Corporate Eye

Feedback: Candidate experience & corporate reputation

candidate experience feedback

I have a confession to make. I once had to interview three candidates for a job. Selecting the best candidate was hard – all three were pretty impressive, but after a lot of thinking (and coffee) I made a choice which turned out pretty well. During the interviews, I’d told all the candidates I’d give them feedback, whatever my decision. But I was very busy in the week after the interviews, and the only one I got back in touch with was the one who got the job.

Okay, I’ll admit, it’s not a huge mistake to admit to, and it’s probably a pretty common one as well. And what harm did it in the long run? Well the answer could be quite a bit, if a recent US study on recruiting trends is right.

The 2015 Career Builder study contacted 5000 candidates and found that 3 in 4 full-time employees were “open to or actively looking for new opportunities”. It also discovered that modern candidates were more selective about the jobs they applied for, with an average 18 different sources to find the “right employer”. The study also asked candidates about feedback (or rather the lack of it) and how this would influence their behaviour as consumers. See below for some sobering stats:

  • Only 27% said they’d had feedback on a past job application
  • 69% said a bad hiring experience made them less likely to buy from the same company
  • 58% said they were less likely to buy from a company when they didn’t hear back from an app
  • On a more positive note however, 69% of jobseekers said they would buy if from a hiring treated with respect.

At this point, I’m sure some readers are saying: “But my company isn’t B2C!” It doesn’t matter. The key thing here is the emotional response, which isn’t good by the looks of the above, and also makes them more likely to post their dissatisfaction online e.g. Glassdoor or any general social media.

The same Career Builder study asked employers how they were finding the current recruiting environment and the result was yet more sobering stats:

  • 54% said they thought it had become harder to find qualified candidates in the last 5 years
  • 50% said it was hard to find candidates with the right skills
  • 73% said a bad hire was far more expensive than leaving a position open
  • And what about feedback? 52% said they only responded to less than half of the candidates that apply.

A UK study by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) on employee attitudes echoed these results (Stand by for more stats, folks). The REC study found that:

  • 34% of workers said providing feedback was the single most important improvement that employers could make to the recruiting process
  • And 51% of workers who had a bad hiring experience discussed it with friends and family.

So what should we take from all these statistics?

The US and UK studies come to very similar conclusions – the relationship between candidate and recruiter is changing, and it’s the candidate who now has the upper hand. The Career Builder study recommends that employers should respond to this by being active in those places where jobseekers are likely to be researching their next employer (e.g. Glassdoor and other social media forums), and by “Being more responsive in the hiring process” (e.g. providing feedback).

REC chief executive Kevin Green is even clearer in his conclusions: “It’s getting harder for businesses to find the people they need, but despite this the way employers recruit candidates is getting worse. Employers need to wake up to the fact that jobseekers communicate their experiences to others on social media.”

Getting back to my own feedback confession, in a way, I was lucky. My interview experience took place in a pre-social media age when they were lots of candidates chasing jobs. Would I be able to get away with doing the same thing today?

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Den Cartlidge

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