Keeping your candidates preferences in mind

Companies who are putting the candidate experience at the heart of their recruitment strategy, are best positioned to gain a competitive edge over their competitors. But what does the modern candidate want? Here are three important pointers to keep in mind when designing a candidate-friendly application process.

Cut down travel time
Most employers ask selected candidates to come to their office for a first-round interview. However, travel time and costs can be a reason not to apply. For almost a quarter of the job-seekers (22%) the travel time in particular can be a reason not to apply. They simply cannot be bothered anymore to spend a full morning or afternoon on an interview of half an hour or an hour, while chances are it will lead to nothing.

More flexibility
Offer interviews outside of working hours. People who get invited for an interview often have to time off from work. Almost half of the job-seekers (47%) would be more inclined to apply for a position if they would not have to take time off work for the first job interview.

A fast procedure
The speed at which the selection procedure is carried out is critical in ensuring that the best people get hired. Remember that the best applicants have a choice between employers and are more likely to land a job with the employer that is the fastest. Most of the applicants think that the first interview should occur within two weeks after their application. Some even regularly leave an application because another employer is able to offer a faster process. Therefore, a slow process will not only have a negative impact on an organization’s reputation and brand, but can also result in a loss of talent.

Simply said, be fast and flexible both in terms of time and place. Today’s candidate is busy and wants to spend as little time as possible on each application. Finding a job requires a serious time investment of the candidates. Browsing through vacancies, composing a personal, individual application, updating the CV, attending job interviews including preparations and travel time, negotiations and so on. In many cases, that is hard to combine with a busy job. Today's candidate demands a quick, efficient and accessible process. Anyone who keeps this candidate wishes in mind and can invite candidates earlier than the competition, holds the best cards to recruit the best candidate.

So how do you create an efficient but candidate-friendly application process? For many enterprises the use of video recruitment offers a solution. More and more employers are using video to recruit talent as it powers their selection process with highly needed flexibility and efficiency. They shorten their time-to-hire, reduce cost and save valuable time of both recruiter, hiring manager and candidate without losing the (personal) candidate experience.

The figures in this blog are based on a study of Dutch researcher TNS NIPO.

Views: 218

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on March 25, 2014 at 1:41pm

Thanks, Niddia. If companies aren't looking for the "Fab 5%" or some other much-in-demand skillset, they can treat their applicants any way they like, and if an applicant won't accept it, there are many other fine applicants who will. (There are ~ 3 applicants for every open job, IMSM.)

No Cheers,


Comment by Niddia Paauwe on March 25, 2014 at 2:20pm

Hi Keith,

I dont agree with you. I think the recruitment process is an important part of the whole branding of a company and a company's reputation and brand can be greatly impacted by the type of procedure that you offer and how you treat your candidates.

Most candidates will be rejected in some stage of the procedure since employers ideally want to be able to compare multiple candidates for one position. Today’s second-best candidate however may be tomorrow’s winner. And if you realize that candidates are also consumers, investors, competitors or potential business partners in some stage of their career, it becomes even more relevant to ensure that all candidates enjoy a good experience during the process and that you treat them right. 

Saying that they can treat their applicant any way they like is in my opinion a too arrogant way of doing business which doesn't bring you further in the long run. 

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on March 25, 2014 at 3:46pm

Thanks, Niddia. A good discussion:

Most companies needn't concern themselves with branding IF they willing to hire the kind of people they can reasonably expect to get, and not the ones they feel they're entitled to. (I do think branding CAN help a company get a little better than it might reasonably expect, like a 70%  company getting a 75-80% person.) IMHO, the vast majority of candidates are not able to pick and choose among a variety of offers/companies- they'll go to whomever offers them a halfway-decent job.

Fundamentally, what someone who isn't hired now MIGHT be at sometime in the future (viable for another position,  consumers, investors, competitors or potential business partner) isn't relevant to most employers- there's little downside in "burning your bridges" particularly if you're an employer of choice (EOC).

If companies cared more about CE than just giving themselves gold-stars for NOT treating people like crap, we'd see something happen more than lip service. We could see companies hire $2/hr Virtual Candidate Care Reps to do just as you say and made sure each and every applicant had a professional if not actually Pleasant experience, or some other meaningful step.Instead, we hear people in recruiting say: "Oh, isn't Candidate Experience terrible!" and no one at a high-level gets meaningful re-incentives for improving it, or *negative incentives for keeping it bad.

BOTTOM LINE: Companies should do what you've suggested, and unless things change considerably (positive/negative incentives), IMHO: THEY WON'T.

Keep Blogging,


*When is the last time you heard of a Sr. Staffing Head of an EOC disciplined/fired for meeting the numbers and quality of people, but in the process treating tens of thousands of ordinary, '"un-connected," non-hired applicants like crap? Have you EVER heard of that happening? If you have, please contact me offline with who that was...


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