May 24, 2024

Psychology in Recruitment: Data-Driven Insights for a Better Candidate Experience

What goes on in the minds of job candidates as they navigate the recruitment process? How do their expectations shape their experience, and what factors contribute to their stress or satisfaction? We shed light on these questions.
6 min read
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Akvile Peckyte
Marketing Manager
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The recruitment process is shaped by evolving candidate expectations and psychological factors, which often make it difficult to navigate. Our upcoming annual Candidate Expectations Report, which collected data from 12,000 candidates across 7 countries, provides us with invaluable insights into these factors. Cronofy Co-founder & CEO Adam Bird and Lic. Psychologist Malin Freiman Moezzi unpack these findings and provide actionable suggestions on effectively addressing them in a recent conversation at the world’s largest virtual HR conference, BambooHR Virtual Summit.

This is what we’ve learned at the session:

1. Expectations are changing

One notable trend highlighted in the report is the shift in candidate expectations. Compared to previous years, candidates now expect less from recruitment teams in terms of response times and communication, reflecting a growing sense of realism and pragmatism in the job market as competition for roles increases.

Actionable step: Candidate self booking links and automated scheduling from inside your ATS are a great way to exceed expectations. Connect and speak with candidates faster, before your competitors do.

2. Long interview processes stress candidates the most

A significant finding from the report is the negative impact of long interview processes on candidates. Globally, nearly 40% of candidates cited long and drawn-out processes as a major source of stress, emphasizing the need for efficiency and transparency in recruitment.

Actionable step: Review and streamline your recruitment process to ensure it is as efficient as possible. Set clear timelines for each stage and communicate these to candidates from the outset. Aim to reduce time-to-interview and time-to-hire by eliminating unnecessary steps and automating where possible.

3. Human touch is vital

Despite the increasing use of technology in recruitment, candidates still value human interaction. Over 80% of candidates identified human touch, including personalized communication and engagement, as crucial elements of the recruitment process.

Actionable Step: Invest in technology to automate repetitive tasks and improve efficiency. Use tools like Cronofy to automate interview scheduling and ensure timely communication. Regularly review your tech stack to identify opportunities for further automation and process improvement, as automating manual steps opens up opportunities to introduce more human touch in the right places.

4. Communication is Key

Lack of communication emerged as a common frustration among candidates. Half of the candidates cited a lack of communication as the most frustrating aspect of the recruitment process, highlighting the importance of timely and transparent communication from recruiters.

Actionable Step: Implement a communication strategy that includes regular updates to candidates. Use your ATS to send automated status updates at key stages of the recruitment process. Provide candidates with clear information about what to expect next and the estimated timelines.

Implement no-ghosting policies to maintain a positive employer brand. Every interaction with a candidate influences how they view your company, including the farewell process. Maintaining a positive employer brand will help you attract top talent over time.

5. Candidates want inclusive and fair processes

The report also shed light on the unique challenges faced by neurodiverse candidates. Drawn-out processes were found to disproportionately affect neurodiverse candidates, leading to higher levels of stress than other parts of the population. Neurodiverse also preferred to self-schedule – a larger majority than average (58% compared to global average of 53%) say they would prefer to schedule their own interviews through provided time slots. Neurodiverse candidates also felt scheduling difficulties more acutely, as 56% said they have left recruitment processes because they were frustrated with the time it took to schedule an interview, compared to a global average of 42%.

Actionable Step: Adopt evidence-based recruitment methods to ensure a fair and objective process. Clearly explain your interview techniques, and provide candidates with sample questions. Ensure your process is designed to be inclusive, accommodating the needs of neurodivergent candidates and others who may face challenges in traditional interview settings. Give candidates the option to self-schedule interviews with times that work for them without the back-and-forth through a scheduling tool like Cronofy.


Understanding candidate psychology is essential for creating a positive and inclusive recruitment experience. The 2024 Candidate Expectations Report reveals a shift towards more pragmatic expectations, the detrimental effects of prolonged interview processes, the ongoing importance of human interaction, the necessity of clear communication, and the unique challenges faced by neurodiverse candidates. By addressing these findings, recruiters can refine their strategies to create a more efficient, inclusive, and positive experience for candidates, ultimately strengthening their employer brand and attracting top talent.

Ready to Elevate Your Recruitment Process?

Get ahead of the rest of the market and pre-register for the report released later this month, and be the first to receive the insights from 12,000 candidates across 7 geographies. You can watch the full session below.