6 Statistics Behind Poor Candidate Experiences

by Daniel James November 18, 2015
November 18, 2015

Your job candidates want to work for you – that’s why they took the time to seek out your application, review your organization, and learn about your company. But after all that effort that the candidate puts in, they might suddenly walk away from your application process and not look back. While one perspective could be “they’re not committed,” the reality is that there could be any number of factors that made their candidate experience so bad that they chose not to even finish the process. Thanks to a recent research report from Software Advice, we took a look at some of the biggest factors that create a bad candidate experience, expanding on what we believe are some of the causes for these responses and what you can do to improve upon them.


  1. Difficult/Unclear Instructions (94% Total, 59% “Significantly Worsen”): Not being able to understand what the application is asking of the main reason candidates have bad application experiences. This isn’t just confusion over the job description being poorly written – this has to do with how the application is designed, from submitting information to going through the assessment process. If a candidate can’t understand the questions they’re being asked, they’re not going to bother continuing to try and answer them.
  2. Vague Job Description (90%, 50% “Significantly Worsen”): If you’re trying to avoid having a difficult-to-understand job description, your first instinct might be the “less is more approach” – fewer words, easier to understand. But don’t confuse “shorter” with “easier to understand” – a vague job description will keep applicants from applying because they won’t know what they’re even applying for. Have a short, clear understanding of what the position is, the skills needed in order to succeed, and build around that.
  3. Long Applications (91%, 49% “Significantly Worsen”): Ever sit in a waiting room and feel like you’ve been waiting for an eternity, but when you look at the clock only a few minutes have ticked by? The same is true for applicants taking part in an application process that’s unengaging and doesn’t favor active participation. Applications are a process, so make yours engaging so your candidates don’t get bored and walk away from the application before they can finish it.
  4. No Email Confirmation (68%, 40% “Significantly Worsen”): How will your applicant know 1. You got their application; 2. They finished one part of the application process, or; 3. What the next steps are if you don’t send an email verifying you received their application? This doesn’t necessarily need to be personalized at the start of the application – just something sending a verification you received their application and maybe informing them of what the next steps are will be sufficient.
  5. A Long Hiring Process (83%, 33% “Significantly Worsen”): Hiring processes that seem to last an eternity have always been a turnoff for applicants – after all, who wants to feel like they’re waiting forever to hear back from an organization they may never actually hear back from? Communication is key to make a long hiring process seem shorter. Though it should be pointed out that only 33% of applicants feels that a long process “significantly worsens” their hiring experience. This is lower than the other reasons on this list, and it could be due to the fact that the application process has gotten longer over the past few years.
  6. Not Being Notified They Didn’t Get the Job (83%, 44% “Significantly Worsen”): Communication is always going to be significant with job candidates, but don’t think the news only has to be good. Applicants prefer – even want – to know when they didn’t get a job they applied for so they’re not left in job searching limbo. Give your candidates the courtesy of notifying them when they weren’t a good fit for the company – they’ll appreciate it more than you might realize.


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