Are you in control of your "candidate experience"?

by Barbara Hansen in — November 2021
In what is becoming a candidate market again, the topic of candidate experience is a great opportunity to get ahead of the competition. It forces companies to look at the recruitment process through the eyes of the candidate and take their feelings and needs into account. And it must be said from the outset that what candidates want and what companies offer are not the same. Those companies that don't want to lose candidates with an inappropriate candidate experience need to become more adaptive to their needs and sometimes put aside some of their internal practical-technical needs. The similarities between business and recruitment continue: candidates in the recruitment process have similar expectations and behaviours to e-commerce customers.

Different expectations

If the expectations of candidates and companies were the same, no one would have to address the topic. However, the opposite is true. The very first example: candidates are not prepared to invest long periods of time in the selection process; on the other hand, many of us recruiters believe that selection tasks and multiple rounds of interviews show a candidate's motivation. After all, they naturally make those who are not interested drop out. This belief unfortunately comes up against the situation in today's market, where good candidates can choose from a range of offers. According to some surveys, most candidates will set aside a maximum of 40 minutes for an interview. When a candidate has multiple offers, he or she chooses to respond only to those where there is not a long time to fill out: he or she is willing to send a CV but does not want to spend an hour typing details into the company's system.

Candidates, according to surveys, think like customers in the field of online business. "In our experience, candidates expect a simple, transparent and, most importantly, fast process, which unfortunately does not match many recruiting forms, which rather saturate the need for companies to collect candidate data in a uniform way," says Prajzler. Most candidates prefer to apply for a position by email, but it is easier for companies if candidates apply directly to the system and enter the data themselves, which can then be easily compared with others. Whose need is more important? Ask an e-shop owner and they will give you a clear answer. And more information from surveys: 57% of candidates expect to be invited for an interview within a maximum of two weeks after sending their CV. In reality, however, only a third of companies are able to meet this requirement.

There is also a big difference in the expectation of how any rejection should take place. While almost all candidates agree that they would like to get feedback in person, most companies find it easiest to send rejection letters, which tend to be worded carefully and therefore mostly unspecific. "This adds to the feeling of rejection and lack of respect in the candidate and increases the chances that they will think and talk negatively about the company," says Prajzler, whose company Talentor recruits 300 candidates a year for clients. "The time the company saves on impersonal rejections takes away from its reputation, which is then hard to chase somewhere."

How to get started

When a company begins to tackle its candidate experience it puts in both conceptual and antsy work. On the one hand, you need to develop the right strategy and on the other, you need to attend to every little detail and try to pick out even the smallest changes that could improve the recruitment experience. At the beginning, you need to specify the candidate journey and define the touchpoint in it.