Prepare and Respect: How to Provide a Positive Candidate Experience

Looking for a job is stressful. From going to interviews to choosing the right position, the application and recruiting process is costly in both time and effort. To make matters worse, after all this work, many job seekers never hear back from employers; sometimes it seems that their applications simply disappear into a “black hole.”

With unemployment near record lows, the labor market is tight. This puts the power in job seekers’ hands, both in terms of plentiful alternatives and the ability to share about them on social and reviews platforms. Not only is providing a positive candidate experience the compassionate thing to do, but it is now essential for employers who want to compete for great talent.

So how can employers improve their interview and recruiting processes? To find out, we surveyed 1,000 people who have applied for a job within the last year about their candidate experiences.

Engage in enjoyable conversations, but don’t waste job seekers’ time

The good news: Most respondents (70%) report “mostly” (39%) or “only positive experiences” (31%) with interviewing or recruiting during their most recent job searches. The downside? Nearly one-third (30%) say their most recent experiences with interviewing or recruiting were negative — showing that there is still work to do.

The way employers treat candidates can have a big impact, and a little positivity can go a long way. In a world dominated by online interactions, enjoyable conversations are worth more than ever — in fact, this is the biggest contributor to a good interview experience (cited by 43% of respondents).

This is followed by transparency regarding salary and benefits packages (42%) and the recruiter or hiring manager being on time and prepared (40%).

Conversely, the top five contributors to a negative experience relate to time management and communication. The worst offense hiring managers can commit, in job seekers’ eyes, is not respecting their time, whether by canceling, showing up late or being unprepared for an interview (chosen by 45% of respondents). This is closely followed by providing inconsistent job descriptions (42%) and poor communication (41%).

What contributes to a negative candidate experience?

Negative experiences hurt, but not as much as positive experiences help

The majority of respondents (52%) “definitely” tell friends or family when they have a negative recruiting or interviewing experience, which is important news for employers.

However, they are less likely to share than candidates who have positive experiences: 72% of respondents “definitely” share good news. Meanwhile, over half of respondents (58%) are “very likely” to recommend companies that provide positive experiences to others looking for work.

Therefore, going above and beyond to make candidates happy is worth the effort. Simply avoiding a bad experience won’t get a response from that extra 20% of talent who are eager to share about the exceptional times.

What’s more, negative experiences can affect your bottom line: The majority of job seekers (66%) say this would negatively impact their future business dealings…

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