A new survey of professionals across Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), has found that, regardless of whether they felt the role was a good fit, a staggering eight-in-10 (81 percent) respondents are unlikely to accept a job offer if they were treated poorly during the recruitment process. The survey, conducted by the Futurestep division of Korn Ferry (NYSE:KFY), demonstrates how critical it is for organisations to place a strong emphasis on the candidate experience during the recruiting process.

Whilst less than a fifth (19 percent) would remain a customer of a company if they had a bad experience as a candidate, almost half (48 percent) would actually be likely to urge their friends and family members to stop being a customer. What’s more, a quarter (25 percent) would consider taking to social media to share their bad experience as a candidate applying for a job.

“Companies risk alienating not only strong candidates, but loyal customers if they don’t make a concerted effort to create an efficient, welcoming and informative environment during the hiring process,” said Jonathan Brown, Managing Director, Solutions, EMEA, Futurestep. “This equates to significant costs, both in terms of the time and money wasted during the hiring process, as well as loss of revenue from fleeing customers.”

When asked what would aggravate them most during the recruiting process two issues came out on top. Whilst two-fifths (37 percent) said not hearing back from the recruiter or hiring manager would aggravate them the most, over a third (34 percent) pointed to people being rude during an interview. This is particularly important when considering that respondents are often looking for guidance and support from recruiters and hiring managers during the recruitment process, with nearly a third (31 percent) claiming they do not believe recruiters give them the tools and tips they need to land a job.

“There is absolutely no excuse for recruiters and hiring managers to not respond to candidates, even if that communication is electronic such as email or text. New technology and AI tools are automating many of the traditionally manual recruiting tasks, freeing up time for recruiters to provide stronger candidate care and strategic counsel to their clients,” continued Brown.

Word-of-mouth communications is also a key factor to potential hires, with nearly every respondent (93 percent) admitting to researching online sites that give feedback on working for the company. A key tactic to help win candidates over is through adopting an employer branding strategy, which can be brought to life using a company’s digital platforms. For over a third (34 percent), the elements that matter most to them on a career website are video or case studies from a range of employees on company culture and what it is like to work there.

“The research makes one thing clear – the need to stand out as an employer is paramount, and how employers’ sell themselves to potential candidates will be a key decision-making factor for future hires,” said Neil Griffiths, leads Employer Branding solutions embedded within RPO partnerships at Futurestep. “Recruiters and hiring managers should take a look at the company culture and make sure the go-to-market strategy is authentic to the brand. After all, a brand that communicates its true sense of purpose and how all of the organisation’s stakeholders, including employees, play a role in that purpose is and will be especially attractive to most prospective candidates.”