From the blog

If it ain’t broke…

September 26, 2011 2:38 pm by
Categorised in:

don’t fix it right?

The mantra of most but is it really the best way to approach things?

Let’s take a look at this from a candidate experience perspective – I was with a new client last week and we were looking at bounce rates of job-seekers on their current careers site/ATS process and it was astonishing how many were leaving before/during applying for a job due to the experience they were encountering. Some were leaving part way through an application as it was so laborious they gave up….

I then did a little research from a few recent job-seekers and got some anecdotal evidence of their job search and it seems to me that a lot of corporate organisations, BECAUSE they are receiving some applications via their careers site, don’t think they have a problem (i.e it ain’t broke..)

Mr Corporate – have you ever heard of the saying – you don’t know what you are missing? Could you be missing the talent that will shape your organisation for future profitability?

With the world in current economic hiatus people are less reluctant to take the risk of a new role so talent is standing still (we know how this affects the housing market – much can be seen in the job market with the multitude of out of work graduates). If this is the case surely you as a business should be capturing the imagination of EVERYONE that shows an interest in you as an employer? The candidate experience can define how you are seen as a business in the wider world and also how your new employees adapt and become valuable more quickly upon entering a business.

One of the job-seekers I spoke to (now fully ensconced in a great job) actually started applying for their perfect job – the planets had aligned and it seems like the perfect opportunity came along just at the time they were looking – halfway through the application (25 minutes at this point) he gave up – he walked away because no matter how desperately he had previously wanted to work for the brand and in his perfect job he soon realised if this was just the process of getting a job with them then what the hell were their processes like internally….makes you think huh?

Candidate experience is hard to track from a facts and figures point of view and generally research is carried out retrospectively (I will carry on with the sayings and this one has something to do with a door and a horse bolting…..) The candidate experience is subjective to an individual and therefore it is hard to collect evidence and act upon it but The Guardian newspaper did do some research on the subject and its not rocket science ;o)

Their findings were that the top 3 frustrations a job-seeker has are :
• Application forms (lengthy, not relevant and having to be duplicated many times – hopefully apply with Linked In may alleviate this at some point)
• Lack of response and feedback (leaving people bewildered and not knowing where they stand – no one likes that feeling)
• Lack of information (no sense of company/culture so unable to make “informed” decision at any stage of the process)

Yes it could be said that this is the touchy feely end of the acquisition process and a lot of recruiters would claim that if someone wants a job badly enough they don’t care what experience they encounter?

Unfortunately I will let you into a little secret …the people that want a job so badly aren’t the most talented for your organisation! What you need to do is show a bit of leg to the talent – they understand their worth and also know they can be relatively choosy about their next move – you have to be doing something good to get them to lift an eyebrow to take a look at you – you won’t do this without having a nice leg to look at but also you won’t keep their interest if they are faced with a “slit your wrists” application process.

We believe the top 3 frustrations are easy to solve and at Tribepad, do our utmost to ensure your career site and candidate experiences are real/human/transparent/efficient/social and content rich so we thought, as a starter, we would give you a few do’s and don’ts to help you on your way


  • Give EVERY job-seeker feedback (there is technology in place to help you…)
  • Keep information gathering to a minimum until necessary (keeping compliant of course)
  • Keep it simple (don’t give them a Krypton Factor test before they even read a job advert)
  • Allow someone to apply for multiple roles within organisation with one application
  • Think about circumnavigating some processes for really senior people (this demographic aren’t generally as savvy in the online world and can be a barrier to entry)
  • Give a job-seeker content about the company which resonates with them (like minded people talking about their working life)
  • Allow job-seekers to explore – make your site sticky so they stay and learn about your brand and culture – get them interested (show them some leg!)
  • Allow your site/content to be consumed on different networks i.e Facebook/Linked in
  • Allow your site to be seen on different devices for more upwardly mobile job-seekers – smartphones and tablets
  • Give information about interview process – allow choice of interview slots etc (make the candidate’s life easier – job hunting is stressful enough)


  • Make your careers site cumbersome and slow (i.e reduce the FLASH!!) hint…
  • Be arrogant as an employer – treat everyone with respect and honesty
  • Ask irrelevant questions (no one likes a time waster)
  • Build silos of information (keep things simple and neat – you are more likely to manage expectations in that way)
  • Let your process be led by your ATS (technology is flexible!)
  • Make promises that you can’t deliver on
  • Forget that death by a 1000 cuts is slow and painful and your employer brand is as important as your “company brand” (some would argue they are one and the same)

As an end note candidate experience doesn’t end with the application process as described above – it goes right through (in our eyes) to pre hire onboarding to the first day they start in the business – this then transforms into employee experience – treating people as you would wish to be treated is a great place to start and remember you may not know it’s actually broken so we are more than happy to help you find out.

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5 comments - Latest by:

  • Emily Stevenson

    Great post, Lisa - candidate experience is such a great topic at the moment and really gets us all talking,…

  • BenPhillips

    Great post Lisa, and some really useful tips. You know we sing from the same hymn sheet on this one.…

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