South Africa

How you hire impacts who you hire

Managing Executive:
4 mins

Did you know that most candidates pay close attention to how a company carries out its hiring process? In fact, in CareerPlug’s annual Candidate Experience Report 2024, the overwhelming majority of candidates surveyed rated the hiring process between 7 and 10 in importance. Very few candidates reported that the hiring process was unimportant to them.

When asked about the company they currently work for, 83% of employees rated the candidate experience in the hiring process as positive. More importantly, 76% of candidates said that a positive experience swayed their decision to accept an offer.

Positive experiences are important, but so are negative candidate experiences. 52% of candidates have declined a job offer due to poor experience. In fact, it’s the third reason that candidates decline offers, topped only by ‘compensation and benefits not meeting expectations’ and ‘roles and responsibilities differing from expectation’ respectively.

The challenge is not only losing great talent as a result of a poor candidate experience during the recruitment process. 35% of candidates admit they’ve left a negative review online after having a negative experience and 60% of candidates said they’ve left a positive review online after having a positive experience. Add to this the fact that candidates research and review companies before applying for jobs and it’s clear that the candidate experience makes a difference when recruiting top talent.

The data is clear: Making positive changes to your hiring process can help you get more candidates to say yes to your job offers. Your organisation can achieve this through:

  • Greater transparency during the hiring process about compensation and benefits
  • Clearer and more accurate information about the job and responsibilities
  • Improved communication between the interviewers and job applicants
  • A great workplace environment and atmosphere
  • A fast and organised interview process.

4 proven ways to improve a candidate’s hiring experience

Talented employees know their worth. They expect employees to value them and their time, and the recruitment process is often used as a precursor of what it will be like to belong to an organisation. A great experience is viewed positively. Candidates typically believe that if they are treated well during the recruitment process, they will be treated well as employees. Unfortunately, the opposite is true as well. When candidates do not have a good experience, they will reject offers and often share their experiences online. Poor recruitment processes result in lost talent opportunities and reflect poorly on businesses as employer brands.

The good news is that by creating a good hiring process and working with expert partners, businesses can create positive experiences for candidates that foster good relationships from the start. Here are four key ways to make sure your hiring experience attract top future talent.

  1. Your time to decision is quick and decisive

Finding the candidate who is the best fit for your business may take time, but if you take too long, you could lose candidates to companies with faster hiring times. According to the Time-to-Hire Factbook, issued by the Josh Bersin Company, the average time-to-hire takes approximately 43 days. However, a new Robert Half survey reveals that 62% of professionals lose interest in a position if they have not heard back from a company within two weeks of the initial interview.

Companies can prevent talent attrition during the recruitment process in the following ways:

  • Look for ways to streamline and speed up the hiring process
  • Eliminate wasted time through a dedicated team who can focus on the process
  • Track all applications and have firm deadlines for each step of the process assessments
  • Share assessments immediately to align candidate capabilities with target job responsibilities
  • Respond within days of the initial interview with next steps to keep candidates engaged
  • Aim to offer the right candidates a position within a four-week cycle if possible.
  1. Treat correspondence as a core recruitment metric

There’s an old saying: you cannot manage what you do not measure. When it comes to recruitment, applications are tracked, assessments are issued, and reference checks are evaluated. But who is paying attention to how candidates are communicated with? How frequently are they updated about the process? How streamlined are communications? How valuable to candidates feel throughout the experience.

Providing genuine feedback is a simple yet effective way for employers to add value to candidates in the interview process. Some talented individuals may not suit a position, but they do suit the employer. Candidates who hear back quickly from a company are 52% more likely to apply for another position at a business in the future, according to research from Talent Board. It’s a small but powerful way to build and maintain a future talent pool that costs a business nothing but courtesy. On the other hand, candidates who never hear back from recruiters are more than twice as likely to think negatively about an organisation

  1. Share the company culture and assess values

The employer-employee relationship is never one-sided. A successful hire aligns the candidate’s skills and values with the company’s needs and culture. Informing candidates about the business, it’s vision and mission, core values and culture is just as important as learning about their skills. A skilled recruiter will not only source the right talent; they will communicate the company’s core values throughout the process and align people with jobs where they will thriv

Recruiters can help job seekers decide if a company is a good fit by:

  • Ensuring that company culture is reflected in each step of the hiring process
  • Using behavioural role-plays to allow candidates to demonstrate key job
  • Leveraging virtual assessments to test strategic decision making.

These methodologies show candidates what working for an organisation might look like while simultaneously assessing their capabilities.

  1. Provide enough up-front value during the process

According to LinkedIn’s 2022 Workplace Learning Report, companies that offer strong learning and development pathways keep employees for an average of 5.4 years; nearly twice as long as businesses that don’t prioritise career development. Since ongoing growth is crucial to candidates, ensuring they understand how you invest in your employees is important early on in the recruitment process. The goal is to keep candidates interested and engaged – particularly if they have applied for multiple positions. Do not make the assumption that they need your business more than your business needs them.

The best way to demonstrate this is to share learning assets during the recruitment process:

  • Give access to business advice relevant to the candidate
  • Share interesting and current industry insights
  • Align this content to the interview process, showing your interest in the candidate’s career and measuring how valuable development and growth is to them as well.

Stand out from competitors

Many organisations focus on recruitment as a means to hire candidates instead of also leveraging the entire process as a way to become a top employer brand, attract top talent, and hire the best fit for the business. The recruitment process is the candidate’s first experience with your company. The better the process, the happier your new employee will be when they accept your offer — the more likely you are to have hired a long-term, top-performing individual.


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