What We All Long For As Job Candidates

9 out of 10 of us don’t get in; we’ve all been there. We search for that new opportunity, find one we’re interested in, research the company, find out if we’re connected with anyone on the inside, and then we apply online. Maybe we’re asked to complete an online test or assessment, depending on the job, but either way we wait. Whether an hourly position or a professional one, we wait. Most of the time we’ll get an automated response acknowledging our application, that the company will be in touch if we’re qualified. And again, we wait.

If we’re a current employee at a company interested in another position internally, we may get more interaction with the hiring team and manager, but at the end of the day, we still wait.

Talent Board and the Candidate Experience Awards Benchmark Research Program has been researching the candidate experience and the recruiting process for nine years now, asking over 1,000,000 job candidates worldwide what their experiences have been like at over 1,000 companies, how they would rate their experiences overall, and how likely would they be to apply again to those companies, refer others to them, and in the case of consumer-based companies, make purchases or influence them.

One question we ask the candidates before any of the rating questions is this:

Which statement best describes the LAST STEP you completed in your recruiting experience with [COMPANY NAME]? 

  • I provided basic contact information but have not applied to a position.
  • I completed a job application
  • I completed an introductory conversation with the company
  • I completed a screening event (conversation, assessment or test) focused on my
  • qualifications
  • I completed a job interview
  • I completed an informational interview
  • I completed a verification process (background check, drug testing, reference
  • checking)
  • I was informed that I did not get the job
  • I received an offer of employment but have not made a decision yet to accept or
  • decline
  • I received an offer but did not accept it
  • I decided to withdraw from the recruiting process
  • I accepted an offer of employment with [COMPANY NAME]

Most of the candidates surveyed in our annual research are those who don’t get hired (about 90% globally). Out of all the above question answers the candidates can choose from, the one that always has the highest percentage of responses is I completed a job application, not I was informed that I did not get the job.

In North America, 51% said I completed a job application. In EMEA, 47% said I completed a job application. In APAC, it was 52%. And in Latin America, it was 53%. A much smaller percentage remember being informed they didn’t get the job – i.e., rejected. The candidate experience ratings for most candidates who said they had applied are nearly as low as those who knew they were outright rejected.

In all fairness to employers, the average number of applicants per job remains high, even in this tight job market, and the majority of applicants never move forward in the hiring process. Companies have also made it easier to apply, which has helped improve the application candidate experience, but has put the volume screening burden on employers. Screening automation helps and automated candidate responses via recruiting systems are the reality, but the closure communication needs to be clearer.

Of course, companies don’t want us all applying again, but they do want those of us they deem future fit and those silver and bronze medalists (finalists) who made it past the application stage.

Again, 9 out of 10 us don’t get hired, so per our annual CandE benchmark program research, here are 5 things we all long for as job candidates:

  1. Acknowledge my interest
  2. Communicate clearly
  3. Give me a fair shot
  4. Give me closure with feedback (when applicable)
  5. Ask me for my feedback

And for the majority of us who apply and won’t make it any farther than that, clear communication and definitive closure are what we need as a minimum. Don’t tell us you’ll be in touch; it’s not fair when we never hear back again. Thank us for our time and tell us you’re not going to pursue us any further; that’s what’s fair.

For those of us who have had positive candidate experiences and feel the recruiting process was fair, join us for #CandExperienceDay2020 on January 15, 2020. Share positive candidate experiences on social media with us and tag them #CandExperienceDay2020. Share testimonials, posts, videos and more!

Also, make sure to register for the two webinars we’re launching on January 15:

  1. Beyond Tactics: Developing a #CandidateExperience Strategy and Understanding for the Future
  2. Learn how to identify strengths and weaknesses in your #candidateexperience by participating in the 2020 CandE Benchmark Research Program




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