The Trouble With Recruitment

  • february 23,2015
  • Dave Rigby
  • Candidate Feedback

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The Trouble with Recruitment…..

In April we canvassed a number of candidates about their job application experience, so that a) we can act on feedback about our site’s performance and b) we can share with recruiters any feedback in relation to their part of the job advertising and application processes. 

We asked candidates for their views on the recruitment process in general, as well as for feedback on how our site worked for them, and gained a useful further insight into the candidate experience.

Have a read below to see the thoughts of the 420 candidates who responded:

  1. Application Processes

Applying through

Candidates were overall (91%) happy with the process they used at to complete the part of the application process we facilitate, especially where submission of a CV and cover letter was required. 

Many commented that they were pleased they didn’t have to fully register with a complete profile before they were able to submit an application (either with a CV or redirection to a recruiter’s site), whereas some other job boards require a full registration before any application can be made.

Some commented that they didn’t want to have to complete a full profile on any job board, and were disappointed that at they had to complete a full profile before being able to submit a second application, i.e. for a different job.

Application Submissions

We asked candidates for feedback in terms of the actual application submission process, i.e. how they felt about the 3 main ways applications are made: CVs, online forms (redirections) and downloadable application forms (once emailed to them by recruiters or downloaded from a recruiter’s website).

Overall candidates prefer the simplest option, i.e. CV Submissions (with or without cover letter), with the three different processes being ranked in order of preference as follows:

  • CV Submissions 85%    
  • Online application forms (redirections)  14%
  • Downloadable Application forms 1%

Whilst we didn’t receive any feedback in terms of improving the CV submission process, comments in relation to online application forms were made as follows:

  • They can be too complex and time consuming, especially in relation to the level of the job being applied for
  • Some don’t allow you to save your application part-way through, which puts you off when you don’t always have time to go through the full form.
  • Recruiters should make it clear how long it might take to complete the form
  • There is a perception that although you have to complete the form, recruiters only actually look at your CV (and ignore all other information), where it is required as part of the process.
  1. The Recruitment Process after Application

The feedback we received on the overall process once an application has been submitted covered a wide range of topics, which we’ve tried to condense into key themes below. Useful pointers for any recruiter out there!


The biggest issue raised by candidates once their application has been submitted is communication! This includes:

No acknowledgement of an application being received by the recruiter. 

Our Response: Why? With such technology available nowadays, at very low cost, it’s easy for recruiters to ensure candidates applying for your jobs receive at least an automated reply confirming you’ve got their CV.

Why leave candidates unsure?

Even if the technology for automated emails isn’t available to you internally, what about using software like Mailchimp or Sendinblue (there are, of course, many others) to send bulk emails? Or failing that, using the BCC field in emails and sending lots at once?

The Impact: Whether you’re recruiting as an agency, or employer, if the candidate knows where their CV has gone, but feels like it’s disappeared into the ether, you’re doing your brand no favours at all. The more this practice continues, the higher the chance you have of putting applicants off trying again.

That age-old line of ‘if you don’t hear from us within 14 days, you should assume you’ve been unsuccessful’ really isn’t doing recruiters any favours at all.

No feedback once shortlisting has taken place

Our Response: Yet again, why? You’ve taken the time to at least skim their CV. Whilst the answer will be a clear ‘no’ to some candidates, why not let them know? Find the words for an appreciative and encouraging email you can send to your candidates, even in bulk, and send it. Find an efficient way of doing it which doesn’t take up much time, and keep your reputation positive!

We know many candidates will either call, or email, if they are keen for an answer at this stage, so in one respect you’ll be saving yourself some time by letting them know as soon as you can that they’ve not made the grade this time.

Lack of clarity about the Job

40% of candidates who responded to our survey raised some issues in relation to information provided by recruiters about the jobs, including:

  • A very broad location was given for a job, which turned out to be too far away from home to make the commute, e.g. ‘Greater London’, so applying for the job was a waste of time
  • Expectations over working hours, where candidates found out later in the selection process that they needed to be at work by 7am and physically couldn’t make it
  • Lack of clarity about the salary and benefits on offer. Going through the selection process to then be offered a salary lower than their current salary leaves candidates quite disgruntled! And finally,…
  • Poor job descriptions, where candidates have turned up for interviews, to then find the job isn’t actually what they thought it was!

Our Response: From our perspective, the more precise a job description is, the better. You’ll have applications from more relevant, interested and qualified candidates, meaning hopefully a more successful recruitment campaign!


Overall a useful exercise for us here at - whilst we know many recruiters are fully aware of the issues raised above, we promised to share it, so here it is!