, where they can look for useful resources, and how they can better prepare for their next role in the company.

“I get the impression that HR teams are sometimes afraid to provide feedback, especially to candidates who are rejected after the initial screening. They fear that former candidates will try to appeal and undermine the recruiter’s decision. But at the end of the day, the companies that give feedback – even during the screening phase – are evaluated and perceived better than those that do not,” says Maja Gojtowska.

7. You don’t step into the candidate’s shoes

Sometimes what’s obvious to you might not necessarily be obvious to the candidate. Employers lack the time to shift perspective and look at their own job ad through the eyes of the candidate. “What does this person feel when he or she reads the ad?” “Why is he or she considering the ad but not applying for the job?”.

“It’s hard for recruiters because they know the process from the ground up. They feel like the candidate will ‘know’ stuff somehow – how to dress, where to park their car, etc. But candidates are often confused. How much would it cost to add a note ‘Dress as you like’ or ‘Smart casual welcome’? Wouldn’t it be easier for candidates if we added some tips on how to get to the office, where the main entrance is and on which floor our office is located?” Maja Gojtowska asks.

Applicants who do not know how to get to the interview often feel confused and sometimes… do not make it to the meeting at all!

A candidate should never feel guilty because he or she does not know how to get to the company’s office. It is the recruiter’s responsibility to anticipate the applicant’s questions and doubts. We should not expect people to ask if they do not know where the office is – in our society, we are not used to saying we do not know something.

Maja Gojtowska

Another example of how you can make applicants’ lives easier is by sending them a reminder about the interview. According to a study by eRecruiter, 8/10 candidates would like to be contacted in this way, and real-life examples prove that it works. For instance Golden Rose was able to increase candidate attendance at interviews from 50% to 100% by sending them a text message with the time and location of the meeting.

One more piece of advice

Examining the candidate experience is just like examining the effectiveness of marketing or sales. You need to ask candidates – your clients – how they liked the process. If you don’t do that, you will never have a chance to improve and consequently, others can easily outdo you. 

The eNPS surveys can be a good first step in measuring candidate experience, but there are other tools and metrics that you should take into consideration. To fully evaluate your the entire recruitment process, you should track such metrics as time to hire and time to fill, time to onboard and the new hire’s productivity as well as the engagement rate.

You probably have this data – possibly scattered across various systems. If you’d like to integrate it and understand the insights better, we can take care of it at Human Panel. With us, there is no painful starting point – we import data from any source and handle all the integrations and automations. To see how it works and discover the power of people analytics, sign up for a free demo.

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