Study of the month: Candidate Experience 2023

Georg Salzmann

Georg Salzmann

September 16, 2023 • 3 minutes read

Softgarden stands for innovative application management. It is therefore only logical that Candidate Experience is in their DNA. In light of the major changes over the last three years, which have also been caused by the pandemic, Softgarden has once again conducted a study on the topic of candidate experience - and identified some interesting developments.


Study of the month: Candidate Experience 2023

The results of the Candidate Experience Study 2023 by Softgarden are published in two parts. The first part focuses on factors such as job search, application processes as well as job advertisements and the careers page. For this purpose, 3,811 applicants were surveyed. We have summarized the main changes and findings for you below.

To begin with, 68% of applicants are on the job market to improve their career. This figure has risen slightly compared to the previous year, which shows once again that the labor market remains robust even in critical economic conditions. It is therefore all the more important not only to reach potential talent, but also to win them over. Keyword: Candidate Experience!

Google as the main platform for job searches

The Candidate Experience 2023 study provides clear findings: Google plays a crucial role in the entire application process. An impressive 68.4% of applicants now consider Google to be an indispensable tool in their job search. The popularity of this search engine among young applicants, women and people without an academic degree is particularly striking.

Google acts as a versatile tool for job seekers, being used both to start their job search (67.9%) and to review potential employers (81.5%). This illustrates that recruiting today is no longer successful without an active SEO strategy and practice.

Google algorithm

Because Google is so important in the application process, it is advisable to take measures that positively influence the Google algorithm. This includes, for example, the integration of reviews. Job advertisements and career pages that do not have the necessary SEO optimization run the risk of being overlooked and therefore miss out on potential candidates.

Important factors in the application process

A comparison between the older and the current Candidate Experience Study shows that job seekers are becoming increasingly impatient. The proportion of applicants who accept a maximum of one week between their application and a job interview has risen from 15.9% to 25.9% since 2020. This underlines the urgency of speeding up application processes.

At the same time, the time required for an application should be kept as short as possible. At 57.6%, the majority of respondents agree that a maximum of 10 minutes is appropriate to enter their own data for the application.

Another important factor: the need to write a cover letter makes around 53% of respondents less likely to apply. As an employer, it is therefore worthwhile not making it compulsory to send in a cover letter. Especially in view of the fact that more and more cover letters are being created with AI, the informative value of such a letter is questionable.

What your job advertisement should contain

The importance of specific information in job advertisements is evident. Today, 79.6% of applicants prefer job ads that include salary information as opposed to ads without this information. This marks a significant increase since 2020, when only 25% of applicants considered salary to be a key topic in job ads - currently it is 47.4%.

So the more specific information you have to make the job offer as fact-based as possible, the better. In addition to salary, indicators relating to the corporate culture, variety of tasks, benefits and opportunities for further development are particularly welcome. Not to forget: Reliable information on what the internal home office policy looks like.

Google Algorithm

It is crucial that employers take measures to positively influence the Google algorithm. This includes, for example, integrating review content into their own media. Job advertisements and career pages that do not have the necessary SEO optimization run the risk of being overlooked and therefore miss out on potential candidates.

How to design promising career pages

78.5% of applicants prefer job offers that include employer reviews. Interestingly, integrated employer reviews and information about the application process also have a positive effect on career sites. In fact, over 60% of applicants prefer career sites with employer reviews over those without reviews.

6 tips for a successful candidate experience

If we look at concrete measures based on these findings, we recommend the following points.

Don't just offer remote work as an option during the interview, but actively make it a topic in external communication. This offer plays an essential role in the choice of employer for more than half of the talents working in the office.

Always have Mobile First in mind. Career sites must look good on cell phones and be easy to use, as the application process takes place largely on small screens.

SEO optimization no longer only plays a role in marketing. Google is a driving platform for job seekers. It is important to optimize not only the company name, but also the location and job name.

Don't waste time in the application process. Make it as easy as possible for applicants to apply for open positions and don't waste too much time giving feedback.

Clear statements will get you ahead. From transparent communication about the steps in the application process to tangible information about what applicants can expect from your company.

You can do without a cover letter - thanks to tools such as ChatGPT, more than half of cover letters are already created using AI. Accordingly, cover letters are not very informative as to whether the talent is the right candidate.

Here you can find the second part of the Candidate Experience!

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