Is Poor Candidate Experience Killing Your Recruiting Effort?

As unemployment settles at less than 4 percent, companies have to fight even harder to attract and retain high-potential employees. One thing that will truly set a company ahead of the competition is an easy, enjoyable candidate experience. If employers overlook this crucial part of recruiting, they stand to lose talent and money. According to data from Phenom People’s 2018 The State of Talent Relationship Marketing report, more than half of all job seekers reporting a negative candidate experience (60 percent), 72 percent of whom write about it on employer-review websites. Additionally, 83 percent of job seekers will change their minds about a company or role they liked if they have a poor candidate experience.

Research indicates that these poor experiences lead to longer time-to-fill, which can cost employers anywhere from $16,000 to $400,000 per vacancy. To determine how Fortune 500 companies are faring in the world of talent relationship marketing, Phenom People audited all 500 companies about their candidate experiences. The goal was to determine how effective these companies were at attraction, engagement and conversion (when passive job seekers become applicants).

Some key findings from the report include: 92 percent of the career sites don’t have a social media login for candidates to upload their information easily (think LinkedIn profile loading), 18 percent of companies have limited or no quality content on the career site (photos, videos and other resources), 84 percent of career sites lack candidate personalization and only 30 percent of career sites have a consistently visible and accessible “Apply” button.

Additionally, only 2 percent of the Fortune 500 companies provide updates to candidates about the status of their application. Given how frustrating it is for a company to be ghosted by applicants, it’s equally as frustrating for candidates to be ghosted by employers. A simple, automated email at each step in the process could solve this aspect of the candidate experience and make a lasting impression.

Phenom People’s report assigns each Fortune 500 company an overall grade for how well they attract, engage and convert candidates, which fall into one of four categories: phenomenal/gold (75+), fair/silver (60-74), troublesome/bronze (50-59) and flawed/last (0-49). Eight companies reached gold status, with Express Script Holdings clinching the No. 1 spot (score of 92). A staggering 338 companies, however, fall into the flawed category.

Despite the overwhelmingly negative results, there are some areas in which companies are excelling: career site loading time (most load in 3 seconds or less), well-crafted job descriptions and a common-sense application flow.

The data boil down to an overarching theme: ensure your career site is personal and intuitive to significantly increase the likelihood of a positive candidate experience. In doing so, companies could see a 20 percent decrease in the cost per hire, 49 percent reduction in time to hire and a three times greater conversion rate.

Danielle Westermann King
Danielle Westermann King is a former staff writer for HRE.