Published: Jul 14, 2017Time to read: 6mins Category: Recruitment

Your Candidate Effort Score—Inside the Candidate's Mind

Recruiters are acting more like marketers. And candidates are acting more like customers. So why not take some of the best consumer research and apply it to your recruiting process? One proven metric for predicting behavior is the customer effort score.

When researchers looked at what made consumers complete purchases and remain loyal to brands, one thing stood out—the harder someone had to work, the less likely they were to continue down the path. In addition, customers who were highly frustrated were more likely to share negative experiences online.

The bulk of recruiting budgets is spent on attracting candidates. You've also devoted a lot of energy to your employer brand and your employer value proposition (EVP). However, high customer effort may cost you great candidates, affect your ability to recruit them in the future and create a challenge for you on sites like Glassdoor.

When you think about your process from the vantage point of the candidate, focus on the level of time and effort it takes. It's also important to think about what the candidate's emotional state is at each key point. For instance, right after they apply or interview can be when they are most excited and nervous. Bad experiences at these junctures can amplify the level of frustration.

In dealing with PeopleFluent's enterprise customers who have millions of applicants each year, we've identified some key sources of candidate angst. Over the next few weeks, we'll be sharing how to overcome these challenges. To get started, take a few moments to assess the current state of your candidate experiences:

How Hard is My Process to Get Through?

Your marketing has worked and a great candidate is excited about the opportunity, because of your engaging marketing copy on Indeed. Yay you! Now they are on your career site and the experience is not what they expected.

When we look at candidate drop off, here are some of the key reasons:

1. Your site doesn't look anything like the company described in the posting.
What the candidate is thinking: This company seemed innovative, but this site looks like I'm getting ready to file an insurance claim.

2. Your job title doesn't match what was described.
What the candidate is thinking: I can't wait to tell my friends and family that I'm going to be an Associate III! Surely this isn't the same job I responded to?

3. Your site is difficult to navigate on their device.
What the candidate is thinking: I'll have to do this later when I can find a laptop. Oh forget it! My current job is better than fighting with this site.

4. You ask for the same information, several times and in several ways.
What the candidate is thinking: This is all on my resume. Why are they asking me this again!?!

5. Each job or location requires a separate application.
What the candidate is thinking: You're kidding me. They need my last four jobs again? Don't they already have this on file?

6. The process ends abruptly and without setting expectations.
What the candidate is thinking: What do I do now? How long will it take to hear back? Is this position even still open? I'm so nervous! I really want this job.

How Much Time am I Asking Candidates to Spend?

You need certain information to move forward. However, if your application takes more than five minutes on a mobile device, you have an opportunity to drastically reduce candidate effort.

Here are seven things to avoid:

1. Your application takes more than five minutes.
What the candidate is thinking: I guess I'll come back to this later when I have more time. Or maybe not.

2. You ask for information that you don't need until the last stages of the process.
What the candidate is thinking: Why in the world do they need to know my social security before an interview. Weird! I'm out.

3. Your interview requires multiple onsite visits.
What the candidate is thinking: Couldn't we have done this all at once? I've taken three days of vacation for this! Even Oprah uses Skype now.

Is the communication timely, transparent and on brand? Nothing can erode trust and create frustration faster than inconsistent communication. Or worse—to hear nothing at all. Here are the key communications that create candidate exasperation:

4. Your 'thank you for applying' is generic and doesn't contain next steps.
What the candidate is thinking: They spent a lot of time selling me on the company and the role and now that I've applied, all I got is a lousy auto response?

5. Your candidates go into a blackhole where they don't hear anything back.
What the candidate is thinking: I was excited about that job but I didn't hear anything back. I won't bother applying for another one. Oh and I'm going to tell the employee who suggested I apply that their recruiting team left me hanging.

6. Your hiring managers or other interviewers tell a completely different story than your recruiters or your employer branding.
What the candidate is thinking: This seems like a bait and switch. I don't trust this company.

7. You don't share feedback following the interview.
What the candidate is thinking: I'm fine with not being chosen. However, I invested time going to the interview and following their process. At least I should get the courtesy of an email.

While each of these individually may not create a bad candidate experience, the combination of several of these may result in frustration. That frustration undermines the employer brand you've worked so hard to build. If it reaches a boiling point, then it may end up on Glassdoor or affecting your chances with that candidate in the future.

Take a few moments to go through each of these items and rate yourself on the scale of 0-5 with zero being 'we rock at this' and five being 'sound the alarm—we are dangerously bad at this.'

If your score adds up to over 25, you may be creating unnecessary effort that is eroding your candidate experience.

Discover How Recruitment Lets You Find the Right People—Fast

PeopleFluent helps you fill critical roles with the right people and the right skillsets on a global scale. At the same time, it helps you build your employer brand and sharpen your competitive edge.

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