Unsure why you are not getting right fit candidates to submit their job application with you? Unsure why you have a sudden drop off in your application rates? Wondering why your top candidate dropped off before the final interview?

Chances are the candidate experience is broken. As a recruiter, you may not realize it. Especially, when you are busy managing several requisitions at a time. But from a candidate's point of view, they look up to you as a source of information, a career coach during their job search, a mentor to help them guide and make decisions. But what if they don’t hear back from you after several follow-ups?

The online survey, conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of  Glassdoor in May 2018 highlights specifically what would make people pull out of a recruitment process. About 40 percent mentioned a poor first interaction with a recruiter or hiring manager as one of their reasons.

What Job Candidates Want Most?  When asked what would constitute a positive job application experience, nearly three in five (58 percent) U.S. workers and job seekers said that a company communicating with them clearly and regularly is what they want during the job application and hiring process. That says it all that the candidate experience is broken and you need to fix it. Below are a few problems causing a broken candidate experience and solutions to fix it.


4 solutions to fix the broken candidate experience


Problem 1: Candidates are dropping out in the middle of job application

Incomplete job application is one sign that tells you that your candidates are dropping out at the early stages. What makes them drop out? How to get your candidates to finish the job application completely and submit their job application?

Solution: Try applying for one of your jobs

Applying for one of your own jobs on your careers site as a test will help you understand the time that it takes for a candidate to submit their job application and even figure out any other technical issues. If it takes hours to finish the job application then chances are that this is the primary reason. Make it easier for candidates to submit the job application even on the go. Ask only preliminary information. Keep it is short and simple. Allow candidates to submit their application using their LinkedIn profiles it is easier for them to submit their profile and apply for a job instantly.


Problem 2: Candidates don’t receive timely communication. So they do the same to you.

Not getting any response after submitting the job application, not knowing if the job application got submitted or not, will leave your candidates frustrated. When you reach out to the candidates they must have already reached a reasonable stage of interviewing with another company or might have accepted another offer elsewhere.

Solution: Disposition when you review profiles

One mistake that recruiters do is not dispositioning their candidates as they review the resumes. Dispositioning all candidates towards the end when you are ready to hire one or close down a position is not a good practice. If it takes you to finalize a decision and takes months to hire one person, then remember all the other applicants are not hearing back from you throughout that time. Disposition your candidates once you review them weekly and send out rejection communication at the same time. That way, even if it is not positive, the job applicants will get closure. In the above Glassdoor study, about 51 percent said getting feedback from the company, even if they were not successful, would be appreciated.


Problem 3: Candidates are not responding to your email or voicemail

Even after sending multiple emails and voicemails your candidate doesn’t seem to show interest in the job or doesn’t return to your calls/emails? Do you know why? They might have already accepted another job or your communication didn’t quite cut it. Sending out mass emails and using a random template from your ATS will help you save time in recruiting but that is not enough to impress your candidates.

Solution: Customize your communication and personalize it

Go through your top candidates resume, sift through it a couple of times and come up a customized email that talks about why you feel like that candidate's previous experience and skills set would be a right fit for the position you have open. Make it short and simple yet personalize it with something that you like about the candidate’s background. Start with something personal and if you find a mutual interest highlight that. For example Dog lover, Football fan etc. Timing also matters. Send the email out first thing in the morning or late in the evening that way you can increase the chances of getting your email open and read. This will surely get a response from your candidates.


Problem 4: Candidates are dropping out in the middle of interviewing with you

Don’t bore your candidates with lengthy interview process where they have to go through months to finish the final interview. If it takes several weeks to hear back from you after each interview process then you are stretching it to where other companies can get ahead of the game. This clearly leads to a broken candidate experience. As per Glassdoor, the average length of the interview process in the U.S. is 23.8 days. Even the jobs with the fastest interview processes globally are a minimum of eight days or more. Now you know how long is too long.

Stepping in to an unprepared and unplanned interview for e.g., the recruiter doesn’t know how long the interview is going to be, hiring manager didn’t have a resume ready while interviewing, hiring manager is rushing the interview and didn’t give enough time for candidates to open up etc, will make your candidates feel unsure about the whole process and eventually will choose another employer over you especially if they had great interviewing experience with them.

Solution: Set out clear expectations & help your candidates come prepared

Recruiters need to act like a career coach here. In order for a recruiter to be successful, you need to help your candidates ease through the process, prepare them well before they meet with the hiring managers, share information and helpful tips ahead of the interview. Share information on who the candidates will be meeting with, what role the interviewer plays in the organization, what they are looking for and mostly what they will be covering in the interview and how long the interview will take place. This will help the candidates prepare well and come confidently.

Recruiters need to be a business partner and coach the hiring managers as well. Not all hiring managers are skilled in interviewing. If a hiring manager is interviewing for the first time then you need to train them and set some reasonable expectations. Take them through the etiquettes of interviewing on how to make a candidate feel comfortable throughout the process by sharing information. Train them on what to ask and what not to ask. In the Glassdoor report, more than half (53 percent) said they would want a company to set out clear expectations for them so that they could prepare well. A company explaining how many interviews candidates might need to go through and who those interviews might be with would make for a positive experience according to 45 percent of U.S. workers and job seekers


What else have you identified as a problem and what’s your solution to fix a broken candidate experience?

For more recruiting and interview insights, join us in San Francisco this January 30 - February 1, 2019, at #SRSC where talent acquisition leaders connect to leverage emerging recruiting practices.

Nisha Raghavan is the Talent Attraction and Employer Branding Specialist at the American Heart Association. Prior to this, she worked in the telecommunications and media industry to help attract, engage and retain talent. She writes about her Global HR experiences at her blog Your HR Buddy!! Connect with her on LinkedIn and on Twitter at @TheHrbuddy