Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire
How Our Need for Instant Answers Changes the Candidate Experience

How Our Need for Instant Answers Changes the Candidate Experience

Think about all the information you have access to through your phone. When you order something online you know exactly where it is on its journey to your door. If you get separated from your friends at a sporting event, you can find them with apps like Find My Friends. When a big news story is unfolding, you get updates nearly every second.

All this information was inconceivable only a few years ago. Having increased access to whatever we want to know has created a dependency on instant transparency. As a society, we no longer accept anything that barricades us from knowledge.

Yet despite these cultural changes, many organizations think job seekers are still alright being in the dark for most of the hiring process. This is far from reality; the more candidates can get instant answers in other aspects of their lives, the more they expect from potential employers. Avoiding our instant society means candidates get impatient with your process and your company will miss out on top talent.

By understanding how candidates’ expectations have changed because of our obsession with ‘instant,’ you can refine your hiring process and improve the candidate experience. Here are three expectations candidates now have:

Consistent communication

Think about most of the activity you do online: retail purchases, newsletter subscriptions, signing up for a new streaming service. After you complete each action, you instantly receive a confirmation email verifying that the transaction is complete. Then you get further communications based on where you are in the process. You receive tracking information for packages, customer satisfaction surveys, and notifications of new shows added to Netflix.

However, when job seekers apply for a position online, it’s like they’re sending their application into a black hole. Yes, they often get a confirmation that their application was received, but that’s it. They don’t receive employer branding material to help them learn more about the company. When they have a question, there’s no contact information allowing them to seek answers. And if they aren’t selected to move forward, they probably never learn why.

Companies need to be able to communicate quickly and more consistently with candidates. Otherwise, their candidate experience pales compared to other online relationships with organizations. Here is some key information you should be communicating with candidates throughout the hiring process:

  • Next steps: If you use automated confirmation emails after receiving an application, make sure the message has value. Instead of just saying ‘We’ll be in touch,’ provide a detailed timeline of the hiring process. Include when candidates will hear from you as well as how long each step takes.
  • Helpful tips: One of the biggest complaints companies have about candidates is that they are unprepared for the hiring process or bad fits for the role. But then they refuse to share information that will help job seekers better understand what they are looking for. Of course, you shouldn’t give candidates a list of the ‘correct’ job interview answers. However, giving them information about your company culture and how your team works together allows them to provide the most relevant information about themselves.
  • Feedback: Never forget that candidates are investing time in the hiring process. Even if it turns out they’re not the right fit you don’t want to ruin their candidate experience by letting them think they’ve wasted their time. When you provide them feedback after each step, they can learn and improve professionally.

A transparent environment

Granted, job seekers never wanted to work in a toxic or hostile work environment. However, in the past candidates couldn’t truly judge what a workplace was like until their first day. Now there are websites like Glassdoor that give them an insider’s look at your company.

Know that most job seekers trust online reviews over what you tell them about the organization. This means you need to be aware of what your visible employer brand is and ensure your hiring process aligns appropriately.

For example, if the majority of the online employee reviews describe your office as a caring place, highlight that during the hiring process. Put your employee well-being programs in your job descriptions and encourage current employees to talk with candidates about how the company supports them inside and outside of work.

If your employer reviews are less than great, don’t try to hide them from candidates. Be honest and discuss the issues early during the hiring process. Just be sure to have solutions to the problems so candidates can see you’re working to improve the situation.

In-depth updates

Thanks to social media, our society is used to having day-to-day updates about what’s happening in the world. We celebrate friends’ successes no matter how far apart we live. Our favorite brands let us know when there are new products or discounts available. Job seekers expect the same during their candidate experience.

When doing their research, candidates don’t just look for the big announcements of your company. They want to know what’s going on in the office and how employees are spending their workdays. This gives them a better understanding of what it would be like to work for your organization.

Use social media to highlight all that’s going on with your company. Shoot to create a feeling of FOMO so candidates feel like they have to work on the team and get the same great experience they see online. Go further than posting pictures of company events. Post employee profiles that share what the individual loves about working for your organization. This sustains candidates interest and gives them the confidence they’d be happy coming to work for you every day.


Josh Tolan

Josh Tolan is the Founder and CEO of Spark Hire, a video interviewing platform used by 5,000+ customers in over 100 countries.