Is Your Screening Process Creating A Negative Candidate Experience?


Everyone Matters

Time kills all deals.  That’s a fact that is certainly true for companies trying to hire great people.  But the length of hiring process can be somewhat mitigated by good communication at every stage. 

When CA Technologies realized we had a massive black hole in our candidate experience after surveying applicants in 2014, we set out to fix it right away.  It seems we weren’t communicating back to many of those who applied for a position with us other than an automated response verifying we received their application.  So we implemented a Talent Assessor program to ensure every applicant received a communication from a member of our team within 24 hours of applying.

That system has worked well to ensure that the candidates who are not moving on in the process after initial screening receive some notification from us of their status.  We invite them to stay in touch by joining our talent community so that we may follow their career progress and potentially reach out to them if the right job opens up.  That’s great communication up front.

Once a job applicant progresses to the interview process however, they become a job candidate.  And communication can slow down due to a number of factors (hiring managers, I’m talking to you).  Some of the factors that are out of our hands, however, are things like the background screening and assessment processes.

Good Communication Can Help Mitigate Applicant Concerns

Gerry Crispin, Principal at CareerXroads and founding member of The Talent Board, which oversees the Candidate Experience Awards suggests, “It’s a tricky question but the data from general correlations of which practices are primary factors suggest that the ‘assessment experience’ will be rated higher by candidates if:

  • Employers explain the assessment’s rationale and set EXPECTATIONS about the process.
  • Candidates believe the process is FAIR – i.e. everyone is assessed the same way and the assessment is connected to the job (FACE VALID)
  • Employers hold themselves (and their recruiters/psychometricians) ACCOUNTABLE for periodic concurrent and predictive validations
  • Employers demonstrate their willingness to LISTEN to candidate questions about assessment process, results, feedback and privacy and have trained recruiters to defend transparently their decisions that are based in part on the assessment
  • Candidates have CLOSURE about the results, how they were used, and what will happen to the data long term.

The background screening process can vary widely in time-to-process in the U.S. from state to state.  Checks in New York, for instance, usually take only 1-2 days to confirm.  But other states, like New Hampshire, can take several days to process.  Communication with candidates and setting expectations about this as well as potential outcomes is paramount.

“The candidate experience is increasingly becoming one of the top priorities for our organization,” said Richard Seldon, President and Chief Revenue Officer at SterlingBackcheck, the world's largest company focused entirely on background checks.

“Our research proves that 82% of job applicants who have a positive experience are likely to tell their inner circle about the company, and your background screening practices have a tremendous effect. A well-orchestrated experience creates a strong company reputation, increasing both the quality and quantity of the applicants and referrals. We have committed to investing more than $36MM into our technology to ensure our clients can offer the best experience to their candidates during all steps of their journey.”

Job Candidates Are Noisy

Survey results from The Talent Board back this up.

  • 65% of the candidates who had negative experiences would definitely share their stories with their inner circle or are only slightly less likely to do so.
  • In addition, roughly 50% are likely to or would definitely tell their social networks via blogs and other types of public social posts about positive experiences.
  • 32% would be willing to speak out publicly via social channels about negative experiences.

The ripple effects of your candidate experience and your background screening process are both powerful and profound. As the Talent Board’s Candidate Experience research report points out, nearly two-thirds of job seekers who had positive candidate experiences would actively encourage colleagues to apply for jobs at those organizations, while nearly a third who had negative experiences would actively discourage colleagues from applying to jobs at the offending organizations.

Keep in mind that your candidate experience begins the moment a person actively searches for an opening in your organization or comes across one of your job postings—and it doesn’t end until they’ve completed the onboarding process. This means there are plenty of places the candidate experience can hit some turbulence. But if you consistently communicate with job candidates at every step and set proper expectations, your background screening and assessment processes won’t be one of them.

Gerry Crispin and I will be hosting a panel discussion on this topic with SterlingBackCheck at their booth #3237 at the SHRM Annual Conference on June 20th at 2pm.  Join us to learn more about streamlining your hiring process through good communication to improve candidate experience.

You can also catch me at any of 3 SHRM Annual Conference speaking appearances here:

·         Session #703: Social Solutions for HR: Social Media Strategies to Help Achieve Your HR and Business Goals
Pre-Conference Workshop 6/18/2016 | 01:00 PM - 05:00 PM

·         Inbound HR: Strategies to Attract the Right Talent to Your Organization
Convention Center 145 | 06/21/2016 | 04:00 PM - 05:15 PM

·         SMART STAGE: Converting Your Alumni Community Into a Boomerang Community
Smart Stage | 06/22/2016 | 10:45 AM - 11:03 AM



The SHRM Blog does not accept solicitation for guest posts.

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