Recruitment website candidate account pros and cons

Candidate accounts on recruitment websites are a hotly debated topic amongst recruiters and website designers. Often it comes down to user experience versus candidate capture, but it also depends on the way the candidate account is built and what it requires candidates to submit.

A well-designed registration process that is easy to understand and ensures it is simple to upload and submit a CV and other documents will make a huge difference to candidate engagement. 

There are three options here – make it compulsory for candidates to register on your website before they can apply for any jobs, make it optional, or don’t have an account at all. We weigh up the pros and cons of candidate accounts and consider all the options available. 

Pros of accounts

There are a number of advantages to candidate accounts on recruitment websites. By gathering extra information from candidates about their job search and what they are looking for, recruiters are able to build a talent pool that can be targeted when the right opportunities arise.

If candidates are applying for each job individually, it doesn’t give the recruiter the wider picture about what they’re really looking for and what their ideal job/location/salary is. A candidate profile plus an interview can place both the recruiter and the candidate in a better position. It may take longer to make that first application, but once the candidate has set up an account, the application process will save time. Another time-saving feature is to integrate with other platforms such as LinkedIn or Facebook so that users can register with the click of a button. 

Cons of accounts

Some believe that enforced account registration creates a barrier between the candidate and their ability to make a quick application. If you’re a candidate applying for multiple jobs on multiple sites, having to create an account can slow the entire job searching process down, which is why forcing candidates to register before applying for jobs can make for a poor user experience.

By having an account, it will be easier in the future to apply for other jobs on your website, but not all candidates will be thinking long-term. Sometimes, especially if they are visiting your jobs page on a mobile device (which a fast-growing number are, our 2020 Recruitment Website Trends Report found that 43% of users accessed recruitment websites from mobile devices), candidates will want to quickly apply while they see the job. You will want to capture that before they forget/ their desire wanes/another job or offer comes along. Thanks to several newsworthy hacking scandals, there will also be some who simply don’t like the idea of their personal data being stored online. 


General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is something that needs to be fully considered if you are collecting any form of personal data. Candidate accounts hold a substantial amount of personal data, and so it is vital that you show transparency and accountability with regards to the protection of that data.

Look at it from the candidate’s point of view – from the moment a CV is submitted, the recruiter has your information, and, legally, they can hold it for as long as they deem it necessary. The only thing the candidate can do is request the recruiter to delete it. It’s therefore imperative that you have a privacy notice on your website specifying how you use personal data. If you need further details, take a look at our really helpful GDPR guide.

The benefits of candidate accounts are huge – you are able to capture candidate data from website registrations and job applications, plus build a searchable CV database to create your own talent pool. If you are worried that having to set up an account will deter talent from applying for your jobs, then make it optional – offer a quick apply option as well as the ability to set up an account for future ease and so that you can send them the right opportunities as they arise. Just ensure you have a clear privacy policy on your website, which sets out how you handle their data and what their rights are. 

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