Forbes reports that the average customer satisfaction ranking for companies in America is around 86 percent. The two lowest performing industries, social media and arts and entertainment, have satisfaction rankings of just above 77 percent, with both industries experiencing devastating effects because of it.

And yet, a recent poll by CareerBuilder found that the satisfaction ranking of job applicants is 74 percent, which is lower than any industry in customer satisfaction ranking. That means that 26 percent of people are getting turned off in some substantial way by a company’s hiring process.

The study found that those negative impressions are having the same effect that bad customer service has. Namely, it found that of the applicants who said they had a bad candidate experience, 42 percent would never apply to that company again, 22 percent would encourage others not to apply to the company and 9 percent would encourage others not to buy products or services from that organization.

Information Service Group (ISG), a market intelligence company, did its own study recently that found the solution is to use technology to make applying for a job, or just about any other interaction as seamless as possible. If not, companies are going to turn off applicants, particularly young applicants, according to ISG.

“As the ‘war for talent’ heats up, CEOs recognize that their employees – especially Millenials – expect their interactions with HR departments to be as easy and engaging as shopping on Amazon,” said Debora Card of ISG in a company press release.

What’s Broken Now

So why are so many candidates reporting that they are having a lousy candidate experience? Well, it has everything to do with communication, or perhaps more accurately, a lack thereof.

Specifically, a whopping 75 percent of candidates – 75 percent! – said they never heard back from a company after they applied for a job. Not even a “thanks but no thanks.” Perhaps even more astonishingly, 60 percent of candidates reported not hearing back from a company even after an interview with the company.

When you factor in the time to find a job opening, customize a resume and cover letter and fill out the necessary forms, applying for a job takes at least an hour of one’s time. Going on an interview often requires taking time off of work (and thinking of a good excuse to do so), researching the company, driving to and from the place and then the nerve-wracking interview itself, so a minimum of a three-hour commitment.

To not hear anything back from a company – not even so much as an email – after putting in that sort of time commitment has been met with scorn by candidates. Just one example: roughly one-third of people who didn’t hear back from a company after applying said they would be less likely to buy their product or service.

So marketing, sales, etc is doing what it can to build market share and create a likeable brand. And it is being undermined by a lousy hiring process.

The Solution

Not one to just dwell on the negative, CareerBuilder found several companies that made candidate engagement a priority and were reaping the benefits from it. After all, the career site found that if people did have a good candidate experience with a company, they were 23 percent more likely to buy that organization’s service or product and 37 percent more likely to encourage other people to apply there.

One company cited by CareerBuilder as providing an outstanding experience was MB Financial Bank. The Chicago-based financial services company uses its Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to engage with all of its applicants, sending emails to each one to keep them up-to-date on their status or to let them know if they’ve been eliminated from consideration.

Shell Oil Company was also praised by CareerBuilder for having an outstanding candidate experience for its consistent and welcoming messaging and its fast hiring process. Most importantly, the oil company periodically surveys candidates to see how they can improve their experience.

Both of these companies were able to do relatively simple tasks – communicate with applicants, make the process as efficient as possible – by just utilizing the right technology. And that equals better applicant pools, more customers and a bigger bottom line.

About VoiceGlance

VoiceGlance is a cloud-based hiring tool used by forward-thinking companies to hire smarter, instead of harder. Learn more here.