A recent study from CareerBuilder, a provider of human capital solutions, sheds some light on where the candidate experience tends to turn negative.
And the insight appears to be sorely needed. Among 4,512 workers surveyed, 73 percent say the job search process is one of the most stressful things in life.
The study also surveyed 1,500 hiring decision-makers, many of whom underestimate the effectiveness of their company’s process.
A Different Lens
Indeed, the study shows a gap between actual candidate experience and employer perception of it.
Less than half of surveyed candidates, 47 percent, say employers do a good job of setting expectations in terms of communication at the beginning of a potential hiring interaction, while more than three-quarters of employers, 78 percent, feel they do a good job setting expectations upfront and communicating throughout the process.
The User Experience
Perhaps this is because only one in three hiring decision-makers has applied to one of their company’s jobs to see what the process is like.
This exercise, while ignored by the majority of CareerBuilder survey respondents, is one that staffing and recruiting consultancy CareerXroads and others have long recommended, because it allows for a first-hand look at what job seekers experience, and identifies areas where improvement is needed.
In general, processes and technology are best evaluated by users, so decision-makers would benefit from approaching every facet of recruitment and hiring from this perspective.
As a result of its study, CareerBuilder has identified some other aspects with which employers struggle. Key findings include:
- Not having a quick apply process for every device. The application process itself can contribute to a negative experience for modern candidates as “applications taking too long” (28 percent), “having to customize documents for every job” (34 percent) and “uploading a resume into a system but still having to manually fill out fields” (29 percent) are reiterated as frustrating aspects of the process by a considerable number of candidates.
- Not having an effective careers site. An employer’s careers site is important for getting key information, according to 89 percent of job seekers. But nearly a quarter of employers (24 percent) say their company careers site doesn’t accurately portray what it’s like to work for their organization, and only 45 percent of candidates say they can typically tell what it would be like to work for a company based on its careers site.
- Not tailoring communications methods to specific segments. A multigenerational workforce requires a shift in the way companies communicate. Millennials significantly prefer email communications (57 percent) over phone calls (31 percent), whereas baby boomers significantly prefer phone calls (58 percent) over emails (37 percent). Gen Xers have equal preferences towards email and phone calls (47 percent for both).
In addition, millennials are two to three times more likely to prefer alternative communication methods (text messaging, social media messaging, and video calling) compared to Gen Xers and baby boomers.
- Not building relationships with candidates for future opportunities. The most valuable resource an employer has is its talent pool. While it is important to attract the top candidates, it is equally as important to frequently and effectively communicate with a talent pool, but more than a third of employers (35 percent) say they don’t put time into doing this.
- Not having the right ATS or an ATS at all. Organizations currently utilizing an applicant tracking system (ATS) report placing more emphasis on the candidate, employee, and hiring manager experiences. For example, those who currently use an ATS are 25 percent more likely to have a standardized process to help deliver a consistent candidate experience.
- Not informing the candidate where they stand. More than half of job seekers say employers don’t do a good job of setting expectations in terms of communication at the beginning of a potential hiring interaction. Eighty-one percent of job seekers say continuously communicating status updates to candidates would greatly improve the overall experience.
The complete list of missing critical links in the candidate experience, as identified by CareerBuilder, 12 in all, can be found in an earlier Recruiting Daily Advisor article.