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REC calls for more positive candidate experience

The Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) is calling for employers to improve people's experiences when applying for jobs.

Its latest survey, The Candidate Strikes Back, found that eight out of 10 respondents did not receive any feedback from their last application or job interview process, and 11% described their candidate experience as 'bad'.

Speaking at REC’s second annual Talent Recruitment & Employment Conference (TREC), REC chief executive Kevin Green said that it was the only business process where the customer is not asked for feedback.

“The overriding issue for candidates is if they are unsuccessful they want some kind of feedback. But only 3% of employers thought that was the most important issue for candidates,” he said.

“One candidate wrote that when they were applying for jobs they would get ‘dear candidate’ rather than their name on emails. If someone spends the time expressing interest in an organisation they deserve a reply.

“We were all candidates once. So show me some respect, and treat me like a customer.”

The REC report also highlighted how a negative experience can affect a candidate's interaction with a business in the future. Almost a quarter (24%) of those respondents who’d had a bad recruitment experience decided not to use a product or service from that organisation, and 5% turned to social media to report their experience.

Speaking at the TREC event, director of talent acquisition for Aecom Stephen Reilly said he did not think there was an excuse for not treating all candidates well. “I can’t hold my hands up and say we respond to every candidate – but we should do,” he said.

Reilly pointed out that time taken to feed back to candidates is also important. “It doesn’t matter how well you engage – as time goes on [candidates’] interest in your company drops,” he said.

“Our own research showed that after six or seven days of no contact the candidate’s impression of the company passed a neutral line and into the negative."