Employers struggling with candidate experience

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Only 70% of organisations provide every unsuccessful candidate with a rejection message, according to ​the Good Recruitment Benchmark Report

The inaugural report by TALiNT Partners, seen exclusively by HR magazine ahead of its launch at a Good Recruitment Benchmark Summit event, includes self-assessment from more than 60 organisations across different sectors. Its aim is to develop an understanding of what helps to create a strong recruitment process.

The report found inconsistencies among organisations when it came to providing candidate feedback. Candidates rejected at the CV or telephone-screening stage received notably weaker messages in terms of content and timing than those who got further along in the process.

In retail, hospitality, and leisure, only 46% of employers received average scores for candidate experience. The highest scores were achieved in the business services sector, in which 71% of respondents scored organisations above average.

Candidate experience was the most scrutinised aspect of the talent acquisition process. However, most businesses accepted that the way they treat candidates reflects on them as an employer, and that rejected candidates are both ambassadors and potential customers for the brand, suggesting there is an appetite for change.

Speaking to HR magazine, managing director of TALiNT Partners Ken Brotherson said that the number of candidates who are offered feedback could actually be much lower nationwide. “The organisations we worked with are highly engaged and want to find out what they are doing wrong so they can fix it, but we know that's not true of most organisations," he said. "We estimate that the figure for candidates who are being offered feedback could actually be much lower.”

Brotherson explained that one of the reasons behind this is that organisations have opened up their application processes too widely, meaning that offering strong candidate feedback has become too difficult.

He added that this could have detrimental effects on organisations overall: “The ‘one-click’ approach for applications has made it far too easy for people to apply for roles that they might not be suitable for. A single opening could get thousands of applications but not give you someone who is right for your organisation. This isn’t about making candidates complete a complicated psychometric test, but there needs to be an element of rigour to it, and making sure candidates understand the role that they’re applying for.”

Employer branding emerged as another area of concern. Respondents said that while branding had helped to attract those who were already interested in the organisation, it had done little to attract people who were tentative.

“A lot of employers who are trying to attract jobseekers might focus on talking about their mission statement, their values, and their culture, but what jobseekers will really be interested in is the job itself. There’s a danger that employers might be losing sight of that.”

Offering candidates an honest perspective of what is expected of them in a role is a far more effective approach, Brotherson added. “Employers should not be afraid to show people the reality of a role, to show a job with warts and all," he said. "Tell people something that they might find challenging or difficult in a role and you’ll find that you might attract candidates who have the level of adaptability and resilience needed.”

The research was based on discussions with more than 60 organisations with an average of 5,000 to 10,000 employees.

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