There is a countless amount of content about the new catchword “Candidate Experience”. It describes the reactions of applicants to selection procedures and their actual or supposedly influencing factors. The topic is by no means new and has been present for decades under various terms (e.g applicant reactions).

It is obvious that there are always rejected applicants. In the best case, however, these applicants will also speak positively about you as a company and employer. What do you have to do for this? Viasto provides study results and tips to support your employer branding even in the event of rejections!


Why fair selection processes are important

It is worth taking the candidate perspective when setting up any application procedure. If a selection procedure is perceived as inappropriate by applicants, top applicants may drop out. The probability that applicants will recommend a company to others is also reduced. Applicants are happy to share their experiences on Social Media – and not just the positive ones. If negative experiences accumulate, your company’s reputation as an employer will decline, which can be reflected as a competitive disadvantage. So there are good reasons to deal with this topic.


Does the perception of applicants depend on whether they are accepted or rejected?

The connection between acceptance, rejection, applicant reaction and employer brand can be explained by a phenomenon that social psychologists call self-esteem attribution: This describes the general tendency to interpret things in such a way that they maintain self-worth and in no way harm it.

In selection processes this means if an applicant receives positive feedback (acceptance) after a selection process, he attributes this to his abilities, which enabled him to pass the selection process. If, on the other hand, an applicant receives negative feedback (rejection), it is much more self-serving to explain the selection result by saying that a selection procedure was not suitable for recognising one’s own strengths. Through this devaluation the self-esteem is maintained.

This negative attitude towards the selection process then also radiates onto the company, as it is associated with it. According to this mechanism, it would not matter how much a company values fair processes or not.But it is not that simple – it is still possible to leave a good impression.


 Fair processes count – even for rejected applicants

Fortunately for all recruiters who set up selection processes, there are influencing factors that prevent rejections from having an impact on the company’s image, e.g. a study recently published in the International Journal of Selection and Assessment shows. The authors interviewed nearly 400 applicants of a Dutch publishing house.

The first finding was not surprising: as expected, rejected applicants rated the selection process as less fair and the company as a less attractive employer in retrospect.

However, this did not apply to all rejected candidates. The applicants who received a rejection but perceived the process to be fair still considered the company to be just as attractive an employer as those who received an acceptance.

It is therefore worth investing in the selection process for the employer brand!


This is what you should keep in mind

So much for the theory: These are concrete adjustments according to the research of a group around Talya Bauer, one of the most renowned researchers internationally in the field of applicant reactions:

1) Make a clear connection between the selection procedure and the requirements of the job. Interview questions should be appropriate and job-related.

2) Have sufficient information for applicants at every point in the process (e.g. process description on the career page)

3) Give applicants a chance to perform: Applicants want to have the opportunity to demonstrate their skills. Use selection procedures that make this possible.

4) Qualitative feedback: This includes not only giving feedback to the candidate, but also making them understand the qualitative aspect of how a decision was made.

5) Consistency in selection processes means that all applicants go through the same process. In extreme cases, this also means that positive discrimination can lead to negative reactions from other applicants.

6) Openness & Respect: Throughout the process it is important for applicants to be perceived as individuals. This includes, for example, adherence to deadlines, personal approach and contact persons and a prompt response to enquiries.


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About viasto and our artificial intelligence in recruiting

Viasto is the leading innovator and market leader for video recruiting solutions. We are working with external AI experts developing useful AI applications for personnel selection processes in every field. The viasto interview suite, a web based software as a service (SaaS), enables companies to improve their recruiting. Using competence based interview structures, recruiting becomes more efficient, more flexible and more reliable. Viasto was founded in 2010 and is based in the technology hotspot Berlin. Our customers, for example Telekom, BOSCH, AXA and Beiersdorf trust our expertise and believe in the benefits of artificial intelligence in HR.