The Recruitment Process: As candidates jump further so must recruiters…

According to research by the specialist recruiter Randstad, over the last five years the interviewing landscape has changed considerably. Due to the current climate, organisations have become more selective and vigorous in their recruitment strategies increasing the time spent on various processes to ensure their hire offers long-term potential. The infographic below provides an idea of how this landscape has changed over the last five years:

Recruitment processes

The UK CEO of Randstad, Mark Bull, explained why these significant increases have occurred:

“Employers have become increasingly selective when it comes to interviewing staff. Prospective employees have to jump through many more hiring hoops today than they did pre-recession. Employers are often looking for more bang for their buck, and a skill set that was satisfactory for a job five years may no longer be now, as employers look towards the long-term potential of new hires.”

However, as employers lengthen their recruitment processes and increase the number of ‘hiring hoops’ a candidate has to jump through, how will this influence the candidates decision and their opinion of the organisation? And how can employers limit the affect these changes will have on their candidates?

The answer to this comes two-fold:


Ensure recruiters and candidates are on the same page at every stage.

A recent survey undertaken by TMP Worldwide considered just this. The findings revealed a significant gap in how a recruitment process is being communicated, and understood, by recruiters and their candidates. An example of recruiters and candidates experiencing very different processes can be seen at the assessment center stage when around 70% of the recruiters surveyed said they went to great lengths to inform candidates about the structure of their assessment centers. However, nearly 50% of candidates said they were either only partly informed or not informed at all.


Ask candidates for feedback to ensure that each process is working as efficiently as possible and that it will leave every candidate with a positive impression of the company.

Research in 2012 by CareerBuilder stated that 56% of employers who recruited new workers in the last year reported that a candidate rejected their offer. The stimulus behind each rejection provides an invaluable insight into how the recruitment process can be improved to ensure that talent isn’t lost in the same way again. Similarly though, it is also essential to understand the motivations behind successful hires as these strategies can be refined and developed to increase talent attraction.

As the length and structure of recruitment processes changes, so does the time and effort each candidate puts into them. The Randstad report demonstrates this with candidates spending, on average, 7 hours preparing for, or taking part in, interviews – an increase of 1.5 hours from five years ago. At the top of the scale 7% stated that they took more than 20 hours. If organisations are requiring candidates to complete more comprehensive recruitment processes then it is essential, now more than ever, that companies provide recognition for the effort each applicant puts into an application:

          Show that the candidate’s time is valued

TMP research shows that almost 30% of applicants are put off when duplicated information is requested. However, two-thirds of recruiters ask for a candidate’s CV as well as getting them to submit an application form…

          Reward candidates for their efforts

Around 40% of the candidates TMP surveyed said they received no feedback from the last job they applied for. By offering an option for feedback, it shows the candidate that the time they have taken to apply is appreciated.

          Explain the reason behind each stage of the process

Whilst five years ago only 14% of roles required psychometric, technical or aptitude tests, this has now doubled to 29%. By explaining to candidates why these tests are being carried out, they will understand the company process better and appreciate that the tests are not simply another ‘hoop’ to jump through.

          Manage candidate expectations

Alongside an increase in the length of recruitment processes, 52% of Randstad’s respondents stated that processes have become more difficult in the past five years. By managing the expectations of candidates – about both time-scales and process requirements - and maintaining effective and informative lines of communication, these developments do not have to receive a negative response.

Recent research provides an insight into, not only, how recruitment processes have developed over the last five years, but also the direction that the candidate-recruiter relationship needs to take. If candidates are required to embark on lengthier and more comprehensive recruitment processes, then - to ensure that the relationship is a positive one - the communication, response and feedback they receive from recruiters must mirror the time and effort each candidate is expected put in.

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Comment by Fred Elmore on May 3, 2013 at 9:02am

Great article, Laura.  I agree communication and feedback are key to keeping a potential candidate engaged throughout the interviewing process. 

However, I would like to add that you want to make sure you are working with candidates who have clear career objectives and have thought about how working for your company will enable them to meet those objectives.

When a candidate believes the company is the right fit for them because working for that company will help them to meet some personal goals, they will be much more patient throughout the process.  For those of you who use recruiters, I would recommend you select recruiters who offer Career Consultation.


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