How Does the Candidate Experience Impact their Belief in the Brand?
When recruiting candidates to what extent do hiring organisations remember that they are not just potential employees, they are also prospective customers? Particularly, when we tend to remember the unpleasant experiences more precisely, clearly and regularly than the positive ones.
It is essential for organisations to make sure that every candidate leaves with a positive experience. As 30% of applicants would consider becoming a customer of a brand if they had a worthy experience.
However, a poor or unsatisfactory candidate experience can corrode even the finest employer brand, which can lead to the tarnishing of the finest consumer brand. For example, 84% of job seekers, in a survey done by Monster.co.uk stated that a negative job application experience can “often or sometimes” negatively impact their belief in the company and their services. Therefore, balancing robust assessment and a positive candidate experience is fundamental.
Reputation and credibility are the most valued assets of an organisation. Recruitment companies such as Glassdoor - which has prioritised transparency and openness – recognise that candidates value the ability to accurately assess what being an employee of that company would be like, first-hand from the employees that work there.
Inefficient and long-drawn application processes can significantly damage the employment brand and restrict their ability to attract talent. A study by Ph. Attraction showed that after a negative candidate experience, 1 in 4 British jobseekers have either entirely stopped purchasing a brand (12%) or purchased less of it (11.5%), which suggests that the opinion of the brand was evidently tainted. On the financial front, this could lead to hefty losses – in 2014, poor candidate experience cost Virgin Media £4.4 million. As a direct consequence of poor experience, 7,500 candidates, of the original 130,000 that applied cancelled their subscriptions and switched to a competitor. It is no secret that employer branding takes effort, but failing to consider or undermining the recruitment process could cost a brand talent, customers, and a monumental sum of money, as is evident through research.
Although a substantial fraction of workers believe that a brand’s candidate experience is more revealing about brand culture than its customer experience, there still seem to be a number of problems associated with recruitment processes today. As shown in a survey done by Monster.co.uk, of those affected by poor recruitment, 82% of the respondents said they had a poor experience because they had not received a response to their application, and 68% because they had not received constructive feedback.
Furthermore, lateness is a big turn off – it bothers the majority of the interviewee population if an interviewer kept them waiting in the interview room as is a lack of knowledge. Interestingly, the evidence suggests that a large proportion of interviewers lack knowledge about the hiring company.
Other primary complaints include poorly written job adverts and unfriendly or unhelpful staff. In fact, research reveals that 18% of candidates felt more valued by a receptionist than the interviewer during their last job application, and one in four believe that interviews “do not care” about their goals or aspirations.
The most eye-opening statistic was that 37% of the respondents believe that it is more likely that they will win the lottery than receive detailed job feedback. (Source, Ph. Attraction).
There is no doubt that resources spent on improving candidate experiences are resources put to good use, yet only 36% of companies (source: Aberdeen group) have invested in a fully integrated talent acquisition strategy. In order to be successful, organisations should therefore consider implementing four primary things in their recruitment processes:
1. Set a clear candidate experience strategy aligned to the business, which is complementary to the overall corporate brand.
2. Segment candidates and use technology that enables the desired candidate experience.
3. Create consumer-level candidate experiences and measure success, especially giving realistic timescales for the next stage/feedback to manage job seeker expectations.
4. Conduct in-depth training with interviewers, to ensure that they have the adequate knowledge and understanding about the role being assessed and its purpose in the business. Further, training them to have a positive and enthusiastic attitude during the recruitment process is definitely a cherry on top.
In contrast to positive candidate experiences, negative ones are ‘twice as likely’ to be shared and talked about among friends and family (Source, CTMA). Strong organisation branding can give rise to feelings of trust and loyalty in both spheres, existing or future employees, as well as existing or future consumers.
Although the results of such research studies do not necessarily draw an explicit link to the consequences of a misjudged recruitment strategy, they do highlight just how damaging adverse exposure can be to a brand’s reputation. Applicants are not just potential employees, but also potential clients and consumers – they should be treated as organisations would treat a patron and the organisation’s stature will be assured!
Written by Sparsh Moondhra, Work Experience at Zircon.