The relationship between corporate recruiters and candidates has witnessed a shift in the so-called “balance of information” available to the two parties. The widening use of the Internet, particularly social media, has opened up access to data on both sides, ushering in an age of transparency and a heightened potential of mutual communication. In other words, candidates are now in a better position to take the initiative and interact with organizations. That means that corporate recruiters have to step up to the plate and provide a beneficial candidate experience on their careers websites.
A positive candidate experience is vital. Any company worth its salt is expected to have a jobs site chock full of information detailing its positions, employment brand and reasons why candidates should work there, and of course, a quick application process with relevant questions, touchpoints to contact the recruitment team, links to social media pages, and talent community portals. All of this to arm candidates with a fuller picture of the company and a basis from which to form a connection – a job application, dialogue with a corporate recruiter, membership in the talent community, or even just better knowledge and positive associations of the company as an employer.
In a society in which open dialogue has become the norm, aided by an array of online networking tools provide greater visibility and ease of communication, candidates’ annoyances with lacking application processes can easily be transmitted to social media communities of thousands. One would assume that organizations would recognize this, and that their careers sites reflect the balance shift.
But is this truly the reality in today’s corporate landscape?
A recent study by CareerXroads suggests that for many companies, this is simply not the case. In its annual Mystery Job Seeker survey, a fictional character applied for jobs at all of Fortune 2012’s Best 100 Companies to Work For. It found that of the 100 companies, 51% of them do not offer satisfactory, clear employment branding messages. Most do not allow for any sort of dialogue with a corporate recruiter, upwards of 40% lack user-friendly websites, and more than half could have been more forthcoming in publicizing related data. Finally, only 28% informed the applicant that he was unqualified or was passed over for the job – and only 3% enabled him to check his application status.
With regards to the application itself, 41% of companies had online application processes with a completion time of at least 10 minutes. 66% did not ask relevant screening questions pertaining to the job, while 24% asked no questions at all. One oddball question that 6% did ask was the candidate’s Social Security number; this information is of no consequence to job eligibility, and unlike an address or phone number, is a piece of personal data that many may not feel comfortable providing.
Due to a consistent lack of space and opportunity for interaction on issues that matter during the application process, both candidates and corporate recruiters walk away from the table sorely underserved. Candidates don’t know enough about the company or their application status, and corporate recruiters don’t know enough about the candidates to properly determine their fit for the jobs.
This is a gaping hole in the process that needs to be improved. Organizations must make the candidate experience better by opening up communication paths between candidates and corporate recruiters on careers websites. Only then can a fuller picture of both parties emerge, enabling a more efficient, accrurate hiring process.