How to make 1.2m rejected candidates still love your brand

This year, we have helped more than 60,000 people get a job. From retail assistants, graduates entering the workforce for the first time, sales professionals, team leaders and cabin crew, to name just a few. We have supported recruiters across various industries and roles to find the right people to join their organisations.

Yet, for every successful candidate we helped, there were 21 unsuccessful ones. Recruiters do a lot more rejecting than hiring, which begs the question of how good the typical recruitment function is at dealing with unsuccessful candidates. And what the consequences are of not getting it right?

Anecdotally, there are plenty of stories of candidates getting ghosted, dragged through onerous processes, subjected to poorly conducted interviews, or participating in questionable assessment practices. Many of us have experienced lousy recruitment firsthand, or someone close to us has, but when we look at the data it gives credence to these anecdotal experiences.

Starred, a candidate experience benchmarking firm, use Candidate Net Promoter Score (cNPS)* to measure the quality of the candidate experience across several touch points during the recruitment process. Not surprisingly, the cNPS for rejected candidates is -15, meaning that rejected candidates have formed a significant negative view of the company and will likely  detract friends and family from applying with the organisation.

Social media amplifies the consequences of providing a negative experience. A separate study by the Talent Board across 240 companies and 183,000 candidates found that disgruntled candidates will broadcast their negative experience 34% of the time.

Disgruntled candidates impact the brand reputation and the bottom line. Virgin Media recently quantified the cost of poor candidate experience, estimating that across 123,000 rejected candidates every year, if 6% cancel their monthly subscription, then about US$5.4 million in revenue is lost. 

When a recruitment provides a poor experience, they are creating customers for competitors. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Candidates with a positive experience can be one of the most potent tools in building a positive brand and presence in the marketplace.  According to Talent Board, 64% of candidates with a positive experience will expand their relationship with the brand, even if they didn’t get the job. 

What are the hallmarks of a process that consistently delivers a great candidate experience? 

Communication is right up there. Timely and accurate communication with candidates every step of the way. When we look at the feedback candidates provide us, a major theme around the importance of communication emerges. Not surprisingly, candidates appreciate NOT being ghosted. And they also appreciate being given honest and constructive feedback immediately following their interview.

Sapia and it’s blind smart interview

Also important is convenience. Sapia’s chat-based interview format allows candidates to conduct the interview at a time and place where they feel they can be at their best. It is fast, easy and safe.

And finally, candidates need to trust that the process is giving them a fair go. In a recent experiment conducted by Monash University, using Sapia’s chat-based interview platform, female candidates were more likely to continue with the application process when told that the interview will be with AI rather than a human. Using an AI process, such as what Sapia provides, offers a unique opportunity to put the candidate at the centre. And it not only results in better experiences for candidates. Recruiters also benefit by spending less time on administrative tasks and more time building relationships with candidates.

So while we helped more than 60,000 people get a job and are proud of contributing in that way, we are equally as proud of the fact that for the 1.2 million candidates that didn’t get the job, we were able to provide a positive experience for more than 60% of them. This translates into a cNPS of 58, well above the -15 cNPS reported by Starred for unsuccessful candidates.

And we did that by giving everybody an equal opportunity to be at their best during the recruitment process, providing everybody with useful insights straight after their interview, and freeing up recruiters to spend more time with candidates.

*cNPS is the % of advocates less the % of detractors. A positive value indicates more advocates than detractors.

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