Candidates Continue to Face Poor Hiring Practices

The job market is booming, with many workers feeling confident and on the hunt for new opportunities. However, a new report by Greenhouse reveals a disconnect – despite a competitive candidate pool, many are still facing a frustrating application experience.

Bias Seeps Into the Hiring Process 
Over half (54%) of candidates have faced discriminatory interview questions, up 20% compared to last year, as cited in Greenhouse’s 2023 Candidate Interview Experience report. The most common discriminatory questions encountered during interviews relate to protected classes such as age (40%), race (28%), and gender (27%). Job seekers are willing to walk away from employers who don’t treat them fairly – one in every five (20%) have rejected an offer due to a poor interview experience.

Flawed Hiring Process Create Candidate Headaches
The first impression of a company is often through the hiring process, yet the majority of candidates face a lack of communication and transparency. More than one in every two employees (53%) report that companies have advertised job responsibilities that differed significantly from reality once they started their role. Over half (53%) of job seekers say they received excessive praise and flattery during the hiring process only to be lowballed with a salary and title that didn’t match their qualifications, skills, and experience. Instead of a reasonable starting salary, employers may promise promotions. Eliminating unnecessary interview stages can save candidates’ time and improve their hiring experience. More than half of applicants (57%) are frustrated to have invested considerable time in multi-stage interviews only to be rejected. Most prefer to keep things efficient with just 1-2 interview stages, while 40% say 2-4 interviews are the maximum they’re willing to complete.

“With nearly half of employees on the move, candidates feel empowered to change jobs, but the data shows many companies haven’t gotten their hiring priorities in order,” said Daniel Chait, co-founder and CEO of Greenhouse. “Drawn-out interviews, misleading job descriptions, and ghosting only make for a frustrating candidate experience. Big companies are making basic and costly mistakes. Factors in how employers act during the hiring process like whether they’re communicative, how transparent they’re being, and whether they respect candidates’ time directly determine their ability to hire and retain top talent, which ultimately affects their bottom line and future growth.”

DE&I Persists: Inclusivity Remains Top Priority for Candidates
Almost two-thirds of job seekers (65%) say Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) is still an important consideration when deciding to apply for a position. When considering a company’s commitment to equitable and inclusive practices, candidates look at diverse leadership (38%), positive employee reviews online mentioning DE&I (36%), and benefits that promote equity, like remote work and healthcare options (34%).

Negative Impressions of Company Cultures & Broken Interview Processes Driving Away Candidates
Company culture plays a vital role in candidates’ decision to apply for a job. More than three out of every four candidates (76%) say a company’s culture and external brand influence their decision to apply for a job. Job seekers are being selective about where they work and care about public a company’s reputation– nine out every ten candidates (89%) say that hearing or seeing negative information about a company’s culture or brand would affect their decision to apply.

One out of every two job seekers (52%) report being ghosted during the interview process. This is a 22% decrease from last year, signaling companies are getting better at responsiveness. The most common stages applicants were ghosted were after the initial conversation with a recruiter (24%), after the interview with the hiring manager (23%), and after a take-home test assignment (12%). Over 10% of all applicants have been ghosted after accepting the job offer. Workers value communication and employer feedback, even if they don’t get the job. Almost eight out of ten candidates (79%) would reapply to a company if they had received feedback after an interview but weren’t offered the job. Overall, candidates feel conflicted about how companies are hiring: 53% say companies have improved at hiring, while 47% say they’ve gotten worse.

“For applicants, the hiring process is the first glimpse into the company culture,” said Carin Van Vuuren, Chief Marketing Officer of Greenhouse. “How companies treat candidates is a crucial factor; most candidates want to work with a company that values their time, communicates frequently, and is transparent. Candidates pay attention to how companies treat them, interpreting it as a sign of the company’s culture. Those that aren’t able to create a positive hiring experience risk potentially dissuading future applicants and receiving criticism and negative commentary in public forums.”

Additional survey data reveals transparency, communication, and efficiency are among job seekers’ top desires for the candidate experience:

  • Candidates are careful to apply to relevant jobs for their skills–over two-fifths (41%) say they need to have most of the skills and qualifications listed in a job posting before they can apply for it
    • But most (60%) felt frustrated when their skills and experience were a strong match for a role, yet their application was not selected to move forward
  • The most common challenges candidates have faced in the past 12 months:
    • Compensation not meeting expectations (40%)
    • Lack of communication from companies and/or recruiters during the hiring process (38%)
    • Not enough job openings in their field (36%)
    • No feedback from companies and/or recruiters after a rejection (32%)
    • Lack of human interaction in the hiring process (28%)
    • Unclear job descriptions (28%)
  • As companies are looking to improve hiring efficiency with AI, 43% of candidates have experienced a one-way interview, but candidates have concerns:
    • One in every four job seekers (25%) say AI has made it harder to get noticed by recruiters, while a further 28% fear AI bias is causing their application to be overlooked
    • The most common areas candidates are using AI are to create resumes & cover letters (51%), prepare for interviews (43%), and to help find relevant job openings (43%)

For access to the full results from the 2024 Candidate Experience Report, visit the Greenhouse site here.

Survey Methodology
Greenhouse, the hiring software company, surveyed over 2,900 candidates in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Ireland. Out of the 2,900 candidates, 1,200 were currently employed and residing in the United States.

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