3 Ways Employers Can Improve the Hiring Experience

Woman smiling and taking notes while on the phone

Ever had a bad experience with a company or product? What did you do? Complain about it to your friends? Tell your family to never use them again? Shout out to everyone you know (and those you don’t) via social media? Well you’re not alone. Recent research from CPM Australia found that 79% of people who have had a negative customer service experience, share their story with others.

Word of mouth is a powerful tool and leaving a bad impression can be a costly exercise. In fact, according to Accenture, poor customer experience in Australia is costing businesses $122B per year.

This sharing of negative encounters applies to recruiting just as much as anything else. Let’s take a closer look at what that impact is—and what you can do about it.

Playing the (not so fun) waiting game

A recent study by Indeed found that waiting to hear back from a potential employer is the #1 pain point for 48% of job seekers.(1)

While only one person can land each job in the end, every candidate can still have a good experience during their recruitment journey with your company.

So what kind of experiences are job seekers getting? We’ve crunched some numbers:

Average application response time from employers

Average application response time from employers: 52% of employers respond within one week; 25% respond within a couple weeks; 8% never; 7% 1 month or more; 6% 1 day

On average, 6% of candidates hear back within a day, 52% hear back within one week, and 27% within a couple weeks. Some receive an automated response months after applying. Unfortunately, others never hear back at all causing uncertainty, anxiety and frustration.

There are many reasons behind the delays, but it often comes down to one thing—time. Recruiters are run off their feet. Small business owners even more so, as they’re often handling the whole hiring process themselves. Screening dozens of resumes is no small task and is the #1 pain point in the hiring journey reported by employers.(2)

That said, there’s a light at the end of the recruitment tunnel that will benefit your brand, your sanity and the job seekers eagerly waiting to hear back from you.

Helping to address the application black hole

Face it, time isn’t your friend and the robots aren’t here to save you yet. That said, here are three examples of how recruiters are working to improve the job application experience.

1) Keep the conversation flowing

Their careers page tells you to “bank on a career that’s different” and it appears that Bank of Queensland’s approach to hiring is too. They contact every person who applies via email once their application has been received. If your skills and experience match those needed, you’ll be contacted again about next steps. Then, successful or not, you’ll get an email or phone call to let you know the outcome.

Regular contact with shortlisted candidates may also help to reduce your risk of losing them to the competition. Recruitment company Robert Half’s survey of Australian office workers found that a third of applicants began to look for other opportunities after not hearing back for a week. Thirty percent also questioned the company’s decision-making ability.

Making a call might be low on your list of priorities, but this small gesture could make a big difference to a job seeker’s’ opinion of your brand—particularly when sharing their recruitment experience with others.

2) Give your robot a human voice

Perhaps you don’t have the resources to phone each applicant personally. That’s understandable—though, a simple email is better than not hearing back at all. Keep in mind that job seekers receive a plethora of cold, emotionless auto-responses, so be honest about it. You could even go the extra mile like Trello, by being a little playful and injecting some personality into your response.

When the project management firm sends out an automated reply, their robot admits it’s not a human. Here’s an excerpt:

Even though this is an automatic email, it’s not the usual blah blah, so please read on!

We’re a small company, and to be honest sometimes eating lunch seems more important than reviewing resumes. But we will assure you that a real live human being, not an automated computer zapper program, will review your application carefully, and only after drinking plenty of coffee and getting lots of sleep and exercise.


Keeping it light-hearted sets a positive tone and reassures candidates that their application won’t be relegated to the bin (virtual or otherwise), before it’s been reviewed by a real person.

3) Impart some handy advice

Make the most of your career page by providing job seekers as much information as possible about your hiring process.

Origin Energy’s company page provides a clear outline of their recruitment process and the steps involved. They also go one step further by actually offering interview tips to help take the stress out of that stage of the job seeking cycle. (Don’t have a career site? No worries: Indeed can lend a hand.

Implementing one (or more) of these solutions can help you to provide a good job seeker experience from the start. Whether or not the candidate is successful, at least you know they’ve had a positive interaction with your company.

Plus, you might even get some of that valuable word of mouth.

(1) Decipher/FocusVision “Confidence Curve” study on behalf of Indeed, 2017.

(2) Decipher/FocusVision “Confidence Curve” study on behalf of Indeed, 2017

Use Indeed to find your next hire