Your Recruiting Strategies and Tactics Depend On It

An old friend and colleague contacted me recently to say hi and to share her current job search experiences. She told me, “You wouldn’t believe how poor my candidate experience has been going through the interview process.”

I said, “Unfortunately, I would.”

The interview process. The stage at which most candidates have been screened and qualified for the jobs they’re interested in. The stage where there’s more human interaction and investment in the process than anything pre-screening. The stage where, over the past two years of pandemic, it continues to be disrupted as well. 

So we talked and I learned that she had made it to several final interviews at different companies. It was clear that her experiences echo what we still hear far too often from candidates, even at this stage – poor expectation setting to vague communication to no follow-up or feedback or closure. 

For those who did convey next steps for her  – we’ll be in touch by next week – they never were in touch next week, even after telling her she was “in the running.” Weeks later one recruiter did respond, telling her they had recalibrated their search, were sorry for any inconvenience, and asked her for feedback.

But for interview finalists who don’t hear back again, this is a greater death knell than if they had just applied and never heard back, never had any human interaction, which most don’t at the application stage. Again, think of the greater investment at the interview stage for both sides. It’s no wonder candidate ghosting has increased over the past few years. 

Per our candidate experience benchmark research, it shouldn’t be surprising that positive candidate ratings and perceived fairness can increase the farther a candidate gets in the recruiting process – if there’s consistent and timely communication and expectation setting. 

However, for those who haven’t heard back after the interview, candidate resentment increases 63% in our benchmark research. Resentment meaning, the candidates will never apply again, refer others, be a brand champion, or make purchases if a consumer-based business. And their willingness to share their negative experiences with others and online increases as well. Not all candidates follow through on their expressed resentment, but we know every year many will and do.

One thing we don’t measure is what happens when finalists are told one thing about next steps, but then either experience something completely different, or nothing at all. If we could ask job candidates hundreds of questions to get more granular about their experience, we would, but then we would never have a survey completed either. If we did ask those questions, we bet the experience would degrade further and resentment would increase as well. 

I wished my friend the best of luck in her continued search. I also asked if she was going to give the one company she finally heard back from the feedback they asked for. 

“You bet I will,” she said. 

In such a competitive and volatile recruiting and hiring environment today, the time is now to benchmark your candidate experience, identify your strengths and weaknesses, and get to improving them, and then sustaining them over time. You’re recruiting, hiring, and retention strategies and tactics depend on it. 


Be safe and well.

Kevin Grossman, Talent Board President

Join the CandE Newsletter

Stay up to date on the latest Candidate Experience Events, Insights, Information, CandE Deadlines, Research & So Much More