CandE Research Takeaway #6: The Perceived Fairness and Structure of Your Candidate Interviews

This is part six of Talent Board’s 10-part “CandE Research Takeaways” series. The previous posts are available on our Articles page.

A strong connection exists between how candidates are treated during the screening/interviewing stage and whether or not they’ll continue to associate with your business and brand.

That quote, taken from Talent Board’s 2020 North American Benchmark Research Report, emphasizes the importance of the interviewing stage to your employment brand and your company. The interview—and what you do before, during, and after it—directly impacts how candidates rate their overall experience with you, whether or not they’ll remain interested in your jobs, if they’ll recommend you to others in their networks, even whether they’ll consider buying your products or services in the future.

Here are some key data points and observations from our 2020 Report, highlighting just how much is at stake during your interviewing process:

  • The perceived fairness of your interviews has far-reaching consequences. Candidates largely judge the fairness of an employer’s interviewing process by how well they’re able to present their skills, knowledge, and experience during the interviewing process. This is also a major factor in how they rate your candidate journey. Happily, 84% of North American candidates were satisfied to extremely satisfied with their ability to present their skills, knowledge, and experience during the screening/interviewing process in 2020—and those who were extremely satisfied with their journey were 131% more willing to increase their relationship with an employer.
  • Interview-related communication and follow-up are critical. When North American candidates received information about next steps beyond screening and interviewing, and when they’re followed up with consistently, their willingness to increase their relationship with an employer increases 52%. However, over half of all candidates we polled are not receiving their desired level of communication and follow-up—a pretty significant lost opportunity for many employers.
  • Structured interviews add consistency and connote fairness. The differences between structured and unstructured interviews go deeper than just the types of questions you ask. Objectivity, the ability to gather and analyze data, even the tools you use are all affected by the type of interviews you conduct. Structured interviews tend to be perceived as more fair to candidates, and they ensure more consistency from the interviewers and the selection criteria. It’s worth noting that CandE Award-winning companies conduct structured interviews 23% more often than other companies.
  • The number one negative reason candidates withdraw themselves from the recruiting process is that employers disrespected their time during interviews and appointments. This is true for North America, Latin America, and EMEA; it’s the number two reason in APAC. To be fair, many employers had to shift to 100% virtual interviewing in 2020, which undoubtedly caused some hiccups. Even so, candidates have long complained about their time being disrespected, and employers didn’t make much progress on this issue last year.
  • Helping candidates prep for interviews improves their satisfaction and perception. Candidates want to feel confident about the interview process, and without the proper preparation and communication from your recruiters and hiring mangers, they’re left feeling confused and uncertain. Unfortunately, 34% of North American candidates received no preparation before the interview in 2020, another lost opportunity for employers. The 2020 data also show that candidates rate their experiences more positively when employers help them prepare for interviews, ask them relevant questions, and communicate with them throughout the interview process (including pre and post). For example, in Latin America, the number of candidates reporting a positive experience increased by 78% when they were provided with a video preparing them for the digital interview process; this figure was 58% for EMEA and 32% for APAC.

If you’re interested in reading further about perceived fairness and its relation to the application and assessment processes, check out my post on the topic here.

In my next post, I’ll focus on the importance of feedback loops. As always, if you’re interested in knowing how your candidate experience stacks up by participating in our 2021 CandE benchmark research program, click here.


Be safe and well.

Kevin Grossman, Talent Board President

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