Company Catfishing: Candidates Swipe Left on Employer Interview Processes

Greenhouse, the hiring software company, has released its Candidate Interview and Employer Brand Report, revealing how candidates are being “catfished” during the interview process. Glossy web pages with overt promises of a great company culture, flexible working hours and impactful diversity and inclusion commitments are being exposed during the interview process. Company culture is often misaligned with the employer brand of many companies in the US today, and it comes down to a broken hiring process.

The report, surveying more than 1,500 employees across the US, found that close to half of all respondents (45%) have rejected positions after a negative interview experience. The broken hiring process reveals much more about company culture than employers realize, resulting in declined offers and driving away talented employees.

The findings show that almost one-third of candidates have faced discriminatory questions during a job interview, highlighting how these illegal yet common practices are harming both candidates and companies.

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Questionable interviewing practices

Almost 40% of respondents who identified as Black have faced discriminatory questions, compared to 31% of white respondents. The report highlights how Black interviewees are over 25% more likely to experience illegal practices. Those who identified as female are almost 20% more likely to be faced with illegal interview questions, compared to their male counterparts.

Digging deeper into the data we see candidates were asked about their marital status, family planning, whether their partners worked, what their childcare arrangements were, the year they were born, if they were a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, where they were “really from”, and more. The most common illegal interview questions were focused on age (35%), race (30%), marital status (28%), gender (28%), religion (20%), parental status (18%), sexual orientation (17%) and pregnancy status (14%).

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion ( DE&I) commitment

Over 68% of candidates believe that a diverse interview panel is fundamental to better hiring experiences and outcomes, showing that candidates care deeply about DE&I and are evaluating prospective employers through that lens. For respondents from underrepresented groups, almost 90% believe a diverse hiring panel is fundamental to better hiring experiences and outcomes. With potential employees judging every touchpoint throughout the hiring process, it’s more vital than ever that companies ensure structured, fair and inclusive hiring practices that represent the values of the company.

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“Employer brand is something companies constantly talk about, particularly in this economic climate. However, these survey results show that candidates find out the reality of what a company prioritizes and values early in the interviewing process. If you’re claiming to be something you’re not, you’re catfishing prospective employees, and people will find out,” said Donald Knight, Chief People Officer at Greenhouse.

“Whether intentional or not, it’s clear that bias and discrimination are actively present throughout the hiring process. Employer brand is far more than just a web page and free food. If you don’t put your people first authentically, you’ll be given the thumbs down by prospective employees.”

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