SmartRecruiters Data: 63 Percent of Successful Applicants Report Interview Focused More on Company Than Them

New data showing “dos” and “don’ts” from both sides of interview table released prior to Hiring Success 2017 

SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–SmartRecruiters, the Hiring Success Company, today released data that sheds light on the behaviors of both hiring managers and candidates that most often result in a match. The study was fielded among 180 job applicants who were subsequently hired and 1,800 who were subsequently rejected during the hiring process.

This data is being released in tandem with Hiring Success 2017, SmartRecruiters’ second annual user conference, being held April 10-12 in San Francisco.

Black is the new black

According to the data, candidates who were successfully hired reported having some surprising things in common.

For example, 78 percent of hired candidates rated their physical appearance as “average” or “slightly unattractive,” whereas 66 percent of the rejected candidates rated their physical appearance as “attractive” or “very attractive.”

Additionally, 70 percent of the hired candidates reported wearing a mostly black outfit to their interview, while just 33 percent of rejected candidates wore black.

Perhaps less surprisingly, the hired candidates reported spending more time talking about company culture and the functions of the job with their interviewer (63 percent) than did the rejected candidates (47 percent).

Continued opportunity for higher interview quality and better communication

A similar percentage of unsuccessful candidates (42 percent) and successful candidates (45 percent) said they tailor their resume for each job interview, but 18 percent of the hired candidates cited their reason as “fake it until you make it,” compared to just 2 percent of the rejected candidates.

Almost half (49 percent) of the candidates who did not receive a job offer said they understood “not at all well” why they had been passed over for the position. Thirty-eight percent said they were notified via email of the final decision, while 46 percent said they were simply left hanging, receiving no official notification.

Unpadded resumes notwithstanding, the data offers some additional clues about why rejected candidates may have been passed over: 42 percent reported that their social media postings are public, 23 percent said there are photos of them drinking at a party or bar on their social media, and an equal number (23 percent) admitted to sometimes posting spelling errors.

Hiring managers: act fast

The data also had some important take-aways for hiring managers.

Interviewees that were subsequently hired were twice as likely (22 percent vs. 11 percent) to say that the company had been clear early on about the salary and benefits of the position. Forty-five percent of successful hires also reported timely responses throughout the application process, compared to just 26 percent of those applicants who were not hired.

Top reasons applicants declined positions they were offered included:

  • The offered salary was not high enough – 28 percent
  • The benefits offered were not competitive – 19 percent
  • A better competing offer was made simultaneously – 11 percent
  • The company culture seemed like a bad fit – 9 percent
  • Job was different than initially described – 8 percent

While hiring managers have only so much control over the salary and benefits they offer, they are in a position to communicate these details early on and to act quickly, so that their desired candidate isn’t snapped up by a competitor.

“The results of the research indicate that hiring success requires a holistic approach, starting with the job description itself, and must communicate as much information as possible as early as possible for candidates,” said Jerome Ternynck, Co-Founder and CEO of SmartRecruiters. “Those who reported spending significant portions of the interview learning about the company and the specifics of the job were ultimately those who went on to be hired.” He added, “We’ll be sharing additional details on making your best hire at the ultimate recruiting event of the year, Hiring Success 2017.”

Hiring Success 2017

This new data comes as SmartRecruiters kicks off Hiring Success 2017, the ultimate recruiting event of the year, where talent acquisition leaders come together to innovate and reinvent recruiting.

Scheduled speakers—including Jerome Ternynck, Founder and CEO of SmartRecruiters, Michael Ross, EVP of Human Resources at Visa, Diana Ferguson, VP, Talent Acquisition, at OppenheimerFund, and Marcia Morales-Jaffe, SVP and Chief People Officer of PayPal, among many others—are industry leaders who bring thought-provoking perspectives on talent acquisition to help take conference attendees’ game to the next level. Attendees will share insights and best practices with 300+ talent acquisition leaders and work with peers on top issues facing hiring and recruiting professionals.

About SmartRecruiters

SmartRecruiters enables Hiring Without Boundaries™ by freeing talent acquisition teams from legacy applicant tracking software. SmartRecruiters' next-generation platform serves as the hiring operating system for 4,000 customers like Bosch, LinkedIn, Skechers, and Visa. Companies with business-critical hiring needs turn to SmartRecruiters for best-of-breed functionality, world-class support, and a robust ecosystem of third-party applications and service providers.

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