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Volume Recruitment

Why Unhappy Candidates Mean Less Revenue

Firms that provide a bad recruiting experience can harm new employees' productivity and engagement, and hurt sales into the bargain

100 Dollar Bill Cut in HalfIt’s long been recognized by some in HR that what may seem like a slick, efficient recruitment process to a company can be awful for candidates. And this is particularly true of high-volume recruitment because the greater the number of applicants means a greater the risk of a bad candidate experience.

As TV series Lost surprisingly demonstrates, problems of communication, a complicated and lengthy process, a lack of honesty, and selection criteria that don’t seem relevant can all play a part in making candidates feel let down by the process or, worse, lose any good opinion they may have had of the recruiter.

Bad Recruiting Won’t Just Make it Harder to Hire in the Future

HR professionals know that candidates are less likely to drop out of a recruitment process that is quick, relevant and engaging, and they know that if word spreads of a never-ending Kafkaesque nightmare, it will make it much tougher to attract future applicants.

But those same professionals don’t seem to understand quite how important it is to provide a good candidate experience. Although most (82%) HR professionals say that what candidates think matters, not many (40%) actually measure it. Which is worrying because over a quarter (26%) of candidates say they’ve had a bad recruiting experience.

On top of that, a bad recruitment experience can harm employee performance, lead to increased employee turnover, and even lost revenue. CEB data show that new hires who are unhappy with their experience expend 15% less discretionary effort once in the role, and they are 38% less likely to stay in that role than those who have a good experience.

Why Bad Recruiting Can Cost $4 Million

And it doesn’t stop with under-performing employees: unhappy job candidates often stop using the firm’s products or services, and tell others to do the same on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter; not just potential recruits but customers as well. Of those that do have a bad candidate experience, 33% share it with friends and 12% will share their experience via social media.

Nearly 1 in 5 people (18%) who have a bad candidate experience will stop buying from that organization as a result. All in all, treating job candidates badly (even those going for jobs in the lower echelons of a firm) can harm revenue.

Take the example of a US-based consumer products firm that employees 50,000 people. If the firm had a normal rate of attrition for its industry, it would need to hire 6,700 people a year and could expect – at a conservative estimate – to receive 45 applications per job it posted. This means that it would deal with 301,500 candidates a year.

Combining the figures above for those who are likely to have a bad recruiting experience and boycott the company as a result, and the typical American household’s spending on food in a year, and this could add up to a revenue loss for the firm of $3.95 million in the US alone.

Five Steps

Five steps can help recruiters improve their process.

  1. Ask candidates what they think: Don’t assume because you don’t get complaints that your candidates are happy.

  2. Communicate about the process early and often: If information is absent, or unclear, candidates may be uncertain of what is expected of them and disengage.

  3. Develop a mobile-optimized careers site: Millennials – and increasingly everyone else – don’t just like using their mobiles to apply for jobs, they expect it.

  4. Turn low-touch experiences into high-engagement opportunities: Help them learn about the job and decide for themselves if it’s right for them, while making the qualities you’re looking for clear from the start (this post has more).

  5. Understand and create a business case for candidate care: Use technology as much as possible to create a streamlined process that focuses on how well candidates fit the role, ensures that they are well cared-for at important engagement points, and on building an emotional connection with candidates.

Making sure that you provide a good candidate experience is one of three steps that, along with employer branding and recruiting effectiveness (that we’ll cover in a future post) support successful volume recruiting.


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