What do candidates really want from a recruitment process?

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What do candidates really want from a recruitment process?
Liv Shaw

What do candidates really want from a recruitment process?

With the process being so subjective, we researched what candidates want from a recruitment process in our What Tech Candidates Want 2024 report.

The recruitment process varies business to business, with many factors to consider. Companies compete for the best talent, which means they need to cultivate candidate relationships and understand how potential employees view the organisation and the recruitment process.

With the process being so subjective, we researched what candidates want from a recruitment process in our What Tech Candidates Want 2024 report. We asked candidates to explain their preferences for all things relating to the end-to-end recruitment process, and we’ll explore our findings in this blog.

For more insights on candidate sentiment, download your free copy of the latest What Tech Candidates Want report to assist you in focusing on candidate attraction, analytics and retention.

The current recruitment experience

The end-to-end recruitment process can – and in many cases, is – becoming lengthy for both employees and candidates. Time to hire can vary greatly, but recent research suggests the whole process can take an average of between 36 days to 44 days – that’s around six weeks, an all-time high for the UK. This can also increase if the role requires niche skills or is more a senior position.

Crucially, research states that 62% of UK-based candidates lose interest if they receive no communication after applying for a role. This rises to 77% after three weeks of not hearing back, and at that point your company might have lost a perfectly suited candidate. In fact, 48% of candidates worldwide have declined a job because the process was too long. If a candidate is applying for multiple roles a week, and you take three weeks to review their application, the chances are they might have accepted another position that had a quicker process, or they lost confidence in the organisation due to the length of the process. Obviously, a lengthy recruitment process can be a common complaint shared by recruitment teams and employers, but what do the candidates make of it?

The ideal process

When conducting our research for the latest What Tech Candidates Want report, we found that 92% of candidates want the end-to-end recruitment process to be completed within four weeks – that’s a 40% time reduction based on the average time to hire for most organisations. Interestingly, the majority of candidates would prefer the process to last around two weeks, with just over 50% of candidates desiring a quicker turnaround when applying for roles.

When examining the results closely, we also found that a two-stage interview process is embraced by all age demographics, with under 25s and over 55s being more likely to prefer a one-stage interview process.  It’s fascinating that those demographics want a ‘one-and-done’ type process, but when you examine what the average candidate in these situations is looking for, it does make sense. Under 25s, generally, are graduates or just beginning their career and they want to get on the ladder. Over 55s are seasoned and experienced, and know exactly what to expect from the process, with 51% of over 55s being happy to wait for the right role by embracing a quicker recruitment process. As for the other age demographics, 72% of under 55s want the process to last less than two weeks, no matter how many stages that takes. And when we compared genders, women were 8% more likely to prefer a one-stage process in comparison to other genders.

The searching stage

Candidates wouldn’t be able to find organisations without some type of research, but how exactly do they go about it? We found that 62% of candidates find new opportunities on job boards, with 24% utilising social media to hear about upcoming roles. We also discovered that social media is more embraced as a first port of call by 31% of under 25s, before they move on to other methods.

When it comes to first contact from a recruiter or an organisation, we found that 72% of candidates prefer the first contact to come via email, with 23% preferring a phone call. These statistics clearly appear to show that candidates are less willing to communicate via phone, perhaps due to feeling unprepared or feeling the need to do a bit of research before answering. Unsurprisingly, as the candidates get older, the option of phone contact being the first chance to speak to someone about the role becomes more popular.

Embracing new methods

What can be learned from our findings? Firstly, it’s clear most candidates want a shorter time to hire, with less hoops to jump through during the recruitment process. The majority of candidates also prefer to be emailed prior to a phone call to discuss a potential role.

How can your organisation implement these changes? We suggest performing a review of your recruitment process and highlighting areas that cause delay – perhaps communication between stakeholders on how a particular round of interviews has gone, or a wide candidate pool making it hard to make decisions. An internal agreement of how the process can be improved will also greatly benefit your organisation and how quickly you can build your teams.

Struggling with identifying delays, or where you’re going wrong? A recruitment partner like Lorien can help. Get in touch with us today to find out how we can assist with your recruitment process - solutions@lorienglobal.com.                                                                                                                                           

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