Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

This is Why Job Candidates Hate Your Candidate Experience

The workplace has entered a digital era and so should your hiring methods. What worked in attracting job applicants ten years ago isn’t going to work in today’s highly competitive job market. In fact, text-heavy job ads and unrelenting headhunters may do your brand more harm than good.   

According to a recent study of more than 2,000 hiring decision makers by CareerBuilder, 82 percent of employers think there’s little to no negative impact on the company when a candidate has a less-than-stellar experience during the hiring process.


The reality is that the majority of job candidates don’t take an outdated or poor experience lying down. The same study, which also surveyed more than 5,000 workers, found that 58 percent of candidates are less likely to buy from a company they applied to if they didn’t get a response to their application; 69 percent are less likely if they had a bad experience during the interview, as are 65 percent if they didn’t hear back after an interview.  


Needless to say, much of the power has shifted from the employer to the job candidate. To remain competitive and create a candidate experience that attracts, secures, and retains today’s top talent, determine how your current hiring methods measure up to the latest trends. Above all, continuously reevaluate your hiring process and identify areas for improvement.

To give you a head start, here are seven reasons your current hiring practices might be embarrassing you and your company:

1. You’re losing the guessing game.

Consider this: Candidates go beyond the job boards and use up to 18 resources throughout their job search, including social networking sites, search engines, and online referrals, according to the aforementioned CareerBuilder study.

The problem? While job seekers consult a wide variety of sources, the same study found that majority of employers (58 percent) don’t use tracking or coding technology to find out exactly where candidates are coming from and ensure that they’re targeting those sources when recruiting.  

Knowing where your applicants are coming from plays a major role in hiring the right people. Simply assuming every person applied as result of your job ad won’t help you when it comes to sourcing candidates later on. And, without any hard data on where your candidates are coming from, you may be missing out on valuable opportunities to connect with job seekers.

Fortunately, technology enables us to eliminate the guesswork when it comes to sourcing candidates. Applicant tracking systems (ATS), for instance, help you identify which sources are the most fruitful, thus allowing you to focus your time and efforts on those sources.

And knowing where to look for qualified candidates will give you the competitive edge you need to land today’s highly sought-after talent.

2. You’re creating extra work for everyone.

The most recent DHI-DFH Vacancy Duration Measure revealed that it took an average of 27.6 working days to fill jobs in October, which remains near the highest vacancy duration levels since 2001. From scheduling interviews to collaborating on hiring decisions, the hiring process can drag on for weeks or even months on end — but it doesn’t have to.


Advancements in technology have brought outdated hiring practices, from drawn-out applications to time-consuming phone interviews, into the present. Take the phone screen, for instance. One-way video interviews, in which candidates record their answers to a series of predetermined questions, have essentially eliminated the need for the phone screen.

And why spend upwards of 30 minutes on the phone with each candidate — only to find you’ve forgotten half of their responses — when you can use that time to review and collaborate over pre-recorded interviews? 

With one-way video interviews, hiring professionals can interview up to 10 candidates in the time it would take to perform a single phone screen, according to research by the Aberdeen Group. And, because candidates can complete these video interviews on their own time (within the deadline, of course), there are no scheduling issues, improving candidate experience.

In addition to cutting down the workload during the screening process, the nature of video interviews makes it easier to collaborate with colleagues over hiring decisions, as they can be paused, replayed, and shared with others. And, whether you’re making important hiring decisions or deciding on which restaurant to have cater your next work event, two heads are always better than one.

3. Candidates take you out for dinner and never call you again.

The hiring process often serves as a candidate’s first impression of your company — and you don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression. If you make candidates jump through hoops during the application process, for instance, chances are it won’t reflect well on your company and the poor candidate experience can deter job seekers from completing an application.  

In fact, the earlier mentioned CareerBuilder survey found that 40 percent of candidates feel the application process has become increasingly difficult. Of those, 57 percent believe the process lacks personalization, 51 percent are frustrated that they have no idea where they are in the process, and 50 percent say it has so many more steps than it used to.

That being the case, it’s no wonder why three in five candidates leave their application unfinished.

Reduce these frustrations and encourage more job seekers to apply by minimizing the amount of steps they must go through during the application process. Better yet, optimize your process for mobile. With nine in 10 job seekers planning to use a mobile device during their job search, according to Glassdoor’s 2014 survey on the Rise of the Mobile Job Search, an application process that can’t be completed via mobile won’t be completed at all.    


Most importantly, keep candidates in the loop throughout the hiring process. Taking the time to give candidates a quick status update on their application can make a world of difference and have a positive effect not just on the overall experience, but on your employer brand.

4. There’s dust on your social shares.

With 56 percent of professionals looking to social media to discover new job opportunities, according to LinkedIn’s 2015 Talent Trends Report, your company doesn’t just need to have a presence on social media, it needs to be active on those sites.

Instead of relying solely on online job boards to advertise an open position, use the company’s social media profiles to share new job openings, how to apply, and to give candidates a taste of your company’s one-of-a-kind culture (i.e. why they need to apply).

Social media presents a unique opportunity to get candidates involved in the hiring process. Ask potential candidates to present their elevator pitch in a single tweet or have them send a Snapchat story that showcases their qualifications in eight creative story frames. This is a fun alternative to the traditional candidate profile that job candidates are required to create when applying for a job.

Above all, have fun with it. Having a lively social media presence and engaging with followers is a great way to get job seekers’ attention. Even if a job isn’t up their alley, chances are, they will pass along interesting content to a friend or family member who might just be your next great hire.

5. You forgot to check out candidates online.

Just as job seekers use social media to get a better feel for your company and its culture, you need to use it to get to know the person behind the tailored resume. After all, there’s only so much a resume or job application will tell you about a candidate.

Social media can serve as a great pre-screening tool, as it gives you insight not just about a candidate’s professional skills and experience, but also on their character. According to a recent study by CareerBuilder, 52 percent of employers use social networking sites to research job candidates. Of those, 32 percent found information that ultimately caused them to hire a candidate, including:

– Background information supported job qualifications (42 percent)

– Personality fit with company culture (38 percent)

– Site conveyed a professional image (38 percent)

– Great communication skills (37 percent)

– Creativity (36 percent)

But social media can also bring up a number of candidate red flags — so much so, that the same study found that 48 percent of hiring managers who screened candidates via social networks have found information that caused them not to hire a candidate, including:

– Provocative or inappropriate photos (46 percent)

– Information about candidate drinking or using drugs (40 percent)

– Candidate bad-mouthed previous company or fellow employee (34 percent)

– Poor communication skills (30 percent)

– Discriminatory comments (29 percent)

It’s no secret to job seekers that most of the things they post and share online are made public for potential employers to see. So, a candidate who doesn’t bother to clean up their social reputation before applying for the job might not be the candidate for you.  

While it’s important to look for supporting evidence when hiring, it’s equally important to use that evidence to avoid making a bad call. Don’t make the mistake of making a costly bad hire because you didn’t research the candidate online beforehand — screen online before you hire.  

6. You have no personality.

Job candidates want to see the human aspect of your company. In fact, 57 percent of respondents in the previously mentioned CareerBuilder survey believe that companies are sacrificing personalization for automation.


While automation can make for a smoother hiring process, you risk losing what makes your company unique. Put the human back in human resources by personalizing various aspects of the hiring process.

Take your job postings up a notch by featuring a company culture video or photos. Share individual employee testimonials on the company’s Twitter and Facebook accounts. And make automated application receipt messages and candidate rejection emails sound a little less robotic and a little more sincere.

7. Your slow and steady approach isn’t winning this race.

When it comes to candidate experience, slow and steady does not win the race for top talent. On average, 44 percent job seekers surveyed by LinkedIn said it took less than a month from the time they started their job offer to when they accepted a new position. If you’re slow to update them on their status or extend an offer, they’ll move on to the next opportunity.

Job seekers want to know where they stand, so communicate with them throughout the process. According to a survey conducted by CareerBuilder, 52 percent of candidates expect a phone call telling them where they stand in the hiring process. What’s more, 25 percent of job seekers expect to hear if the employer will not be bringing them in for an interview.

Even if the candidate did not get the job, it’s critical to your employer brand to send timely and open communication. Although it’s not pleasant, and it can be time consuming, email every candidates to let them know they didn’t make the cut.

When you do find the right fit, don’t take too long to offer them the job. For 38 percent of employers, it takes more than three days after the interview to extend a job offer to a candidate, according to CareerBuilder’s 2015 Candidate Behavior Study. By that time, your perfect candidate may could accept another offer. Don’t hesitate to snatch up the talent you want or you could miss out.

Although you’ve created a hiring process that works for you, it won’t be effective unless it works for candidates as well. Update your candidate experience to attract job seekers and keep your employer brand in tact.

Are you guilty of any of these embarrassing candidate experience mistakes? Share in the comments below!

Josh Tolan

Josh Tolan is the Founder and CEO of Spark Hire, a video interviewing platform used by 6,000+ customers in over 100 countries.