According to a recent survey by CareerBuilder, a bad candidate experience can negatively impact a company’s ability to recruit quality hires. Great candidates will agonize over their resume and cover letter (knowing that it can make or break their candidacy), spend time hunting down connections that might help get them a foot in the door, follow up with headhunters and more.
They know how to work the system to get seen by the right people, but without a great applicant experience, you risk losing great candidates to your overly-complicated process!
1. Unclear application instructions
According to SoftwareAdvice, 93% of respondents said that unclear information on how to apply would negatively impact their experience with a company. For instance, the job posting may not say what specific materials the applicant should provide, or where applicants should send those materials. Are they supposed to email someone directly within the company or use an online application system? If they want to apply to more than one position, should they apply multiple times or should they just indicate in their cover letter they are interested in multiple jobs? What format should their files be in? Great candidates know that failing to apply the “right” way can affect how their application is viewed by your talent acquisition team, but if you don’t spell out exactly what you want, how are they supposed to give it to you?!
2. Lengthy online applications
Less really is more when it comes to the candidate experience. How many clicks did it take to complete your application process? If you are a fun place to work then it shouldn’t feel like a mortgage application! Candidates expect resume and social profile data extraction, so if they have to upload a resume and THEN fill out another form, you’re putting a bad taste in their mouth.
As SoftwareAdvice found, the second factor most likely to negatively impact the candidate experience is an unnecessarily long job application. When they asked respondents for their suggestions on how the job application process could be improved, one had a simple suggestion: “Allow uploads of resumes and information, then DO NOT require that the exact same information be entered in a lengthy application process.” Resume extraction technology is so advanced, there is no need to require double entry. And there's no reason an applicant shouldn't be able to apply with their LinkedIn profile (with the opportunity to add supplementary documentation), so why make them apply essentially a second time with a standard application form?
3. No communication after the application is submitted
While over one-third of job seekers (34%) surveyed by SoftwareAdvice.com note they would prefer more communication overall throughout the hiring process, 28% say the main piece of information that would improve their applicant experience is simply a note about whether they were passed over for the position they applied for. One respondent notes: “Just an email would be sufficient ... to let the person know so they are not left wondering.” Even something as simple as an automated email letting the candidate know their application has been received is a huge step in the right direction. After the application is submitted, let your applicants know what the follow up is like after applying. Will they hear from you within a week, one way or the other? Will they only hear from you if you want to bring them in for an in-person interview?
Even if you decide that candidate isn’t right for the job they applied for, by keeping the lines of communication open you have a much better chance of keeping them in your talent network and creating a pool of candidates that might be right for you somewhere down the line.
A poor applicant experience can also affect your business because approximately one-third of the surveyed applicants said they are less likely to purchase products from that company, and another 78% say they would share their bad experience with friends and family. Fixing the most common pain points of the application process doesn’t require that much more work on the recruiting organization's end. And in some ways, it can actually make it easier for your talent acquisition team! Take some time and go through your own application process and see where the bottlenecks are and how you might make for a better candidate experience.