How Candidate Fairness and Feedback Can Make You Happy

How Candidate Fairness and Feedback Can Make You Happy

Happy candidates make for happy employees (and customers when applicable)!

I love that sentiment. I do. It makes me happy. When I hear that from employers big and small across industries, I smile.

And yet, the true measure of happiness in the job search really comes down to one simple thing: getting the job. Getting hired ultimately is the reward for the blood, sweat and tears invested in a specific employer’s recruiting process, and the scramble to shine as bright as possible.

However, most of us in any given job search don’t get that opportunity to shine as bright as possible. To be happy. To get the job.

One of the recurring themes we see every year in the Talent Board candidate experience benchmark research is the theme of fairness. The perception of fairness actually. Fairness perceptions have a huge impact on overall candidate attitudes about employers they’re interested in and their eventual decision-making process as it relates to the employers.

The perception of fairness is something we see in a greater concentration with CandE Award winning employers, those companies that have the highest positive candidate ratings in our Talent Board benchmark research. And of course, fairness is what more candidates long for in every single recruiting interaction they experience. Not happiness per se – fairness.

Fairness includes, did you acknowledge the candidate’s interest in your organization? Did the candidate understand the next steps in the recruiting process after applying? Was the automated and human communication clear and consistent? Did you give them every opportunity to convey their qualifications, especially those who made it to the final interview stages? Did you give them definitive closure if you weren’t going to pursue them any further?

And did you give them any feedback after you removed them from consideration? In other words, when you rejected them.

Each year we work with hundreds of employers and many of them struggle with providing feedback to their candidates. There are litigation concerns that if they share too much information with their candidates, they’ll open themselves up to discrimination lawsuits. Recruiters don’t want to get in the potentially contentious back and forth “why I’m not qualified” tennis match that can erupt and morph into a bloody cage match.

Which actually doesn’t happen all that much with companies comfortable giving candidate feedback. I’ve had so many conversations with recruiting teams confirming this and they know that candidate feedback can dramatically improve the quality of the hiring experience for their candidates. This is turn improves their overall candidate experience and improves the chances they remain in the hiring process and potentially accepting the job offers, as well as whether or not they’ll apply again, refer others and make purchases if and when applicable.

And that potential changes dramatically from general to specific feedback. And the feedback should always stay focused on the candidate qualifications and job fit and never include anything disparaging or outside of the job/company/culture scope.

In Figure 1, our early 2018 North American research returns that only 20 percent are receiving general feedback and only 5 percent are receiving specific feedback.

Figure 1

In Figure 2, specific feedback is found super useful – 162 percent more useful than general feedback. And I know, it’s odd that 8 percent found no feedback useful. I’d love to ask them about that one.

Figure 2

In Figure 3, specific feedback contributes to an overall great candidate experience for 38 percent of candidates – a 79 percent greater candidate experience than candidates receiving no feedback.

Figure 3

In Figure 4, specific feedback also led to 75 percent of the candidates being encouraged to apply again for a similar job or another job – 37 percent higher than those receiving no feedback.

Figure 4

So there you have it. When done consistently while staying focused on the candidate qualifications and job fit, giving candidate feedback can definitely give you a positive boost to their overall perception of fairness, their overall candidate experience and ultimately the potential impact on your business and brand in the form of candidates applying again, referring others, making purchases if and when applicable – and accepting the job if and when offered.

And that should make you a happy employer.

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  • Aaron Hughes

    Spontaneous feedback allows us to build and maintain communication with others.

  • Josh Shipp

    You nailed it

  • Lisa Irvine

    Comprehensive read

  • Ross Peacock

    Constant criticism always falls upon deaf ears.

  • Donald Cutting

    Reading more books is the key to improving.

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Kevin W. Grossman

Talent Acquisition Expert

Kevin W. Grossman is the Talent Board president of global programs responsible for all aspects of the Candidate Experience Awards worldwide, the first nonprofit research organisation focused on the elevation and promotion of a quality candidate experience. He also produces and hosts multiple “world of work” podcasts including The CandEs Shop Talk and WorkingTech. A certified Talent Acquisition Strategist (TAS) and Human Capital Strategist (HCS) by HCI, Kevin has over 19 years of domain expertise in the human resource and talent acquisition industry.

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