What Job Candidates really think about HR Managers

….(and the importance of the ‘candidates experience’) 

When you are a HR manager in an industry with high employee turnover rates, you learn to hone down your interview instincts. With experience, you will develop a sixth sense on what to look out for when interviewees drop their guard. In low skilled sectors, on-the-job experience might not be as strong a consideration, so you’ll need to pick up on other personality triggers to assess suitability, and your gut instinct will often make the calls.

So far, so good.

But that’s only ever half the story.

On the other side of the table in the human resources hiring process, we have the ‘candidates experience’ and this crucial factor is often overlooked. Effectively, what we’re talking about is how the interview process, over which you preside, hosts the conversations upon which people form their opinion of your company brand.

Bad experiences are the stories that are shared the most. In an age of real-time social media amplification, this can be exaggerated out of all proportion and can have catastrophic consequences for your company (and your career).

So before your next interview, take time out for some introspection.

Selection process in human resource management

The 2015 Nationwide Study of more than 5,013 workers aged 18 and over and 2,002 hiring decision makers from CareerBuilder, revealed insights every HR Manager should take seriously about the candidates’ experience for which you are directly responsible.

82 percent of employers think there’s little to no negative impact on the company when a candidate has a bad experience during the hiring process. The truth, however, is that most candidates think differently and follow through with adverse actions against the company. It could be bad word of mouth across social media or it could be hits to the bottom line.

58 percent surveyed said they are less likely to buy from a company to which they’ve applied if they don’t get a response to their application; 69 percent are less likely if they have a bad experience in the interview, and; 65 percent if they didn’t hear back after an interview.

With more than half of employers (52 percent) admitting to responding to less than half of the applicants who apply, the candidate experience and brand attribute you demonstrate is a lack of care.

84 percent expect a personal email response, and 52 percent anticipate a phone call. Even when the news isn’t what they hope to receive, candidates expect a response: 25 percent expect to hear if the employer will not be bringing them in for an interview.


As HR Manager you are the face of the brand every bit as much as the PR or marketing teams are. However, the study revealed that more than half of employers (52 percent) do not have a clearly defined employment brand.

Communication is key and it is another area where HR managers are falling down according to the study. Thirty-six percent of candidates expect to be updated throughout the application process, and 41 percent expect to be notified if they weren’t chosen after they interview. Yet only 26 percent of employers proactively communicate with candidates what stage of the hiring process they’re in. Nearly three in four (73 percent) candidates who interviewed with companies said they were never given an explanation for why they didn’t get the job.

From the perspective of an HR team using legacy communication methods such as telephone and email, it may well be the case that there’s simply not enough time in the day. According to PlanetVerify research, emailing a candidate causes an interruption of roughly six minutes in an HR team member’s day. By that measure, individually emailing ten failed candidates in a day could take up an hour of HR time, at a wage cost of up to €30, depending on the team member’s seniority.

Interestingly those who excel at communication throughout the hiring process and cultivate a great candidate experience are seeing other unforeseen benefits. 77 percent of candidates are willing to accept a salary that is 5 percent lower than their expected offer if the employer created a great impression through the hiring process, and even more (83 percent) would do the same if the company had a reputation as a great employer. Candidates would also accept a lower salary if the company had a lot of positive press recently (69 percent) and had great online reviews (73 percent).

“Today’s candidates expect ongoing communication from companies during the application process, and when companies fail to meet this expectation, it can be bad for business,” said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer of CareerBuilder.

The candidate experience in recruitment is also an important factor in your handling of personal information… all the forms, bank details, tax forms, visas, passports etc. Data privacy is a huge concern today, especially now that GDPR has come into practice. This is a minefield that can explode at any point in the event of a data breach or loss. Just clicking on an email can be enough to trigger a hack and the consequences can be hugely damaging to your company brand.

How you capture and store such information will be observed by all applicants. PlanetVerify for example, makes it easy for candidates to upload documents through a simple user-friendly app, built with privacy by design and incorporating automated workflow logic to make document collection simple for all parties concerned.

The process is seamless and for candidates who don’t get the job, automated purge settings ensure all traces are deleted so that it won’t come back to haunt you in an email breach. There is no doubt that expectations have risen in recent years and job candidates expect better communication and a seamless recruitment process. Every touchpoint throughout the hiring process should be addressed to meet these contemporary millennial expectations; not just to ensure you hire the best candidates but because the process itself is the public face of the brand and one bad experience can brew up a storm on social media.

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