Never has the phrase ‘the hiring process is a two-way street’ been more relevant than now. The candidate experience can make or break all your employer branding efforts. In fact, a bad interview process can turn 83% of candidates off your organisation

Below are five common pitfalls we see employers make, from which there is often no going back.

1.      Wasting a candidate’s time

It can be tempting to think, ‘Let’s just interview one more’ when faced with similar CVs and skillsets. However, wasting a candidate’s time is one of the sure-fire ways to leave a bad taste in their mouth.

Candidates invest a lot of time and money in the interview process, from preparation to time off work and travel. It can be immediately apparent when an employer has hedged their bets and invited them for interview ‘just in case’.

Many employers are worried about missing out on a ‘diamond in the rough’ or value culture fit as much as skills. Yet there are better ways of screeningFor example, video interviews enable you to get a better feel for whether a candidate will fit culturally at an early stage. Or you could use a recruitment agency you trust to screen candidates for fit as well as skills.

Blog: 5 benefits of video interviewing software

2.      Making candidates jump through hoops

Wasting a candidate’s time on the off chance they’re much better in person than on paper is one thing. Finding a great candidate but making them jump through hoops to assess their fit is nearly as bad.

It’s a fine balancing act that should be proportionate to the role. Otherwise, you run a very real risk of losing quality candidates.

For most roles, a two-stage interview process will be sufficient to screen for skills and cultural fit. At the management level, we would normally recommend personality profiling for management style and ability tests, such as the Oral Proficiency Interview. If a senior role is within the 3rd party sector, a final meeting with the client may be appropriate.

These are only general recommendations. A recruitment consultant would be able to advise you on what is proportionate to the individual role.

3.      Dragging out the interview process

Even an interview process proportionate to the role will lose a candidate’s interest if there’s too long between each stage.

Schedule first and second-stage interview slots with hiring managers and other relevant personnel ahead of time. This way, you reduce the toing and froing of agreeing available dates between multiple parties (and the chance of the candidate getting a job offer from a competitor in the meantime).

Read more: 7 foolproof ways to reduce time to hire (and avoid losing top talent)

4.      Failing to feedback

A lack of feedback is probably the number one complaint we hear from candidates. If a candidate has taken the time to meet with you, it is disrespectful to not provide honest and constructive feedback

And if not for the candidates, do it for your employer brand.

80% of candidates who experience an unsatisfactory recruitment process will openly tell at least one person about it. Most will tell three people.

( study,  via

5.      Taking too long to make an offer

In our experience, job offers should be made within 24 hours (or 48 hours max). Any longer and interested candidates will start to question whether the role is such a good fit after all. If you’ve handled the recruitment process correctly, then salary discussions should have taken place during the final interview. Therefore there’s no reason to delay.

If you’re interested in improving your candidate experience, then our Employer Branding Checklist should be of interest. It will help you devise a strategic plan, create compelling content and understand which promotion channels to use.

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