Why Bad Recruitment Is Crushing Your Brand And Costing You Millions -- And What You Can Do About It

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Bryan Adams, CEO and Founder, Ph.Attraction

The war for talent is well and truly upon us.

All around, companies are scrambling to interview, vet and secure today’s leaders and tomorrow’s visionaries. In the midst of this shuffling, brands have forgotten about the most important person in this scenario: the jobseeker.

At Ph.Attraction, we recently polled 1,200 workers about their last job application process.

Get this: nearly one in four jobseekers sever ties with brands following a bad job application experience! This follows our work with Virgin Media, which showed that poor candidate experience was costing its brand over $6m in lost revenue every single year.

So what does this mean for businesses? Well, the tide is turning. Younger jobseekers increasingly want to work for brands where they shop. In fact, over 75% of 16 to 24 year olds say they had applied for a job at a company where they were an existing customer. This means that HR departments are becoming more and more consumer-facing by the day.

If your brand’s candidate experience isn’t top notch, you’re going to alienate existing customers, lose out on the war for talent and seriously jeopardize brand value. However, all hope is not lost!

Let’s explore why recruitment has strayed off course, analyse the negative cost impact of poor candidate experience, and discover how you can turn your HR department into a lively profit centre.

What’s Gone Wrong?

The statistics don’t lie. Candidates who apply for roles at companies where they shop are becoming increasingly frustrated with outdated recruitment practices – to the point that they’re taking their business elsewhere.

Why? Well, ask yourself a simple question. Would you continue to buy from a company that didn’t hire you (or worse, one that left you feeling used and unwanted afterwards)? It’s not rocket science, it’s just common sense! For brands that hire thousands of staff and interview hundreds of thousands to fill those positions every year, the costs of poor candidate experience can be drastic.

Believe it or not, 86% of in-house recruiters believe they deliver an “exceptional candidate experience”, yet a whopping 37% of jobseekers believe they’re more likely to win the Lottery than receive detailed job feedback from their next interview. Clearly something’s gone horribly wrong!

For too long the candidate’s wants and needs have been ignored. This has led to a marked breakdown in understanding and relevance, causing jobseekers to feel dismayed, upset and let down by the brands they try so hard to work for. This breakdown means that just one in five candidates felt “informed” during their last job application process.

Our research uncovered that:

Nearly two thirds of candidates felt either nervous, uncomfortable or frustrated during their last job application process

18% of workers felt more valued by receptionist than interviewer

One in four jobseekers believe interviewers don’t care about their goals or aspirations

Poor Candidate Experience is Costing You Big-Time

How can this divide in perception be so big? And, more importantly, what does this mean for businesses? Well, first and foremost: it’s costing you money. And lots of it!

1 in 4 believe candidate experience more revealing about brand culture than customer experience

We’ve already seen that one in four jobseekers have given up on a brand simply due to a bad candidate experience. For companies with large numbers of staff (big retailers, telecoms providers, etc.), the effects of poor candidate experience are felt with a considerable sting. This problem is compounded when you consider the trend: more and more jobseekers want to work for brands where they shop.

Two in three candidates are more likely to apply for a job at a brand where they’re an existing customer

25% of jobseekers would immediately switch to another brand if they had a poor candidate experience with that company

In 2014, more than 130,000 candidates applied to work at Virgin Media. We discovered that 18% of these applicants were existing Virgin Media customers. As a direct result of poor candidate experience, more than 7,500 candidates cancelled their subscriptions and switched to competitors.

Those 7,500 customers – on various subscription packages – equated to roughly £4.4m in lost revenue, or nearly the entire sum of Virgin Media’s HR budget. We have since worked with Virgin to turn this loss into a profit by redesigning their careers website and improving their candidate experience.

How Can You Turn Your HR Department into a Profit Centre?

Good question. Chances are you haven’t yet realised the value that great candidate experience can add to your business – not just in terms of landing top talent, but also in terms of creating happy brand advocates.

29% of jobseekers would consider becoming a customer of a brand if they had a positive candidate experience

Everyone that visits your careers website, talks to your team via Skype or comes into the office for a formal interview is experiencing your brand first-hand. If you have great candidate experience across all touchpoints, you can maximise every single brand interaction along the recruitment process.

15% of workers would immediately switch to another brand if they had a positive candidate experience when applying for a role at that company

Remember, recruitment offers jobseekers a window into the soul of your company, so-to-speak. If the view isn’t pretty, you’re not just losing talent – you’re losing customers! The flip-side presents a very different image:

Jobseekers would feel more positive about their next candidate experience if they received detailed job feedback (57%), had help finding another role (34%) and if the interviewer took an interest in their goals (28%)

At the end of the day, it’s vital that companies begin to realise how far the ill effects of poor candidate experience can spread. The sooner you act, the sooner you can protect brand identity and remain confident that your recruitment marketing strategies are top-notch.