How can management consultancy firms improve their candidate experience?

In Q4 2018 Prism Executive Recruitment polled 3,000 experienced management consultants with a short questionnaire, the results of which provide valuable insights into why consultants change jobs and how they go about their job search.  This is essential reading for job seekers and employers alike.

According to a CareerBuilder Survey 82 percent of employers seem to think there will be no negative impact on the company when a candidate has a less-than-stellar recruitment experience. That survey goes onto suggest they are wrong!

As part of the Prism survey we asked the question: “how could employers improve your job search experience?”  With forums such as Glassdoor and the platform of social media, candidate experience is becoming more important and a critical factor in attracting top talent.

The response to our survey revealed the four chief gripes. In our blogwe identify these gripes and explain how firms can gain an advantage over their competitors by ensuring their recruitment process is efficient and professional. Here is a summary.

1.    Feedback and responding

Overwhelmingly, and by far the most frequent comments, related to lack of feedback or responsiveness during the application process. Respondents referred to lack of “basic manners” and “I’m amazed at how many…firms don’t let the candidate know”. One noted “so often even second interviews receive no feedback: this is arrogant and unprofessional”.

A LinkedIn survey highlighted that while 94 per cent of job seekers wanted feedback after the interview, only 41 per cent received it.

How to avoid the problem –

Always feedback or respond. Even a simple autoresponse is better than nothing. A simple spreadsheet can aid tracking. The impression you give to an applicant by your response, or lack of one, could be lasting and may be something that they go on to express to others who are potential candidates for you. If recruiting via a recruitment consultancy, choose an agency with integrity and check that the recruiter guarantees to reply to all applicants.

2.   Clarity of advertisement and job requirements

The survey response included  concerns with advertisements at  lack of salary details leading to wasted time on both sides; lack of clarity on “essential” and “nice to have” experience, and also stated  “candidate requirements” reading like a shopping list of unrealistic or irrelevant criteria a candidate should possess.

How to avoid the problem –

Read the advertisement as if you were the candidate you want to attract.  Carefully consider the specification and to whom you are appealing. In this way you will refine the range of potential applicants saving a lot of time and administration. Also, consider providing clear information on salary as salaries can range hugely within management consultancy jobs. If this is not possible then once a candidate has applied determine early in the recruitment process whether both sides are in the same territory before any significant time has been expended by either party. Using an agency can help avoid these avoids these challenges.

3.   Process

There was frequent reference to the speed of application processes and the delays in response.  Consultants also commented on the desire for clarity around the recruitment process and the stages of interview. Generally there was a desire for improved and timely communication.

How to avoid the problem –

Put a clear process in place.Management consultancy recruitment may be time-intensive, so this needs to pay off with results. Be clear who needs to be involved in a decision making process and why. Ensure that they will be available for interviews i.e. not always on client work. An efficient process will engender confidence in your organisation.

4.   Personal touch

It was clear from many comments that applicants for management consultancy jobs found the increasingly impersonal nature of websites, Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) and the recruitment process frustrating. Frequently expressed sentiments were summarised in a one word comment “humanisation”.

How to avoid the problem –

Remember the personal touch. This will help you to stand out and make the process less stressful and more rewarding for an applicant. It could be a deciding factor in why they choose you over a competitor.

In summary

Addressing some or all of these points is a golden opportunity for enlightened employers to take a lead over their competitors. This is particularly relevant for smaller firms which can demonstrate their more human scale and concern for the individual than would ever be possible for the behemoths!

To see the full pdf report from our recent Job Search Survey click here or here to read the full version of this blogwhich includes more detailed advice and solutions.

If you would like to discuss ways to improve your recruitment further, please contact Chris Sale Managing Director, Prism Executive Recruitment at Find more information about our services on our Client Services page including details of our Recruitment Healthcheck.