Here’s what businesses need to know:
Candidate experience – or how a job seeker perceives an employer during the early stages of the recruitment and onboarding processes – plays a more significant role than ever.
People with a positive first experience gleaned through the hiring experience are more engaged and invested. In contrast, those with an impersonal or negative experience are likelier to tell their colleagues and friends to steer clear of a particular employer.
One recent job seeker we interviewed told us how her first impressions of companies during the interviewing process helped her decide which company she’d work with and which she wouldn’t.
Katherine M. was interviewing for an office job for several months. She explained that she had good and not-so-good experiences during that time. She believed her initial interactions with recruiters and interviewers foreshadowed her career with the potential employer.
“If the recruiter seemed genuine and friendly, I’d be more excited about the job and got a good sense of the company,” she explained. “I was soured on employers who seemed inflexible or abrupt. One time, I had to interview (with a company’s HR rep) during a family vacation from my hotel room while everyone else was in the pool. It felt like there was no regard for my time because I wasn’t given any other option nor an explanation as to why there were no other times available.”
Face-to-face and virtual reactions also contributed to Katherine’s experience. “I attended a panel interview where the reporting manager’s disposition was so off-putting that I nearly asked if it was still a good time to speak. And, during a face-to-face interview, a would-be-peer snapped her pen in half during an explanation of what her day-to-day tasks looked like; this was very telling.”
Katherine ultimately chose to work at a company where she felt valued based on her impressions of the people she met along the way. Interviews were conversations instead of interrogations, and communication throughout was considerate and followed timelines.
“I always appreciated when they kept in touch throughout the process because ghosting seems to be common among employers,” she continued. “My new workplace felt more like a partnership from the start, and to me, that’s more important than salary.”
From initial conversations to simple considerations for a candidate’s time, consistent communication, and a positive onboarding process, candidates expect employers to act like they’ve been acting all along: like they are valued and worthy of being chosen.