What expectations do candidates have of the application process?

Executive Recruiters

The development from employer to employee market has a positive effect on the initial situation of job seekers. Since available specialists and executives are increasingly in short supply, it is in many cases no longer the job of the applicants to advertise themselves. Rather enterprises must recruit in the meantime for themselves and optimize also the recruiting process on the risen requirements and expectations of the applicants.

An investment in the Candidate Experience is not only supported by the positive influence on talent acquisition. The company image is also demonstrably influenced by the contact experience during the application process. Optimizing them is therefore a strategic corporate decision.

What do applicants expect in the process?

Why do applicants drop out?

A study by softgarden has examined the demands of job seekers. One of the core statements of the study with approximately 6,500 participants is: 58% of the interviewees have broken off an application process in the past, although they were interested in the advertised position.

The top three reasons are:

  • 56 % the application procedure was too cumbersome
  • 42.5 % found the company’s reaction to be unreasonably slow
  • 41.9 % was deterred by the unpleasant behavior of company representatives in the process

Which application procedure is preferred?

The user experience is a crucial topic for the application process. Preference is given to applications by e-mail on a stationary computer or laptop (48.9%) and the completion of online forms on a stationary computer or laptop (43.4%). Whether e-mail or online form seems to be a matter of taste. Companies that offer both variants are generally on the safe side. Online forms should, however, be limited to querying position-relevant data and/or enabling data to be imported from social media portals.

How much time can the data input take for the application?

Applicants are spoiled by user-friendly online services and also expect a fast process when applying online. In terms of data entry time, 45.1% of respondents consider less than 10 minutes to be appropriate, 32.2% are prepared to invest 10-20 minutes. Here, too, the restriction of form fields to the most necessary and the import of data from social media portals has a positive effect.

How quickly should employers respond?

When asked how much time should elapse between the written application and the invitation to the interview, respondents to the study responded as follows:

  • 14.6% consider less than a week to be appropriate
  • 56,7 % feel 1-2 weeks waiting time in order
  • 27.2 % would also wait 2-3 weeks for the invitation

Experience shows that the more attractive the talent, the quicker the action should be. In the case of sought-after candidates, there is often only a short time window of a few days for feedback.

What are the consequences of a negative application experience?

In the case of a negative experience in the application process, the candidate may drop out. But that’s not all, because the experienced disappointment has extensive consequences:

  • Negative ratings on portals such as kununu or glassdoor influence the employer image. According to a study by softgarden, 45.7% of job seekers already use online rating portals to find out about potential employers. Almost 53% have already decided against an application because the employer was poorly rated on a platform.
  • The Candidate Journey study by Careerbuilder found that approximately 53% of candidates would no longer buy from the company if they receive no reply to your application
  • had a bad interview experience
  • do not hear from your employer after the interview
  • A frequently cited example from the British company Virgin Media makes this clear: Rejected applicants were asked about their experiences and their consequences. In many cases, the candidates complained that they had not been treated with respect or had not received any feedback from the company. They often announced that they would terminate their existing contract with Virgin Media. According to internal research, 18% of the rejected persons were also customers. In fact, further analysis showed that 6% of clients terminated their contract after a negative experience in the application process. As a result, the approximately 123,000 rejected applicants per year caused a loss of Dollar 5.4 million – due to the poor candidate experience alone.

Checklist for a successful Candidate Experience

Expectation management and dialogue
  • Transparency: Is there a complete dialogue about the entire process?
  • Expectations: Do you explain the next steps for each contact?
  • Conversation: Do you convey a conclusive picture in the interview?
  • Timing: Do you answer the applicant promptly?
  • Are your rejections appreciative and do you justify them?
Appreciation
  • Do you treat your applicants with respect?
  • Do you listen carefully and communicate at eye level?
  • Do you ensure a pleasant atmosphere during interviews?
  • Do you appreciate the time the candidate brings to the process?
Evaluation and optimization from the applicant’s point of view
  • Does your career page / website successfully collect interested parties? Does it do justice to your relevance as a frequent first point of contact?
  • Did you go through the application process from the candidate’s point of view? Do you know the weak points?
  • Is the application process intuitive?
  • Do you regularly get feedback on the application process?
  • Do you offer alternative forms of application such as e-mail applications and online forms?
  • Are the application possibilities mobile optimized?
  • Are you waiving the log-in requirement for an application?
  • Do you only ask for position-relevant data in forms?
Development of the process
  • Are the application processes standardized?
  • Would a higher degree of digitization simplify and/or accelerate the processes?
  • Do your recruiters, as the most important point of contact, live the above points?
  • Can the coordination with the department heads be optimized?
Talent Relationship Management
  • Do you include rejected applicants in a Talent Pool?
  • Does your talent pool ensure a sustainable relationship by regularly joining the talent with added value?
  • Do you consider positioning particularly attractive talents elsewhere in the company or creating jobs for them?

Published by Dave John

Decade of work experience in leadership consulting with strong focus on talent acquisition & assessment across different industries and geographies.

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