How to Keep Your Hiring Game Competitive

The last thing a potential employer wants to do is irritate a candidate, but that’s exactly what often happens. In fact, at Indeed, we frequently run into job seekers who never hear back from potential employers. Their applications seemingly slip into a “black hole.”

To find out how employers can improve their interview and recruiting processes, we surveyed 1,000 people who have applied for a job in the last year about their candidate experiences.

What’s Contributing Factors to a Job Seeker’s Experience

The good news is that most job candidates (70 percent) report positive experiences with interviewing or recruiting during their most recent job searches. The top contributing factors to a positive experience, according to job seekers, were enjoyable conversation (43 percent), transparency of salary and benefit information (42 percent) and respect shown for a job seeker’s time by a manager or recruiter (40 percent).

Yet, employers have their work cut out for them in several areas. The just under a third (30 percent) of job seekers who describe recent negative experiences with interviewing or recruiting demonstrate that the top obstacles relate to time management and communication.

In job seekers’ eyes, the worst offense hiring managers can commit is not respecting their time by canceling, showing up late, or being unprepared for an interview (45 percent). This is closely followed by providing inconsistent job descriptions (42 percent) and poor communication (41 percent).

Positive Experiences Carry More Weight

Although over half of job seekers (52 percent) will share a negative recruiting experience with others, nearly three-quarters (72 percent) definitely will share a positive experience. What’s more, 58 percent are likely to recommend an employer with whom they have had a positive interview experience.

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Going above and beyond to make job candidates happy is worth the effort. Simply avoiding a bad experience doesn’t get a positive response from the 20 percent of talent who are eager to share about an exceptional experience.

What’s more, negative experiences can affect your bottom line: A majority of job seekers (66  percent) say a negative candidate experience would limit their future business dealings with a company, regardless of whether they are hired. On the flip side, the vast majority (84 percent) of candidates say a positive interview experience would make them more likely to give a company their business, whether or not they receive a job offer.

What Makes a Positive Job Candidate Experience

How can employers ensure that job seekers have a positive interview experience? Here are four tenets to live by:

  1. Communicate, communicate, communicate — Ultimately, people care less about the timeliness of an interview process as long as they are updated and thoroughly communicated with along the way. A great example is Enterprise, which has a company policy that every single job applicant gets a call from a recruiter. Candidates want to hear back within a week of an interview, if possible.
  2. Respect the interviewee’s time — Be prepared and show up on time for interviews, whether on the phone or in person. If you need to cancel, give adequate notice and reschedule promptly. Common courtesy goes a long way.
  3. Ensure the accuracy of job descriptions — A mismatch between the job description provided and the one discussed in the interview is a top cause for candidates dropping out of an employer’s interview process (21 percent). Lack of transparency about a job wastes your time and theirs. It also risks frustrating a job candidate enough to share their negative experience with the world.
  4. Eliminate “black holes” in communication — The majority of candidates (65 percent) hear back from recruiters within a week after an interview, which aligns well with their preferences. But others wait longer than they’d like, and some never hear back. Make sure this doesn’t happen at your firm. Missing the mark could mean missing out on top talent.

Paul Wolfe is SVP of human resources at Indeed, the world’s No. 1 job site. He oversees all global human resource functions, including talent acquisition, employee retention, compensation, benefits, and employee development.

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