First impressions are undoubtedly important in the business world. But to what extent do the importance of first impressions extend to the job candidate experience? Should creating a positive candidate experience be a priority? Candidates are supposed to be the ones impressing you, right?
Rather than leave this question to speculation, we sent out a global candidate experience survey. All 2,000 of our survey respondents were job candidates within three months before completing our survey. We asked candidates what a positive candidate experience means to them and if their candidate experience influenced their decision to move forward or pass on prospective positions.
Respondents replied to our survey with some decisive answers about the hiring process. A whopping 75% of respondents take their candidate experience into account when deciding whether or not they will accept a company’s offer. On the other end of the spectrum, only 7% of job seekers said the hiring process does not affect whether or not they view a company positively. Based on this data, we can unequivocally say that first impressions do matter. Candidates clearly take a company’s candidate experience to reflect its overall employee experience and organizational culture.
These findings mean that the risk of losing applicants due to a noncompetitive candidate experience is real. If the best applicants go elsewhere and the quality of the candidate pool drops, even the best selection tools will not be of much use.
If you want a high caliber of candidates in your hiring pool, then you need to carefully manage the first impression your company makes. A candidate experience audit is the perfect opportunity for your company to take charge of its reputation among job candidates and their social networks.
Our survey data show that personality tests should be at the top of your to-do list during this audit. They help with creating a positive candidate experience, which attracts and maintains candidate interest in your company. Here are four reasons why personality tests boost the overall candidate experience.
1) Personality tests give the candidate experience a cutting-edge feel.
The business environment is increasingly vulnerable to new technologies. When job searching, candidates are well aware of how quickly emerging technologies can transform their professions. Competitive candidates look for companies that are on the forefront of innovation in their respective industries and that will keep them up to speed professionally. Candidates’ forward-thinking attitudes means that a positive candidate experience increasingly depends on how tech-savvy they perceive a company to be.
A company’s reputation for innovation starts with the hiring process. Our survey data shows that personality tests imbue the hiring process with a modern feel. Nearly 60% of candidates describe personality tests as state-of-the-art and professional, 58% say they are creative, and 53% characterize them as scientific and serious. By extension, candidates who undergo personality testing will also view their candidate experience as state-of-the-art, professional, creative, scientific, and serious.
2) Personality tests will not deter applicants.
Although candidates are impressed by personality tests, some employers may fear that the time they add to the hiring process will deter candidates. Surprisingly, our data show that the candidate experience is not negatively influenced by adding assessment to the hiring process as an additional requirement.
The majority of candidates, nearly 60%, would not stop applying for a job because of an assessment requirement. Not to mention, research indicates that those who decide to drop out during the assessment process are unlikely to be your strongest candidates anyway.1
Research shows that assessment length is not much of a deterrent either. According to the decreasing risk model, candidates are most likely to quit an assessment right after its start, and then the dropout rate rapidly decreases thereafter.1 As a consequence, the difference in candidate experience between long and short assessments is likely minimal.
In fact, more than 70% of candidates do not place importance on a quick application process. Our survey data shows that the majority of job seekers are actually more interested in longer assessments. They see lengthier assessments as an opportunity to perform and as an indication that the company is serious about their application.1
3) Fairness of personality tests boosts the overall candidate experience.
What do candidates say is most important to them during the hiring process? First and foremost, 73% of candidates said that they most value a fair application process. The next most important thing to candidates (67%) is that the most qualified applicant gets the position.
Integrity appears to be the consistent element of positive candidate experiences; job seekers want the hiring process to be fair and for evaluation methods to provide the best representation of their candidacy. These two factors were ranked well above the process being fun or fast.
Candidates’ focus on fairness explains why they prefer personality tests to other hiring methods. The predictive power of personality testing ensures that the hiring process is equitable and objective. Well-validated personality tests accurately predict how well someone is likely to perform on the job with no meaningful score differences across protected groups.In contrast, what elements of the hiring process create a negative candidate experience? Slow responsiveness to applications leads to a negative experience for 26% of candidates. Another 26% of candidates said they have a negative perception of companies that do not handle offers and rejections with sensitivity.
It is clear that, in addition to treating applicants fairly, creating a positive candidate experience also means treating applicants with respect.
4) Creating a positive candidate experience is not all about fun and games.
A trend in talent acquisition is to use game-based assessments, which measure candidate attributes through gamified problem-solving. Traditional assessments, on the other hand, feature a standard questionnaire to measure personality, behaviors, or cognitive abilities.
At first, games may seem like an easy solution for creating a positive candidate experience. Games are less tedious than traditional assessments and thus should be enjoyable for job seekers. But there is a problem with this line of reasoning. Our survey data show that 69% of candidates do not place importance on the application process being fun. As we know, candidates prefer fairness in the hiring process and nearly two-thirds of respondents think traditional assessments are fairer than game-based assessments.
Similarly, 60% of candidates believe that traditional assessments represent their qualities as a candidate better than game-based assessments. More than half actually prefer a traditional assessment style to games.
Altogether, these results indicate that candidates are not concerned with being entertained during the application process. In fact, they overwhelmingly prefer assessments that relate to the job at hand, provide instant feedback, and allow them to accurately represent themselves as candidates.
The goal of the candidate experience is to leave all candidates with a positive view of the company, regardless of the hiring decision. Companies that are already using personality tests for selection can rest assured that they are doing the right thing and that candidates consider it to be mutually beneficial. Meanwhile, companies that have not yet delved into using personality tests for hiring purposes should reserve a spot for it in their next candidate experience audit. These tests are meant to ensure that those selected from the hiring pool reflect what is best for the company.
Want to learn more about crafting a positive candidate experience? Check out our complete candidate experience survey insights!
1Hardy, J. H. III, Gibson, C., Sloan, M., & Carr, A. (2017). Are applicants more likely to quit longer assessments? Examining the effect of assessment length on applicant attrition behavior. Journal of Applied Psychology, 102(7), 1148–1158. https://doi.org/10.1037/apl0000213