Candidates Swipe Left on Employer Interview Processes

Greenhousethe hiring software company, has released its Candidate Interview and Employer Brand Report, revealing how candidates are being “catfished” during the interview process. Glossy web pages with overt promises of a great company culture, flexible working hours and impactful diversity and inclusion commitments are being exposed during the interview process. Company culture is often misaligned with the employer brand of many companies in the US today, and it comes down to a broken hiring process.

The report, surveying more than 1,500 employees across the US, found that close to half of all respondents (45%) have rejected positions after a negative interview experience. The broken hiring process reveals much more about company culture than employers realize, resulting in declined offers and driving away talented employees.

The findings show that almost one-third of candidates have faced discriminatory questions during a job interview, highlighting how these illegal yet common practices are harming both candidates and companies.

Questionable interviewing practices

Almost 40% of respondents who identified as Black have faced discriminatory questions, compared to 31% of white respondents. The report highlights how Black interviewees are over 25% more likely to experience illegal practices. Those who identified as female are almost 20% more likely to be faced with illegal interview questions, compared to their male counterparts.

Digging deeper into the data we see candidates were asked about their marital status, family planning, whether their partners worked, what their childcare arrangements were, the year they were born, if they were a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, where they were “really from”, and more. The most common illegal interview questions were focused on age (35%), race (30%), marital status (28%), gender (28%), religion (20%), parental status (18%), sexual orientation (17%) and pregnancy status (14%).

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion ( DE&I) commitment

Over 68% of candidates believe that a diverse interview panel is fundamental to better hiring experiences and outcomes, showing that candidates care deeply about DE&I and are evaluating prospective employers through that lens. For respondents from underrepresented groups, almost 90% believe a diverse hiring panel is fundamental to better hiring experiences and outcomes. With potential employees judging every touchpoint throughout the hiring process, it’s more vital than ever that companies ensure structured, fair and inclusive hiring practices that represent the values of the company.

“Employer brand is something companies constantly talk about, particularly in this economic climate. However, these survey results show that candidates find out the reality of what a company prioritizes and values early in the interviewing process. If you’re claiming to be something you’re not, you’re catfishing prospective employees, and people will find out,” said Donald Knight, Chief People Officer at Greenhouse.

“Whether intentional or not, it’s clear that bias and discrimination are actively present throughout the hiring process. Employer brand is far more than just a web page and free food. If you don’t put your people first authentically, you’ll be given the thumbs down by prospective employees.”

How the hiring process reveals employer brand

Candidates shape their impression of an employer during the interview process, meaning companies hurt themselves when they fail to properly train interviewers and structure their hiring process.

When interviewing for a new company, respondents evaluate a company’s employer brand through review platforms like Glassdoor (64%), word of mouth (60%) and direct contact with current and former employees (44%). Employer brand does not just mean updating a career page on your website: almost three-fifths of respondents define employer brand as internally focused and helping to promote employee engagement within a company such as making decisions with employees at the top of mind. Close to one-quarter of respondents have written a negative review for a company on an external platform.

Additional survey data shows how candidates are considering company culture and employer brands throughout the hiring process:

  • When considering a role, the large majority of candidates (92%) believe a healthy, diverse and inclusive company culture is integral, the leading indicators of which include; 
    • Work environment – hybrid working opportunities, flexible hours, tech support and work from home budget (72%)
    • Leadership style – transparency, belonging, fairness (63%)
    • Community – gives back, strong ethics and values, volunteer opportunities (53%)
    • Company mission – clear future goals and purpose (52%)
    • Diversity – transparency when it comes to how they approach DE&I (50%)
  • Almost nine in every ten respondents mentioned the importance of interviewers highlighting a company’s values and culture during the interview process.
  • Over 82% of respondents feel that no more than three interviews are acceptable during the hiring process, signaling candidates’ continued fatigue of lengthy and inefficient hiring processes.

In recent candidate surveys, Greenhouse has revealed that:

  • Almost 43% of candidates have had their name mispronounced in a job interview, highlighting how many companies are failing to create a positive and inclusive interview experience.
  • Over 90% of hiring managers say they are proactive in providing feedback to candidates. Yet, more than 75% of job seekers stated they were ghosted following an interview.
  • Over 70% of job seekers want feedback after a job interview. More than 60% said that receiving feedback during the interview process, even if they do not receive a job offer, would make them more inclined to apply to future jobs at that company.

For access to the full results from the Greenhouse Candidate Interview and Employer Brand Report visit the Greenhouse site here.


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