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Removing the “Busy” Excuse From The Candidate Experience

Shaun Ricci

February 21, 2018


Despite so many technological evolutions in recruiting, it appears candidate experience isn’t actually improving that much.

candidate experience and the busy excuse

For example, 60% of candidates have had a bad candidate experience, and 65% have never heard once about the status of their application. 72% of hiring managers feel they provide clear job descriptions, but only 36% of candidates feel the same.

What gives?

We have tons of research and ideas out there on candidate experience, we’ve also written about it.

The information, processes, and best practices are out there but organizations, hiring managers, and recruiting teams aren’t getting it right.

Why would this be?

It’s all about being busy

Consider this article called “Why Americans Are So Impressed By Busyness, and then consider this paragraph:

In general, we found that the busy person is perceived as high status, and interestingly, these status attributions are heavily influenced by our own beliefs about social mobility.

In other words, the more we believe that one has the opportunity for success based on hard work, the more we tend to think that people who skip leisure and work all the time are of higher standing.

The key takeaway there is how impressed people are by “being busy.”

Now think about candidate experience. The core of the entire idea is about communication: you need to let candidates know where they stand, how things are evolving, etc. This includes the candidates you don’t select.

In essence, the whole idea of candidate experience comes down to respect and communication. But to do that effectively takes time, and recruiters are often busy with other things: spreadsheets, sourcing, calls, surfing LinkedIn, etc.

Now think again about ideas around “respect” and “time,” and look at this quote from some Harvard research:

To learn why people are disrespectful, I conducted a separate survey asking 125 employees why they behaved uncivilly. Over 60% claim they are overloaded and have no time to be nice.

“Have no time to be nice.”

At this intersection, people who feel extremely busy – like recruiters! – also have an issue “finding the time” to be civil. This is obviously a hollow excuse, but think about it like this:

Let’s say you brought in 10 candidates for an interview. One is selected. That means 9 were not. If you called each for 5 minutes, that would be 45 minutes of personalized rejection calls where the candidate can ask questions, etc. Even if these calls were 10 minutes each, it would be 90 minutes.

But if you approached recruiters and asked them why they don’t make these calls, you’d probably hear:

  • “I’m too busy.”
  • “That’s not how we do things.”

“Busy” would probably be the #1 reason, though.

The solution for candidate experience is making recruiters less busy

And you do that by automating rote functions, like:

When the rote tasks get automated, now recruiters have more time for true candidate experience, such as:

  • Attending events
  • Building relationships
  • Making those rejection calls
  • Working with hiring managers to better scale the role
  • Proactive pipeline-building

All these bullet points tend to fall by the wayside for recruiters because they’re so busy. So remove the busy with tech. That’s what tech is good for!

When the “busy” excuse disappears, the candidate experience improves.