Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

The recruitment 'red flags'

New jobseeker research reveals the biggest mistakes that stop candidates applying for roles – and how businesses can better engage with applicants throughout the hiring process.

Out of date websites, long and overcomplicated application processes and job descriptions littered with spelling mistakes are among the biggest recruitment faux pas that are turning jobseekers away when applying for a new role, according to latest research.

A recent survey conducted among hundreds of UK jobseekers has revealed that many businesses are making easily avoidable mistakes within the recruitment process that prevent them from attracting the right talent.

The biggest recruitment ‘red flags’ include offering only online interviews, overcomplicated application processes, and application forms or job descriptions full of spelling and grammatical errors.

The results from the candidate research, commissioned by recruitment software provider Hireserve in partnership with recruitment platform Monster, have been released to help organisations improve and adapt their processes. Emma Johnson, Head of Customer Success at Hireserve, said:

Our focus has always been to support in-house recruitment teams to hire more efficiently, securely and effectively. We hope this research – one of the most comprehensive recent candidate surveys – will provide valuable insights for UK employers and ensure they continue to meet changing candidate expectations.”

Hireserve has published a comprehensive report from the research that explores what candidates think, feel and do at each stage of their application journey. The report, titled: ‘Candidate Behaviour: The Big Report’, also gives advice and actionable ideas on how UK businesses can improve their internal hiring processes. The key findings include:

The Importance of a Strong Online Presence

A strong online presence, including a professional website, active social media channels and up-to-date careers pages, is vital in attracting talented professionals for roles.

In fact, more than 80 percent of jobseekers check an organisation’s website before applying for a role, while almost half of jobseekers (45 percent) check an organisation’s social media channels when considering whether a business is the right fit for them.

Despite expecting potential employers to have a strong online presence, most candidates (62 percent) still prefer a more human approach to interviews. When possible within Covid-19 restrictions, the majority of candidates favour face-to-face interviews to interviews conducted online. 

Employee Satisfaction is Key

The research also revealed that candidates are likely to research internal company culture and current employee satisfaction rates before considering a role. Almost half of jobseekers (48 percent) read reviews on employee business review websites before starting the application process.

Working for a company that is committed to diversity and inclusion is paramount for most candidates (73 percent). Environmental and eco credentials are also a top priority for 74 percent of jobseekers.

Company benefits are also a key consideration. Almost half of candidates (48 percent) want to work for an organisation offering an enhanced maternity, paternity or shared parental leave policy.

A Flexible Work Environment

Although working from home or teleworking is predicted to become “the new normal”, most jobseekers (70 percent) want to either return to the office full or part time once lockdown restrictions have lifted. Almost half would prefer to be offered a mix of working from home and time in the office, while a quarter are keen to return to the office full time.

Louise Goodman, Monster EU Marketing Director (Inbound / Outbound), said:

“As recruiters, it's natural to design our hiring from a corporate perspective; what we want to know and how and when we desire the information. This is convenient, but it’s not the best way to engage with the top talent you need to drive your business forward.

“Gaining an evidence-backed understanding of candidate attitudes allows us to build better experiences - leading to 'better-fit' hires, happier employees and stronger workplace cultures.”

An Inclusive Application Process

Long and complicated application forms and errors within job descriptions also featured among the ‘red flags’ deterring potential candidates from applying for roles. 

The research revealed that nearly half of candidates (44 percent) will give up on a job application if the process is too long, while over half (53 percent) are put off by a complicated process.

The research also highlights the importance of a well-written job description for attracting the right candidates. The vast majority (72 percent) believe poor spelling and grammar reflects badly on an organisation.

Johnson concludes: “Candidates now have higher expectations of an employer organisation - even more so following the Coronavirus pandemic. The research highlights how important it is for businesses to effectively communicate and engage with jobseekers, not only when attracting the right talent, but also when providing feedback to those who are unsuccessful.

“The research revealed 73 percent of candidates expect to be given feedback after an interview without having to request it. Something as simple as not providing this feedback can negatively reflect on an organisation. That’s why, as one of the UK’s longest-serving e-recruitment providers, we are proud to support in-house teams, helping them streamline, simplify and enhance their recruitment processes.”

The Top Recruitment ‘Red Flags’

  1. An out-of-date website and careers page

- 82 percent of people look at an organisation’s website before applying for roles

  1. Not clearly communicating diversity, inclusion and eco credentials

- Such policies are important for 74 percent of jobseekers

  1. Spelling and grammatical errors

- 72 percent believe poor spelling and grammar on a job description and/or application form reflects poorly on an organisation

  1. Not offering a choice between face-to-face and online interviews

- 62 percent of candidates favour face-to-face interviews to those conducted online

  1. Over complicated application processes

- over half of candidates will give up on the application process if it’s too complicated

UK employers and in-house recruiters can download ‘Candidate Behaviour: The Big Report’ from the Hireserve website.

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