First impressions of employers often falling flat: Results from the 2024 Greenhouse Candidate Experience Report

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First impressions mean so much – especially when it comes to choosing a potential employer. “Most candidates want to work with a company that values their time, communicates frequently and is transparent,” said Carin Van Vuuren, Chief Marketing Officer at Greenhouse. “Candidates pay attention to how companies treat them, interpreting it as a sign of the company’s culture.”

Today’s candidates aren’t just looking for a good salary and impressive job title. They want a workplace where their contributions are valued and they can find meaning in what they’re doing every day. And unfortunately, many of today’s job seekers are not finding what they’re looking for. The 2024 Greenhouse Candidate Experience Report offers a rare glimpse into candidates’ perspectives on the market, their common pain points and how they’d like to see employers improve. Let’s dive into a few highlights.

High-level overview: Candidates are ready to make moves

The main takeaway from the 2024 report? Candidates are ready to make moves. Close to one in every two employees (42%) said they would be actively looking for a new job within the next six months. And despite continued reports of layoffs and uncertainty within the tech sector, the large majority of candidates (71%) said they have a confident outlook on the job market in 2024. While employers may still be in a position of power, job seekers are feeling more confident to assert their preferences. One in every five (20%) have rejected an offer due to a poor interview experience.

Ever-present pain points in the candidate experience signal systemic issues

One area where candidates express significant concern is the role of bias in the interview process. Over half (54%) of candidates have faced discriminatory interview questions. It’s especially disheartening to see that this number is up 20% compared to last year, as cited in the Greenhouse 2023 Candidate Interview Experience report. The most common discriminatory questions candidates encountered relate to protected classes such as age, race and gender. Having a structured interview process in place can reduce the risk of interviewers going off script and ensure an equitable candidate experience for everyone.

Similarly, a lack of clear communication – an issue also noted in last year’s report – continues to trouble candidates. More than one in every two employees (53%) report that companies have advertised job responsibilities that differed significantly from reality once they started their role. And over half (53%) of job seekers say they received excessive praise and flattery during the hiring process only to be lowballed with a salary and title that didn’t match their qualifications, skills and experience.

With nearly half of employees on the move, candidates feel empowered to change jobs, but the data shows many companies haven’t gotten their hiring priorities in order. Drawn-out interviews, misleading job descriptions and ghosting only make for a frustrating candidate experience. Big companies are making basic and costly mistakes.
– Daniel Chait, CEO at Greenhouse

Greenhouse CEO Daniel Chait added, “Factors in how employers act during the hiring process like whether they’re communicative, how transparent they’re being and whether they respect candidates’ time directly determine their ability to hire and retain top talent, which ultimately affects their bottom line and future growth.”

Recruiters take note: A few bright spots and areas of opportunity

It’s not all bad news, though. Candidates also shared a few bright spots and areas of opportunity. Almost eight out of ten candidates (79%) said they would reapply to a company if they had received feedback after an interview but weren’t offered the job. This serves as a reminder that recruiters should always strive to leave the metaphorical door open with promising candidates. And while ghosting is still an issue – 52% of candidates say it’s happened to them – this number is a 22% decrease from last year, signaling companies are getting better at responsiveness.

Want to explore the results in more detail, including numbers broken down by region and candidates’ feelings about diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) and artificial intelligence (AI) in the hiring process? Download the full 2024 Greenhouse Candidate Experience Report by filling out the form on this page.

Melissa Suzuno

Melissa Suzuno

is a freelance writer and former Content Marketing Manager at Greenhouse. Melissa previously built out the content marketing programs at Parklet (an onboarding and employee experience solution) and AfterCollege (a job search resource for recent grads), so she's made it a bit of a habit to help people get excited about and invested in their work. Find Melissa on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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