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Why Transparency is Essential For a Positive Candidate Experience

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Aside from the odd exception, there will only ever be one successful applicant for each job advertisement. However, businesses must realise the importance and implications of the experience for each and every candidate.

Searching for a job can be a tense and tiresome task causing stress levels and anxiety to run high, and unfortunately, the recruitment process may contribute to this in some instances.

A candidate experience is how a job seeker perceives and reacts to a prospective employer during all stages of the recruitment process.

Our latest Recruitment Risk Index (RRI) research revealed the impact of poor recruitment processes in the Canadian market and highlighted the role of transparency in creating a positive recruitment journey.

Delayed reference checks are creating a negative candidate experience

Both parties - the candidates and the prospective employer – want the recruitment process to be as seamless and quick as possible.

Alas, delays in certain areas of the recruitment process, such as the return of reference checks, are creating a negative candidate experience.

Exacerbating this negativity is when there is a lack of transparency throughout the timeline.

44% of the job seekers surveyed admitted that delays in reference checking alone caused them anxiety and almost all job-seeking respondents (91%) wanted to be kept up to speed during the hiring process.

When it comes to reference checking, phone-based methods can sometimes take weeks, and a lack of transparency leaves candidates in the dark with no way of knowing if their references have progressed.

More advanced software such as Xref negates any delays and its automated system keeps the candidate up to date at each stage of the reference checking cycle.


A negative candidate experience causes damage to your business

Whilst everyone is optimistic when applying for a job, nobody expects their application to be a ‘sure thing’. But it is important to note that the candidate’s experience during this process is a reflection on your organisation, and one with severe flow-on effects.

Unsuccessful candidates can provide an array of benefits to a company if they have enjoyed a positive candidate experience. They will share their impressions of your business through word-of-mouth, social media and in other digital forums. They will also be encouraged to apply for another position further down the track and continue to purchase your products or services.

Candidates who enjoy a positive experience invertedly become brand ambassadors and strengthen your company’s brand and image.

Alternatively, candidates who have endured a negative experience through a lack of transparency will share their damaging impressions of your business, not apply for future positions, and ultimately take their consumer spending elsewhere, costing your organisation financially.

In the case of Virgin Media, neglecting the candidate’s experience through a perceived lack of respect and transparency was costing the mobile provider over $5 million annually.


You may be missing out on the best talent

Delays and a lack of transparency don’t just create a bad first impression and potential income repercussions, they also leave organisations at risk of missing out on the best talent available.

Our Recruitment Risk Index conveyed that 33% of the job seekers surveyed reported walking away from job opportunities due to delays in recruitment.

LinkedIn also discovered that 65% of candidates say a bad interview experience makes them lose interest in the job entirely.

Can your organisation afford to settle for second best? Imagine losing out on top talent due to the failures of your own recruitment process.

In particular markets or occupations where there is a significant skills shortage, the competition for the best candidates is high. You can guarantee that if you don’t put the candidate first in the recruitment process, one of your competitors will.

Improving the candidate experience and overall transparency is essential if you want to secure the best talent available and assist in the future success of your business.


Transparent communication is paramount

People can handle bad news, as long as it’s delivered in a professional and respectful manner. It’s a part of life. What people can’t tolerate is a lack of transparently clear and frequent communication. Nobody wants to feel like they’re being ignored of left in the dark.

When someone’s made the effort to prepare for and attend an interview, not hearing back from a potential employer leaves a sour taste in one’s mouth. Even more so if they are forced to chase up an answer from the employer themselves.

If there is no decision made as of yet, let the candidate know that the process is still ongoing. In regard to candidate communication, frequency is your friend.

By embracing the advanced, automated technology of Xref, employers can provide their candidates with the transparent and frequent communication they desire at each touchpoint of the recruitment journey.

Six key touch points

Some tips for transparency across the six key touch points of the recruitment process are:

1. Awareness

The candidate experience begins long before an applicant applies for a job. According to an IBM survey, 48% of the candidates surveyed had previous interactions or relationships with the prospective employer prior to applying for the position. 

Your existing brand image and how you advertise for the job counts.

2. Application

A well-crafted, automated response is a great way to begin your communication with candidates. Candidates want the assurance that their application has been safely received and that they will be notified of the next steps.
An Application Tracking System (ATS) enables companies to filter through a long list of applicants to determine the best candidates. The system then automates the responses to all candidates, both successful and unsuccessful.

3. Pre-interview

Those shortlisted to progress through to the next stage will be eagerly awaiting their allocated interview slot. Make sure the communication confirming these details comes quickly, represents your brand, and provides an idea of what to expect on the day.
Candidates want to be as prepared as possible for their interview, so providing the necessary information in regard to the line of questioning or if any testing will take place is essential.
If candidates need to prepare for certain items such as a presentation or a test, give them adequate time to prepare.

4. Interview

Personalise the interview as much as possible. This makes candidates feel invested in, understood and a part of the team from the first time you meet.
Hiring managers must be respectful and professional at all times during the interview. You’re auditioning for the candidate just as much as they’re auditioning for the job.

5. Post-interview

The recruitment process is a two-way street. After interviews have been conducted, thank each candidate for coming in, outline who their best point of contact is moving forward, and set realistic timeframes for feedback.

According to a LinkedIn survey, 83% of talent say that a negative interview experience can change their mind about a role or company they once liked, while 87% of talent say a positive interview experience can change their mind about a role or company they once doubted.

6. Decision Time

Take the time to offer as much constructive feedback about the interview as possible and, where appropriate, ensure they consider future opportunities with your organisation.

LinkedIn research shows that 94% of candidates want to receive feedback after an interview.



Companies should look to constantly optimise their recruitment process with transparency at the forefront of their methodologies.

To optimise your recruitment process, you will need to measure the candidate experience through carefully crafted survey questions at the conclusion of the process.

To better understand the risks posed by poor recruitment processes, get your free copy of the full Recruitment Risk Index Report here. And, to learn more about the importance of transparency during recruitment, listen to Xref’s webinar on creating the ultimate candidate experience.

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