On today’s episode of the RecruitingDaily Podcast, William Tincup speaks to Daniel from Greenhouse to talk about their Inaugural Candidate Experience Report: the findings, what surprised him, what was shocking and what was validating.

Some Conversation Highlights:

Let’s talk a little bit it about this candidate experience report and what you learned.

I think we all have to your point experiences and anecdotes and our own lives to go by, but as they say data is the ultimate truth and so we wanted to collect some real information, some real data from a large group of people. So, it wasn’t just a small sample size or someone’s individual experience and from a broad and diverse group of people.

And so we surveyed a large group of people from across the world and lots of different roles and gathered enough information that we could come back and say, “Here’s a real picture of what was happening.” And the questions that we were looking to get at were really what are the top issues on people’s minds when they are job hunting and what is it like, what is the lived experience from the point of view of a job seeker? And we found some surprising things and we found some things to your point that in a lot of ways back up and validate what you already suspected.


Tune in for the full conversation.

Listening time: 26 minutes


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Daniel Chait
CEO Greenhouse

Daniel Chait is CEO & co-founder of Greenhouse, the fastest-growing enterprise Talent Acquisition Suite. Greenhouse helps thousands of companies around the world become great at hiring, by creating tools to help deliver exceptional candidate experiences; identify and attract top talent; make smarter hiring decisions; and drive continuous improvement in every aspect of the hiring process.


Music:   This is RecruitingDaily’s Recruiting Live Podcast, where we look at the strategies behind the world’s best talent acquisition teams. We talk recruiting, sourcing, and talent acquisition. Each week, we take one overcomplicated topic and break it down so that your three-year-old can understand it. Make sense? Are you ready to take your game to the next level? You’re at the right spot. You’re now entering the mind of a hustler. Here’s your host, William Tincup

William Tincup: Ladies and gentlemen this William Tincup and you’re listening to the RecruitingDaily Podcast. Today, we have Daniel on from Greenhouse. We’ll be talking about their Inaugural Candidate Experience Report. So, we’re going to be talking about the findings and what surprised him, what was shocking but what was validating and can’t wait till you get into the findings. So, without any further ado, Daniel, would you do us the audience favor and introduce yourself and Greenhouse?

Daniel Chait: Yeah, absolutely. Thanks for having me here. I’m Daniel Chait, I’m the co-founder and CEO at Greenhouse Software. We are the hiring software company and we just celebrated our 10th anniversary in business. We started in January 2012, so we’re very excited about what we’ve done so far, but we feel like there’s a lot more to do, and it starts with knowing what’s going on in the world around you. So, I’m excited to be here today and talk to you about this support

William Tincup: And Chait this is your first candidate experience report, but obviously you’ve been studying mechanic experience for 10 years so it’s been probably even longer. Let’s talk a little bit it about why you wanted to study this and what did you want to learn?

Daniel Chait: Yeah, I think we all have to your point experiences and anecdotes and our own lives to go by, but as they say data is the ultimate truth and so we wanted to collect some real information, some real data from a large group of people. So, it wasn’t just a small sample size or someone’s individual experience and from a broad and diverse group of people. And so we surveyed a large group of people from across the world and lots of different roles and gathered enough information that we could come back and say, “Here’s a real picture of what was happening.” And the questions that we were looking to get at were really what are the top issues on people’s minds when they are job hunting and what is it like, what is the lived experience from the point of view of a job seeker? And we found some surprising things and we found some things to your point that in a lot of ways back up and validate what you already suspected.

William Tincup: Doing this we’re still technically in COVID or pandemic, I would assume that if we would’ve done this two and a half years ago, three years ago, we would’ve found something. Now, with scarcity in a lot of jobs, remote, hybrid, et cetera, I’m assuming that the candidate experience is a little bit different. So, those are just assumptions, but let’s go with some of the top findings, what were some of the things that you really fell in love with?

Daniel Chait: One of the biggest findings that we found was some data that validates the feeling people have as a candidate that you’re not really being given a world class experience. And so we saw that 75% of candidates reported having been ghosted after their interviews. And we know that a long time complaint of candidates would’ve been that companies don’t get back to them and companies they never hear the next step or they never hear when the process is over. But to see such a large majority of candidates reporting that experience was really eye opening. I think the other big thing that’s changed in the last couple of years, and you pointed out the pandemic and a lot of jobs working remote now, but the other big change has been around the role that company values and diversity play in people’s relationship to their workplace. And we saw that very clearly in the report as well. A very large majority of candidates, 86% that we surveyed we’re considering a company’s investment in DE and I as an important factor during the hiring process.

William Tincup: So, let’s unpack a couple of these with feedback, we’ll start with ghosting so we’ll do them in the order. With ghosting just outside of the report. Do you think that’s a process issue? Is that a tech issue? Is that the way we’ve always done it? A people issue? If you could put a finger on it, why do we think we still ghost candidates?

Daniel Chait: I think it’s all the above. Well, don’t say we, I don’t.

William Tincup: No-

Daniel Chait: We, the collected-

William Tincup: We, French Victorian we.

Daniel Chait: We society. Look, I think it’s a few things piled together. Look, the fundamental fact of the nature or the fact of the matter is that the nature of recruiting puts a lot of pressure on the people running the process, recruiters, recruiting coordinators are under a huge amount of pressure. In fact, they’re carrying a higher load than ever with the increase in job seeking activity and higher turnover, recruiting budgets haven’t gone up, recruiting teams haven’t grown and so as overworked as they have been that’s only getting worse. And so unfortunately many are just in a position of trying to keep up with the critical work that they have to do. And so if you imagine, well, am a recruiter maybe talk to several dozen candidates and they’re only going to move forward with a few, well, the vast majority of them who they’re not going to move forward with, it takes time to get back to those people and it takes focus.

And often they’re just not in a position of having the bandwidth to do that and it’s critical that they move forward with the people they’re moving forward with, but the others they can say, “Well, I’m just going to move on to the next critical task.” And I think the shame there is that those dozens of people who they’re not getting back to often have a huge impact on the perception of that company on the ability to get referrals and on the reputation. And so there’s a fundamental workload and workflow issue. I don’t think it’s that recruiters don’t care, I just think it’s that there’s a lot to do and this isn’t on the critical path of getting that role filled.

Now, to your question about technology, I think that’s where technology can help because the fact of the matter is it doesn’t have to be that time consuming and it doesn’t have to rely on every recruiter’s let’s say good intentions to make sure you get back to every candidate. It’s possible to automate these things in a way that still feels personalized and yet make sure that everyone knows where the next step is or whether they’re going to proceed.

William Tincup: It’s again not knowing, it’s part of ghosting and feedback some of the dove tells one another. If you just ghost, then the person’s left with a feeling of anxiety and ambiguity and just not knowing. If you’ve given them feedback, especially if it’s technology driven, you’re not typing out, the recruiters not typing out feedback for that particular candidate, but for all the lack of better terms, silver medalist, the folks that aren’t going to move forward in a process, letting them know they’re not moving forward in the process and maybe even why. It doesn’t have to be too deep, just you’re not moving forward, we’re keeping your resume on file, et cetera, but letting them know in no uncertain terms that they’re not moving forward, lessen anxiety for the candidate, lessen their anxiety and I also lessen again, some of the stuff that you might see on Glassdoor and referrals, in other things like that. How deep do you think the feedback should be for the folks that aren’t moving forward?

Daniel Chait: And I think that’s also an area where people definitely feel, I like the word used anxiety, people feel some anxiety because nobody likes to deliver bad news and then on top of that, I think sometimes recruiters or managers worry that if they tell a candidate they’re not going to move forward with them, that they’re going to have to get into a whole discussion or debate about that decision. I don’t want have to have this person say why and I don’t have to argue with them or give them feedback I don’t want to give because it feels awkward. And look, I think the way to think about it is there’s a mutual commitment to each other that’s built up over the course of a recruiting relationship. And so I think the feedback that you owe someone is really a function of how far in the process they’ve made it and how much time each party has invested.

So, if somebody fills in an online job application and submits their resume and they don’t meet your criteria, you can send them back an automated email saying, “Hey Bob, we’ve received your application, unfortunately we don’t see a fit.” And it doesn’t have to be… You don’t necessary have be highly personalized or a long conversation. On the other hand, if you’ve gone through several rounds of interviews, maybe you’ve done some work to test your skills, you’ve met a bunch of the team, you’ve gone through the very last stage and then somebody else ended up with the job, I think a phone call is in order or at the very least a personal email from either the recruiter or the hiring manager saying, “Hey we appreciate your time giving clarity, we are going to be moving forward with someone else. We would like to keep your information on file.” But just at least something personal to respect that person and the time that they put into [inaudible 00:09:39].

William Tincup: It’s interesting because you’re creating a relationship between the experience journey, the candidates journey so how deep that journey is and how deep the feedback should be. So, if it’s just a hit LinkedIn and apply all or indeed apply all and they don’t have a bachelor’s and then the job absolutely has to have a bachelor’s that’s low barrier, pretty easy feedback but again, to your point if they’ve gone nine levels in, then you owe it to them to give them that feedback because as we know anything can happen with candidates that you’ve even offered the job to.

Daniel Chait: Yeah. And I don’t think you need to run a hiring software company for 10 years to know that. My mom taught me that when I was a kid. It’s basic courtesy stuff and somebody goes to the trouble of spending time with you and expressing interest in your company and doing all the things you ask job seekers to do to interview and submit, reference checks and all these things. Well, I think you owe them some feedback. And again, it doesn’t have to be… You don’t have to give them a full performance review this isn’t an employee that’s up for a promotion, but you at least have to say, “Hey look we wanted somebody with more experience.” Or whatever it is to let them know that you’re not going to moving ahead.

William Tincup: And again, for that position, there’s usually other positions that might come up. The next thing you mentioned was values, culture and especially DE and I, how do you think that candidates evaluate DE and I? From the outside looking in, is it the annual report? Is it investments? Is it the management team? How do they… I understand why it’s important, societally, I get that and I also understand that it’s important to candidates. I’m just wondering how they make the judgment on company A over company B on whether or not they’re actually doing something?

Daniel Chait: It’s a great question and we collected some data on that. Let’s just first say for those listening, when we say DE and I, we’re talking about diversity, equity and inclusion, and it’s easy for folks to do this all data to throw out acronyms, but I tend to be very [inaudible 00:11:53].

William Tincup: Smart.

Daniel Chait: Sorry, my Air Pods just somehow randomly connected that [crosstalk 00:12:05] So, we actually collected some data about that question is what do candidates look at? And that was pretty surprising data. You might think that they’re going to evaluate you according to how you evaluate yourself, but that’s not always the case. The top things that candidates look at when they evaluate DE and I, when considering company are number one, employee benefits. Things like coverage for remote work and flexible work, arrangements around work life balance, gender affirmation, paid leave these tangible benefits to people make a huge difference and are concrete ways that candidates look to see how you’re behaving.

And then secondly, employer reviews on platforms like Glassdoor for things like opportunities and progress for folks from underrepresented backgrounds. And I think those things aren’t always what companies look to do when they want to express their commitments to diversity and inclusion. They often will do more symbolic things like changing their company’s logo on social media or sponsoring a parade. And those things are nice, but it’s interesting to us in our report that we saw the largest response of the way candidates evaluate you are on the tangible things you’re going to do for people like them.

William Tincup: It’s interesting. I looked at a lot of job postings lately and there’s a lot of statements in the job postings towards the end, more DE and I related statements which I thought was really fascinating. And I’ve seen companies also highlight their SIGs and ERGs more than I’ve ever seen. The stuff that’s usually behind the veil that you never see. And lastly, I’ve seen DE and I annual reports, downloadable reports on the careers page. Here’s where we are like here is the status. And first of all, just studying the industry, I love that because they’re vulnerable they’re not saying they’re perfect, they’re just saying here’s where we are on our journey.

Daniel Chait: And you should do those things to your point. They’re good things to do and saying that you care about diversifying your team is a good thing for you to say, but candidates are smart. And so about a third of the candidates in our survey said that they pay attention to things like whether you promote affinity groups on your careers page, but half said, show me the benefits. And so it’s not enough I would say, it’s nice to put those statements out there, it’s good to put those statements out there, but it’s better to put those statements out there and back it up with policies that show, that matter to people.

William Tincup: What did not to be assumptive, did speed come up for candidates in terms of response rates and how fast people got back them? Did speed play a part in the bonding?

Daniel Chait: It came up in a couple of different ways. I think the clearest speed signal that came up was about the time it takes to apply for a job in the first place. More than 70% of the job seekers that we surveyed, said they will not submit a job application at all, if it takes them longer than 15 minutes to complete. And so I would encourage everyone listening to this podcast go to your own company’s careers page, apply for a job, set an egg timer and see what it takes. And if you’re asked to upload your resume and then retype it all, if you’re asked to enter in with great decision and detail, all of the educational institutions you’ve attended back to middle school, fill in a bunch of compliance questionnaires, do the rest before you can even apply to the job, you’re not in the game.

You’re going to see a huge drop off in talent and where you will be left with are the people that are willing to put up with that frustrating paperwork process, not the best talent necessarily. And so the top finding from a speed perspective was really that. And so get your stopwatch out and make sure that candidates can apply to the jobs quickly. If you need information from them, you want to collect, you can collect it later. Again, once there’s more of a mutual commit, a mutual discovery around fit a little bit further in the funnel. The other thing around speed that came up is about how quickly candidates expect to hear back and nearly two thirds of the candidates in our survey expected to hear back from companies in a week or less.

William Tincup: Yeah, I’ve heard days and hours which again, we live in a consumer driven technology world so that seems fair. You order something on DoorDash, you get a text.

Daniel Chait: Yeah, I can get a pizza in 20 minutes, why can’t I get a job right? Well, I think that’s right and I think certainly the faster you get back to someone the better. We see that in sales as well and there’s always been people drawing analogies between sales and recruiting. So, if somebody fills in a request on your website to see your product and you get back to them in 10 minutes as opposed to three days, it’s a big difference and a much better. Same in recruiting, but if you’re taking longer than a few days or a week, you’re really not meeting their expectation and they’ve probably moved on and assume you ghosted them even if you intend eventually to get back to them, you don’t have that much time.

William Tincup: Any data on mobile, versus tablet, versus desktop because I’m wondering how people are going as it relates to speed and you’re asking people to fill things out. If you saw anything in the data that shows where they’re actually applying for jobs?

Daniel Chait: We didn’t ask that question in particular. It’s funny that it may be one of those assumptions that you talked about, but I just assume that so much of the overwhelmingly is happening on mobile right now.

William Tincup: Me too.

Daniel Chait: [inaudible 00:18:21].

William Tincup: And I think that’s a fair assumption. I think for different jobs when you have to fill out, go into deeper forms and do deeper things we have people probably use a desktop or a laptop, fair enough. Did you see anything in terms of the other, I’ve heard from a lot of candidates that the assessments, background checks, skills testing, certification, all that stuff that I think normally maybe two, three years ago would’ve been pushed forward in the funnel that it’s being pushed back if they use it at all. Are you seeing any of that?

Daniel Chait: I think the biggest driver of that is just the change in the power dynamic, in the job hunt. So, there’s been what we’re calling a role reversal. Companies think that they’re interviewing candidates, but in many ways it’s the candidates they’re interviewing them. In a lot of labor markets, that’s the real dynamic and so all of these things, whether it’s a long application that you need to fill in or a slow response time and follow up, interviewers who show up unprepared or late not getting back to candidates and then to your point these biased time consuming and assessment processes, candidates just aren’t going to take it.

So, I think companies are responding to these things by trying to speed up the process and then moving assessments further down once they’ve got a clear sense of who they’re making shortlists are or who’s more interested in the role, but they’re struggling to keep up with volume as well. The job seekers 84% of the talent that we survey are looking for a job. And so there’s a huge amount of activity and it’s just keeping up with it all is a gargantuan task and putting a lot of pressure on hiring teams to be more efficient and more automated.

William Tincup: So, three things left. One is when you looked at the findings the first time, one thing that just shocked you, one thing that you knew that was going to be the answer, fair enough, got it, validated. And then the last question is how has the results impacted Greenhouse and Greenhouse is hiring the way that y’all hire? Did you take some of the learns and use some of the learns for your own internal hiring? So, shocking and validating and then-

Daniel Chait: Yeah. I think the thing that was the most surprising to me was that 75% of candidates reporting being ghosted after interviews. We’ve been hearing this for years that candidates are-

William Tincup: A big number.

Daniel Chait: Complaining about being… But you think it’s probably the people that are being… A minority of candidates are being really loud about it because it sucks and it turns out it’s a big majority of candidates have had that experience and I just was-

William Tincup: That’s huge.

Daniel Chait: Blown away by that because it’s such an easy thing to get right once you’ve got it automated and once you’ve got the process down, that number should be zero.

William Tincup: Right.

Daniel Chait: The thing that I found… I don’t want to say I knew it, but something that we’ve certainly seeing a lot of is that 43% of candidates have had their name mispronounced in a job interview. And for two guys here named Daniel and William, that may not be our own experience, but our data has shown clearly that candidates are very much experiencing that and it’s hard to believe that you got a fair shot for a job and that you’re being taken seriously when they’re not pronouncing your name. So, this gets to your last question of what have we done and we produced some functionality in our platform called the Candidate Name Pronunciation feature, and we’ve recorded over 300,000 unique name across thousands of organizations.

We recorded 40,000 names in January alone. When candidates apply to a job using Greenhouse, they can record their name and the interviewers can hear that recording before the interview and just helps get everyone on the right foot and make sure they feel welcome and that they can actually be their best self during that interview and give themselves the chance to show off their real potential. And so like I said, it’s not necessarily something I’ll say, I knew the prevalence of it, but it’s obviously that issue of people’s names being mispronounced as one that we’ve been very aware of and have done some good work on the last several years.

William Tincup: It’s interesting. LinkedIn did this with I think it’s their mobile app, but you could pronounce your name which is a little thing, but just for a lot of folks the phonetically, just to be able to show how it’s pronounced.

Daniel Chait: Yep.

William Tincup: Again, those little things add up to big things so.

Daniel Chait: And William, it’s one of those things as well where you asked earlier about things like putting your name, putting your statements in the signature about your commitments to diversity. It’s one of those things where when you put a little widget on your application that the candidate can record their name pronunciation. It’s nice that the interviewer can hear their name, but it also just helps show the candidate that you care, that you’re taking the time and it’s just a courtesy that you can extend easily to every candidate. And it just lets them know that you’re paying attention to them and that they’re important in this process too they’re not just another piece of meat moving down the assembly lines they are a human being.

William Tincup: I love that. So, this is the inaugural which means that next year you’ll do the second annual. What else y’all going to do with the report itself? Are you going to do webinars around it? And how are you going to spread the good word? Or how have you already gotten the findings out to your clients, et cetera?

Daniel Chait: We’re doing full-court press. So, we’ve written about it, we’ve talked about it, in relevant interviews, podcasts and articles. And to your point, the hope is to build on it in subsequent years to start to see the answers to more questions, to start to see trends over time and of course none of us could have predicted the societal events of the last year or two, but we know that we’re living in very uncertain times and so whatever happens in the years of how will certainly have impact on the job market and on job seekers and we want to be running the surve y in those times to be able to see what happens.

William Tincup: Well, hopefully we can see that 75% in ghosting go down. That’s in a longitudinal status study. Hopefully, that number can be less next year.

Daniel Chait: In did maybe next year.

William Tincup: Hopefully. Daniel, thank you so much for your time. Thanks for coming on the podcast.

Daniel Chait: It’s great to be here. Thanks again, always good talk to you William.

William Tincup: Absolutely. And thanks for everyone listening to the RecruitingDaily Podcast until next time.

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The RecruitingDaily Podcast

William Tincup

William is the President & Editor-at-Large of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He's been writing about HR and Recruiting related issues for longer than he cares to disclose. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 20+ HR technology startups. William is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.


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