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Candidate Experience - Negative Impact of Technical Issues, Part 4 of 6

by Joseph Murphy

This is part four of a series connected to the Candidate Experience Monograph

We asked job seekers about the impact of career page technical difficulties. Specifically we wanted to know about the propensity to leave the application process, how much effort and time might be invested in resolving an issue and if the occurrence of technical difficulties created a negative brand impression.

Likelihood to Exit

Candidates want an easy to use experience.  And the data suggest there is limited tolerance for poorly functioning features.  They want simple and effective resume uploads, and links that work and are easy to understand.  59% of candidates are very likely or somewhat likely to exit before completing an application process if the encounter a page or process with frustrating or challenging functionality.

Let’s look at it from a learning and administrative burden perspective.  There are some major applicant tracking system (ATS) that have broad market presence.  However, the candidate must register, create a profile, answer screening questions and perhaps complete some form of pre-employment test for every company where they apply.  The candidate bears the burden of completing repetitive tasks, providing redundant information time and time again.  After doing that a few times, it is easy to see why the effort-to-value balance can tip toward quick exit behavior.  And a candidate’s experience with a significant lack of acknowledgment may contribute to a degree of non-committal behaviors.

It is important that every recruiter apply for the jobs they are filling, and do it from their home computer or a public PC.  Only by sitting in the candidate’s seat can one fully appreciate what the candidate has been asked to complete.  It is from this point of view that you will be in a position to assess the ease of your process.

Time and Effort

Stop and think for a moment about your own web navigation behaviors.  How quickly do you bounce from one page to another, give up on a slow load, glace at a page and click away?  Candidates are no different on the career page. Twenty percent of candidates will exit in less than a minute from a frustrating or troublesome web encounter.

In a way, this rapid judgment is a measure of commitment to apply, degree of interest in a career with your company, and impatience with yet high expectations for a flawless process.  It begs the questions – Were they serious candidates?  Is it better they self selected out?

One to three minutes of effort can seem like a life time on a web page.  However, 45% of candidates are willing to invest that amount of time to resolve a barrier to completing their job application.  Over 30% of candidates are willing to invest even more.  So it would seem the vast majority of candidates are willing to put time and effort into finding the way forward in their career pursuit.

Self-help, FAQs, on-line support may be the best way to help candidates work through the issue as only about 15% of candidates prefer calling technical support for assistance.  So it seems there is self-sufficiency in the ranks of candidates.   They want to be able to figure it out themselves.  Therefore, having resources on your career page to support do-it-yourself trouble-shooting is important.

Brand Impact

Candidate’s associate your technology with your brand.  Over 50% of respondents stated that encountering technical problems may cause them to look elsewhere.  More importantly is that they stated they are Very Likely or Somewhat Likely to reduce their perception of your organization.  A poor functioning career page creates a brand negative reaction.

The brand-negative impact of a poor web experience became so evident in a comment left by a candidate for one of our clients.  At the conclusion of each Virtual Job Tryout candidates are presented a number of multiple-choice and open-ended questions about their experience.  This comment reaffirms that candidates who apply at your organization are most likely applying at your competitor and they make observations about the differences.

“You guys need to talk with COMPETITOR, their process is broken, this was pretty cool.”

Brand management and those focused on delivering the customer experience speak of the Net Promoter Score (NPS).  This is the response to the question: “Will you refer others, based upon your experience?  Over 90% of candidates completing a Virtual Job Tryout state they will refer others.  That feedback is evidence the pre-employment testing experience left a brand-positive impression with the candidate.

Consider asking your candidates, ALL of your candidates, about their experience applying for a job with your company.  In 2008 I conducted a small candidate experience survey at Taleo World. At that time, less than 15% of companies stated they asked candidates for feedback on their job application process.  Based upon the number of brand impressions made through the careers page, it only makes sense to get some feedback.  And it makes a lot of sense to make sure your career page delivers a brand positive candidate experience.  When you deliver a meaningful candidate experience, they will  tell you.  Your candidate testimonials will provide insight on how well you are meeting some of their expectations.

Part OnePart TwoPart Three, Part Five, Part Six