Many consumer brands are familiar with the saying, ‘customers vote with their wallets’ but they often miss that the same is true of candidates. In fact, in the 2016 National Job Seeker Report conducted by Workible, 43% of respondents confirmed a negative candidate experience has affected whether or not they continued to buy from the company and 45% confirmed it affected how often they buy from the company.
“Imagine telling your CEO that you’re responsible for losing almost half of your customers every year,” says Alli Baker, director of Workible. “I don’t imagine many HR professionals would be jumping at the chance to bring that fact to light.”
For the first time, a study has asked Australian job seekers to share their experience and perspective on the current job-hunting process.
Treating candidates badly significantly damages your brand
When asked if brand impacted their job search decisions, the response was a resounding “yes” with 60% of respondents confirming brand does matter.
In fact, 9% said they only apply to companies they like or shop with.
Survey respondents were asked to name their dream employers and explain why they chose them. Nearly every answer was due to some affinity with the company, whether they were an existing customer, attracted by the company’s vision and values or found commonality in their passions and interests.
However, when asked to rate their overall candidate experience, 32% of respondents answered “poor” or “very poor.” When asked to look more broadly about how well employers treat candidates in general, the results were even more negative with 31% responding “poorly” and an additional 12% said employers “don’t care at all” about candidates.
“What this is telling us is that companies are attracting candidates who are also their consumers, but then a huge percentage of those job-seeking fans are having a really awful experience with their beloved brand,” Baker says. “To apply these numbers to some of the country’s biggest employers like the retail giants, some of whom receive over 300,000 applications each year, the damage can be costing them millions in lost sales.”
Ripple effect of negative candidate experience is staggering
Delving into the rippling effect a negative candidate experience has, a staggering 71% of respondents said they shared their negative tale with family and friends, while 8% admitted to venting about it on social media.
“Sadly, we see time and again candidate experience play second fiddle to customer experience and, similarly, marketing departments are often treated like the favourite child getting the biggest budgets and most freedom to be creative, while HR is forever under-resourced and having to justify every dollar spent,” Baker says. “Our hope is that by bringing this kind of research to the forefront, companies will begin to appreciate the connection between candidates and customers, and ask the question, ‘Can we afford the brand backlash of a bad candidate experience?’
The 2016 National Job Seeker Survey interviewed 1700 men and women, aged between 18-65. Full survey results are available at: