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Given how difficult it is to attract relevant candidates for vacancies you would hope employers would be all over the aspects of their recruitment process that are completely within their control.

Just-released research would indicate there is plenty of evidence to suggest that employers should focus on getting their own house in order before demanding that immigration requirements be loosened in order to increase labour supply.

New data from Talent Board’s 2021 Candidate Experience Benchmark Research Report, in analysing the reasons why candidates drop out of an employer recruitment process, provide some stark truths that all agency recruiters would be familiar with.

The 2021 Talent Board APAC data reveals that the three most negative reasons candidates withdrew were:

  1. The recruiting process took too long
  2. Their time was disrespected during the recruiting process
  3. Poor communication with recruiting team

In North America, the top two reasons for candidates withdrawing from the recruitment process were the same as in the APC region with ‘salary didn’t meet expectations’ as the third reason. I suspect this reason would be in the APC top five however that information is not provided.

Organisations that minimised candidates dropping out of the recruitment process by delivering an excellent candidate experience were consistently ahead of other organisations in four key areas:

  1. Setting expectations: Indicating to each candidate how many steps the recruitment process involves, what those steps are and the associated timeframes, is consistently rated as the single most important thing highly-rated organisations do better than other organisations in the hiring process. Candidates hate being kept guessing about what’s happening to their application. This a problem is long-standing one. In an earlier blog I wrote on this topic I quoted local TA professional Stan Rolfe, in writing about his own job-search experience; “The common experience for the majority is that NO ONE is setting expectations around the application process.”
  2. Accountability: Recruiters and hiring managers who keep their promises regarding progress, feedback, and next steps are sending a strong message about the culture of the organisation in doing the same if, or when, the candidate is an employee.
  3. Fairness: Most of the more than 25,000 candidates surveyed were turned down after application so it was the perceived fairness of their experience — not whether they got hired — that mattered most in their ratings. Having a fair and impartial process and being seen to have a fair and impartial process is critical to the candidate experience.
  4. Feedback: Candidates appreciate honest feedback about their background, interviewing skills and resume. Equally important, they value the chance to provide feedback on various aspects of their experience as a candidate. When feedback was both asked for and offered throughout the attract-recruit-hire process, it overwhelmingly increased the average candidate’s positive impression of the hiring organisation.

It’s instructive to note that although “The recruiting process just took too long” was the major reason candidates dropped out of the recruitment process, a speedy recruitment process was not amongst the top four factors that were important for a positive candidate experience.

Employers don’t necessarily need to have a fast recruitment process, although it no doubt helps, however they do need to set expectations with candidates about steps and timeframes that they subsequently demonstrate they are prepared to be accountable for.

The report notes that organisations with the highest-rated candidate experiences are more likely than their competitors to be using some form of AI-based tech to improve sourcing, candidate communications, and their overall support of recruiters and hiring managers.

One of the key findings from Aptitude Research’s (via Hung Lee’s always-excellent Recruiting Brainfood) recent report Talent Acquisition Technology and the Modern Recruiter is that “Recruiters will leave their job for better technology”.

Specifically, “Technology plays a significant role in the recruiter experience and in overall job satisfaction” with 50 per cent of recruiters surveyed stating they would be prepared to take another role if that prospective employer had better recruitment-specific technology.

The message for employers is clear: take responsibility for improving the human skills of your recruiters and hiring managers while you invest in the technology that will support and augment the efforts these same employees put into filling your vacancies with the best talent.

Related blogs

Ad-hoc recruitment strategies won’t cut it any longer

Discriminatory, hypocritical and narcissistic employers their own worst enemy

The candidate experience: mostly rubbish and no improvement in sight

The largest-ever candidate shortage is looming – are you ready?

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Paul Hamilton

This is a great article Ross. We all know the old saying that “time kills deals”. That saying is even more true in this candidate short market. Good candidates will have multiple opportunities from which they can pick and choose. It’s important now, more than ever, that if there is a good initial match that stages two and three in the process happen quickly.
A low ball offer isn’t going to work in this market either. We’ve experienced slow processes and low ball offers so far this year and it hasn’t ended well for the potential employer.

Mark Campagnoli

So true Ross. Been working with on overseas based company for nearly 5 months. Constantly took weeks to provide feedback on candidates. Did not understand local rates and were trying to offer $30k – $50k below markets rates. Caused many candidates to drop out of the process due to time and offers. After explaining the issues and no change on their end we recommend they try a difference agency as it was only costing us time and money and frustrating the candidates

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