News Article

Poor communication in recruitment biggest 'red flag' for candidates

Posted 3rd July 2024 • Written by Honey Wyatt on •

Over half (57%) of employees said a lack of communication was the biggest red flag that gave them a negative impression of an employer during the hiring process, a survey by HR software provider HiBob found.

The survey of 2,000 employees showed nearly two thirds (62%) of employees described the hiring process as negative while just under a quarter (22%) found the process “stressful and soul-destroying”.

Good communication is essential to recruitment, commented Martin Warding, business director of recruitment firm Kingdom People Professional Services.

Speaking to HR magazine, he said: “Great communication has to be at the centre of any successful hiring process. Without it, candidates are left feeling undervalued and disrespected, leading to negative perceptions of the employer.”

Effective communication during recruitment could also foster “long-term loyalty and advocacy” from employees, Warding added.

HiBob found two fifths (41%) of employees were unlikely to accept a job if they were left with a negative impression from their interview experience. 

Kate Garbett, vice president of small and medium-sized business at recruitment firm Adecco, told HR magazine employers should communicate their values during the interview process.

She said: “Employers need to see the interview process as an opportunity to showcase who they are as a business and to leave all candidates – successful or not – with a positive experience, where they at least want the role if offered. 

“This gives organisations the best chance of a candidate accepting a role as well as positive word of mouth about their business to other potential employees.”

The survey also showed other warning signs employees looked out for during recruitment were a disorganised or unprepared interview process (56%), the job description being misaligned with the role (48%) and more than four rounds of interviews (46%).

Good communication starts with tailored job descriptions that reflect business values, suggested Ronni Zehavi, CEO and co-founder of HiBob.

He told HR magazine: "Ensure job descriptions align with business needs and long-term goals before hiring so managers can focus on finding candidates whose desires, concerns, and aspirations match the role and the company.

"To effectively manage applicant expectations, implement personalised recruitment strategies, transparent job descriptions, and showcase commitment to employee development and company culture."

Garbett noted that communications could be used to manage candidates’ expectations of the role during interviews.

“A great example of best practice is a short video with a day or week in the life of what to expect in the role. This is a great way to bring to life the good, the average and the challenges that happen,” she suggested.

“If this isn’t possible, then it’s important to be honest with candidates about the job but also about what the recruitment process will cover and why.”

Following an interview employers could fit their communication strategy around candidates’ preferences, Warding explained.

He said: “Employers can use various communication channels – such as emails, phone calls, text messages, social media, WhatsApp, etc – depending on which is the candidate’s preferred method of communication to ensure candidates are always informed and engaged.

“Having a detailed communication strategy that covers every stage of the recruitment process is crucial. This includes regular updates, feedback mechanisms, and clear next steps for candidates.”

Almost a third (31%) of respondents in HiBob’s survey said waiting to hear the outcome of an interview was the least enjoyable part of the hiring process.

Creating a streamlined recruitment process would keep employees engaged, according to Warding.

“Reducing the number of interview rounds and speeding up decision-making processes can prevent candidate fatigue and disengagement,” he commented.

“Regularly gathering and acting on feedback from candidates can help identify pain points and improve the recruitment process continuously​.”

HiBob surveyed 2,000 UK professionals.

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