The Top Challenges to Providing a Great Candidate Experience

candidate experience

Candidate acquisition is again the top priority for staffing firms in 2021. This underscores the importance of candidate engagement (the number-three priority for the year). But what does providing a great candidate experience actually entail? And what gets in the way? We surveyed more than 2,000 staffing and recruitment professionals for our annual Global Recruitment Insights & Data (GRID) Report to find out.


candidate experience


Their responses are revealing. Long-standing challenges like managing time and candidate expectations are joined by new challenges introduced by the pandemic. Nearly all of the responses revolved around the theme of communication. Whether it’s figuring out how to provide a personal touch remotely or dealing with a client that has gone silent, firms will have to navigate the obstacles ahead to provide a candidate experience that sets them apart from the competition.

This year, respondents frequently referred to automation as the solution they’re leaning on to help provide a better candidate experience. Respondents cite automation’s ability to save time and streamline the process as one way to allocate more time for the human touch that makes the difference between a good candidate experience and a frustrating one. This is perhaps why 77 percent of respondents are automating at least part of the candidate sourcing process, an incredible 97(!!!) percent increase from a year ago.

“The volume of interest in opportunities and being unable to provide feedback to all candidates who apply. We acknowledge an application is provided, but it is almost impossible to follow-up with all interested applicants on reasons they are not a fit. We do, however, make sure to provide feedback to individuals who have at least gone through the pre-screen process.” — Respondent, GRID Staffing Trends Report, 2021

“Many candidates work from home, so it is not easy to contact them. When we have an office telephone number only, candidates are limited in their communications with us, and they’re hesitant to use their laptops due to possible online monitoring by their managers.” — Respondent, GRID Staffing Trends Report, 2021

“The biggest challenge we face is not being able to meet with candidates in person anymore, it was something our recruiters loved to do to get to know their candidates better, and now that everything is more remote, it is hard to do.” — Respondent, GRID Staffing Trends Report, 2021

“Building relationships with all candidates, even if they might not be qualified, in order to build trust and brand recognition and have a customer-faced mentality.” — Respondent, GRID Staffing Trends Report, 2021

“We need an automated recruiting process. We just don’t have the time or organisation to do everything we need to do.” — Respondent, GRID Staffing Trends Report, 2021

“Recruiters that focus on pure volume and less on candidate experience. They create a bad name for recruiters, which becomes an obstacle that I have to overcome.” — Respondent, GRID Staffing Trends Report, 2021

“Not being able to give the candidates a complete, accurate picture of the client’s workplace/company culture, as well as what to expect moving forward.” — Respondent, GRID Staffing Trends Report, 2021

“Getting candidates into labs for drug testing. COVID testing has taken over the labs, and it takes longer to get in for employment drug testing.” — Respondent, GRID Staffing Trends Report, 2021

“Ghosting from clients and from candidates. It can be tough to be in the middle, trying to facilitate the process when one of the parties has gone silent.” — Respondent, GRID Staffing Trends Report, 2021

Interested in learning more about the challenges, opportunities, and ideas shaping the candidate and client experience in the year ahead? We’ve compiled key findings on candidate experience, client relationship management, and the importance of building relationships in this Global Recruitment Insights and Data spotlight.

Read: Recruiting is Still All About the (Candidate and Client) Relationships

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