Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

A horror story; what happens when candidates have a poor experience?

By Nick Hogan, HR Expert

Happier employees work harder. Research has shown that new recruits apply 15% more discretionary effort and are 38% more likely to stay with the company if their candidate experience is positive. Furthermore, 56% of candidates who had positive candidate experiences that didn’t result in a hire would still consider applying with the company again. However, on the other side of that door, reports time and time again show that a poor candidate experience has a direct negative impact on the company in question. The initial four aspects to be affected within companies are: the company’s ability to find and hire top talent, the company’s performance, their reputation, and their business long-term. Before you begin to evaluate your own practices and processes it’s important to understand what you’re avoiding by providing a high-quality candidate experience.

Difficulty finding talent

60% of job seekers quit in the middle of an application because of the length or complexity of the process.  Hence, even if your company or job description are attractive to a candidate, an unsatisfactory recruitment process can put them off your company before the first conversation. As a recruitment agency, if over half of your talent is walking out of the door before the selection process, they are more than likely walking into the door of your competition. Also, it’s no secret that people talk. In the event that candidates are displeased with your recruitment process, as well as 42% of candidates never seeking employment with your company again, 22% are likely to actively discourage others from applying or working with you. Whilst 22% may not seem ‘all that bad’, in a climate where competition is stiff and the turnover rate is increasing, 22% is 23% too high.  

Declining company performance

Treatment of candidates early on in recruitment and selection directly influences their performance later on in the process. If you’re unable to attract and hire the necessary talent, naturally overall company performance will dip. 38% of companies saw a decline in productivity stemming from a lack of qualified talent. Currently, businesses with high employee engagement outperform those with low employee engagement by 202%. If you begin a candidate’s journey with poor communication, poor feedback and low levels of efficiency, this disparate experience is likely to affect their levels of engagement with your company even if they were to accept the role.

Damaged company reputation

Many job seekers form an opinion about your business from the moment they engage with the application process. Even those entering the application process with a positive view on your company can change their mind after a poor experience. 80% of candidates who experience a disappointing recruitment process will actively tell people about it, and 33% of them will take to social media to do so. 55% of job seekers reportavoiding certain companies after reading a negative review of them online. Therefore, in a climate where tech-savvy millennials make up a significant amount of the talent pool, having a negative reputation readily available online is not at all beneficial for recruitment agencies.    

Dwindling long-term business  

Harris Interactive produced research which concluded that of those who had a poor candidate experience, 9% would tell others not to purchase products or services from the company. In the case of Virgin Media, 18% of their candidates were also their customers. Due to poor brand experience as a candidate, approximately 7,500 of Virgin Media applicants switched to a direct competitor, leading to $5m in lost revenue. This equated to losing two customers for every person hired. Providing an impressive candidate experience is far less challenging and costly than retaining customers and employees, so if the former begets the latter, why not focus on improving it?