Technology, speed and human interaction. Students have plenty to say on these topics, and not always positive things. Although candidate satisfaction has seen a slight increase in our survey this year, there’s still a lot of work to be done to win the hearts as well as minds of students.
Long application processes are a big turn-off, and do little to help you become a go-to employer. While technology such as video interviews are being increasingly used, feedback for this is mixed – some students dislike the lack of ability to showcase their skills while others appreciate the extra time to prepare an answer.
It was great to see students reporting that they had received more communication than in previous years – this is a welcome trend. Yet they still find the process less personal than ever before, and few are receiving feedback of any kind.
Plus, for the first time, we saw negative feedback from students about the lack of consideration for neurodiverse candidates. Certainly one to watch!
The GTI Candidate Satisfaction Survey saw 1,150 students share their experiences of the application process.
You can find a short summary of our key finding in our infographic here.
Here are the key findings in a little more detail:
Candidate Satisfaction has increased
There was a slight improvement in overall candidate satisfaction of 3.7%, and slightly fewer people found the process very poor, however some of the qualitative research pointed to specific pain points.
"It is genuinely painful to not hear anything back, particularly when the only contact has been through automated emails."
Technology use is up
Online tests have increased by 17.3% and video interviews have increased by 14.7% however this could be at the expense of candidate experience, as students report a less personal experience.
"Too automated, don't get a chance to show who you are as a candidate...online tests just turn you into a statistic."
"I love that they give you time to prepare an answer."
Actual human interaction is lacking
Although students are receiving more communication (this is up 14.6% with more students reporting receiving regular updates) only 28% received a personal phone call from a member of the recruitment team, which is a drop of 17%. Further, only 27% reported receiving any kind of feedback - a drop of 27.5%.
"It is good to be able to make eye contact with a potential future employer and it is easier to engage with their questions."
"[Video interviews are] quite difficult for me, because I am more nervous facing a camera than facing a person or answering a call."
Despite an increase in communication and the use of technology in interviews, the whole process appears to have slowed down. There was a 10% increase in the number of candidates who said the application process took more than five weeks. Why is this happening? It could be that students are approved for assessment so quickly that the assessment centres haven't even been scheduled yet.
Perhaps organisations shouldn't just be considering speed but rather efficiency, meaning less work for students and recruiters alike.
"If I have failed one of the tests... it just seems like a waste of time, considering that a cover letter can take a couple hours to write...maybe they should ask for a cover letter after you have completed your tests... It can be disheartening when you have spent so much time on them."
Creating a positive candidate experience
What are the secrets to delivering a great candidate experience. Here are four things that we focus on at GTI when managing recruitment and assessment processes for our clients.
Stay in touch
While it may not be possible to shorten the recruitment process significantly – due to screening a high number of applications, interviewer availability and assessment centre co-ordination – we can overcome some of the negative effects of a lengthy process by staying in contact with applicants. It’s like waiting for a train – if you know it’s going to be here in 30 minutes, you will feel less anxiety than if you don’t know when the train is likely to arrive.
The next step is to give your candidates as much information as possible. Clear and accurate job descriptions, without corporate jargon and ideally gender neutral, are important. So too is giving relevant information at different stages of the process – preparing candidates for video interviews or assessment centres, telling candidates why certain things are being tested, and helping students understand how they can put their best foot forward along the way.
It’s clear that tech and automation can take the human touch out of the recruitment process – and yet we know how difficult it is to be personal when you’re managing a large-scale campaign with a high volume of applicants. But there are things you can do. If you can’t provide feedback to every individual, make it clear at the outset and tell them why. There are now ways for online assessments to supply unique reports on where the applicant performed well and what could be improved upon. We find it’s really beneficial (particularly from a brand and reputation perspective) to provide verbal feedback after assessment centres or telephone interviews. It’s really worth the investment.
Occasionally, unexpected factors can leave applicants unable to progress through the process as easily as expected. In these instances, flexibility from recruiters goes a long way in terms of candidate experience. For example, if an applicant is abroad at the time of the telephone interview, it might be worth conducting this via a web-based platform to avoid connectivity issues and calling costs. Equally being flexible around dates and times for interviews will always be appreciated. Of course, flexibility goes right to the heart of providing reasonable adjustments for candidates – and you may want to think about partnering with a specialist service to ensure the best advice and support is given in these circumstances.
To find out more about the GTI Candidate Satisfaction Survey or to how you can create a great candidate experience, please contact Hannah.Harrison@groupgti.com