5 Steps for Using Candidate Feedback in the Recruitment Process

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Written by Peter Wilde


You already run a recruitment process. But did you know you’re sitting on a treasure trove that can drive revenues, protect and promote your brand and accelerate the recruitment process? Candidates themselves provide a goldmine of information during the recruitment process which you can act on to transform your performance.

We know talent is now the key driver of business competitiveness. But when it comes to recruitment, candidates have never had so much choice to picking their next role, or have never had higher expectations of the companies that they want to work for.

Currently, most companies rely on their applicant tracking system (ATS) for management information around recruitment. Yet while this can give you basic data, such as the number of people that have applied to your company, how many come in for interview, how many join, and potentially how many drop out, it doesn’t give you the context behind the figures.

It won’t tell you WHY someone has chosen to drop out of the process, WHETHER they and others will/do recommend your company as a place to work or IF you’ve turned off candidates so much that they’ll stop buying or recommending your products or services. An astonishing 42% of applicants say they’ll stop using/purchasing a company’s products after a negative candidate experience, demonstrating that poor recruitment processes hit your talent pipeline and your bottom line.

Getting an understanding of these issues is the first step to doing something about them, potentially transforming your recruitment processes and ensuring that you attract top talent, they don’t drop out and you protect your brand and revenues. Where do you start? Begin by focusing on these five areas:

  1. Join up the process

Recruitment often involves multiple teams and people within your organisation, from HR to managers within specific departments. It is therefore easy for the process to become disjointed and inconsistent, causing potential delays or a failure to nurture candidates. This frustrates applicants, leading to drop-outs during recruitment – which they are likely to share with the world through the megaphone that review sites such as Glassdoor provide. Companies need to take a lesson from customer experience – make sure that there is a smooth, well-signposted journey for candidates, they know what to expect and they are continually kept up to date. That way you are less likely to lose them unnecessarily, while protecting your employer brand.

  1. Listen to candidate recruitment feedback

Companies know they have to listen to their employees, and can see the benefits that this provides in terms of engagement, retention and driving improvements. The same benefits apply equally to recruitment feedback. Find out what applicants think before the wider world does. They are going to talk about their experiences – it is much better that they talk to you, rather than simply through review sites and social media. Therefore, make sure that you give all applicants the ability to share their views at every step of the recruitment process, even if they don’t make it past a particular stage. Why did they drop out? What did they like? Where can the process be improved? Listening to candidate feedback on the recruitment process helps you learn and improve how you operate, while demonstrating that you value all candidates, even unsuccessful ones.

  1. Use candidate insight to take immediate action

Too many strong applicants drop out during the recruitment process, yet often a simple intervention would have kept them interested. One of the key benefits of listening to feedback on the recruitment process is that you can use candidate insight to take immediate action to keep them onside. It could be something as basic as an email confirming the next steps in the process, or a positive phone call from a manager that shows they are wanted. By spotting issues before they become major problems, managers can reduce drop-out in the recruitment process, ensuring top talent remains committed and interested in working for you.

  1. Measure the fit with your business

1 in 5 new hires is a mistake. Companies need to make sure that they are recruiting the right people, looking beyond the CV to attract and engage with candidates that will fit with their business and culture. Listening to candidates and measuring their perceived fit by analysing their feedback, provides you with an early warning of their likelihood to turn up, turn on and stay on.

  1. Improve your processes to become the employer of choice

As well as preventing individuals from dropping out of the process, recruitment feedback gives you wider insight into your entire recruitment operation. Identify issues across the candidate journey, and take action to improve how you operate so that the whole process is smooth, seamless, values the applicant’s time and gives a positive impression of your business. Not only will this keep candidates committed to working for you, it will drive positive online reviews, strengthening your brand and helping attract top talent.