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Candidate report: What matters most to European job applicants?

October 29, 2021
iCIMS Staff
5 min read

The just-released iCIMS European Candidate Report explores what it’s like to apply for jobs at the largest European companies. The survey includes the application process and the website experience at the start of the recruiting process.  

The report covers all Fortune 500 companies headquartered in Europe to evaluate if reality matches candidates’ expectations. Talent, technology, and business leaders can learn what candidates care about and how various technologies and elements of the job search and application process impact their overall experience.  

The second annual report was conducted in partnership with the HEC Junior Conseil, the Junior Enterprise of HEC, the number one business school in Europe, according to the Financial Times.  

Career websites were evaluated and rated on design, number of clicks required to find a relevant job, application complexity, and quality of applicant tracking. Results show that many companies are still not giving candidates a 21st-century experience fit for virtual hiring needs, despite innovative technologies and available process advancements.  

Why candidate experience matters  

According to a Manpower study, 7 out of 10 companies are experiencing a talent shortage and say they are having trouble recruiting. Talent teams are faced with fierce competition for talent in light of the pandemic and significant restructuring and redistribution of labor. To build and attract winning teams, it is crucial to build strong virtual connections with talent and to prioritize both the candidate and employee experience.  

How a company treats its candidates could be an indication of how employees are being treated and job seekers are taking note. A modern, seamless recruitment experience is important for candidates around the globe when considering joining a company.  

Are the biggest European companies role models when it comes to candidate experience? What is it like to search for and apply for a job at some of the more prestigious companies in Europe?  

You can download the report here and find out.

Video can help differentiate your career site 

All but one of the 133 companies surveyed have invested in a dedicated career page. Our report looked at whether career sites reflected a company’s culture, authentically communicated its mission and values, and made the application process easy and personalized.  

According to the report, three-quarters of the European companies have embraced video testimonials that feature employees talking about their jobs and sharing a day in the life at the organization. Video is a powerful way to share details on specific jobs and projects, especially when it’s from a real team member, to help candidates understand more about a role before applying. It’s a win-win for candidates and employers.  

While employers value video communication on career pages, few use that technology for job postings. Those who leverage video to promote open roles can differentiate themselves in the market and better attract the right talent for the right roles.  

Apply faster: still room for improvement  

The candidate’s journey doesn’t start or stop with the application. No matter how desirable a company is, candidates may give up if the process is too long, complicated, or tedious. Companies are decreasing the number of clicks required in the process, with an average of 27 clicks, which is down 34% from the previous study. 

But the time to apply is still too high, with an average of 6 minutes 11 seconds – 34 seconds for the shortest, 20 minutes for the longest – in both cases for companies in the banking-finance sector.  

Candidates point to complex and lengthy but disparate processes, forcing them to adapt the way they apply to each site.  

Learn how employers can take the hassle out of their applications with click-to-apply. 

Don’t ghost your job candidates 

If you don’t want top talent to ghost you, don’t ghost them during the hiring process. Confirming that an application was received and providing personalized feedback is an easy way to give a great recruiting experience.  

This is arguably one of the most frustrating things for applicants: a lack of follow-up once they apply for a job. While 46% of companies respond within two weeks of the application, more than half of the companies evaluated stay silent even after a month.  

Applying for a job is a sign of interest that should not be overlooked. By not responding or offering updates, companies risk losing quality candidates, many of whom assume they’ve been rejected. Surprisingly, companies skip this step that’s easy to automate and is a simple way to improve the candidate experience. See how an applicant tracking system can help you easily improve candidate experience. 


Our report lets you see what the job search and application process is like from a candidate’s point of view. Do you have a dynamic career site that showcases your brand, and is the application easy breezy or a 27-step process? Are you giving job candidates an incredible experience on their journey?  

Want to see all the results? Download the full report now. 

Download the European Candidate Experience Report

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