In today’s competitive job market, it’s harder than ever to find and retain the best employees. Companies spend a lot of time and resources searching for candidates, only to see them slip through their fingers. What they don’t realize is that the candidate’s experience during the hiring process can make or break their chances of finding suitable professionals.
In this article, we discuss the meaning of candidate experience and suggest some tips to help you create great experiences that attract top professionals and foster long-term success in recruiting endeavors.
What is Candidate Experience?
It’s the overall perception and journey that job applicants have during the recruitment process with a particular company. It encompasses every interaction, from the initial application submission to the final decision, and to onboarding.
The closest example is the shopper’s experience. When buyers make purchases, their experience with the seller will determine if there’ll be a next time.
- How was the attitude of the seller?
- Did they provide support when needed?
- Did the product include all the features you required?
- Did they make a follow up or call when you went home?
All these factors make up the buying experience and this is the same for candidates. Their first interaction with the company influences their decision whether they would work for them or not.
Why Does a Positive Candidate Experience Matter in Recruitment?
According to the recruitment statistics compiled by psychometrics specialists Clevry, around 64 percent of applicants who go through a bad job application process tend to talk about their experience with their loved ones. Out of that group, about 27 percent take it a step further and actively discourage others from applying to the same company. ¹
This makes the candidate experience an important process in recruitment and you can enjoy these benefits if it’s done correctly.
1. It has a direct impact on the employer brand.
At every stage of the hiring process, from the initial application to the final interview, candidates form their perception of your company.
When they have a positive candidate experience, they tend to view your organization in a favorable light, speak positively about it, and even recommend it to others. This positive impression can enhance the perception of your organization among potential candidates and help you attract suitable professionals in the future.
2. It helps your organization stand out in a candidate-centric job market.
Today, candidates have multiple options and can choose to work for companies that prioritize their experience.
A smooth and respectful recruiting process creates a favorable impression, making candidates more inclined to accept offers and join the company.
On the other hand, a negative experience can lead to talented candidates withdrawing from the process or even rejecting job offers. If you’re wondering why candidates are ghosting you, you may need to look into how they are experiencing your recruitment process.
3. It boosts engagement and expands the talent pipeline.
Even if a candidate is not selected for a position, a positive experience can leave a lasting impression.
They’ll be willing to reapply for future positions when suitable positions arise. This can contribute to a talent pool of engaged and interested candidates who may be a good fit for future roles.
It can also lead to referrals and networking opportunities. These relationships can contribute to building a strong talent pipeline and reduce the time and resources spent on future recruitment efforts.
4. It impacts employee morale and productivity.
It doesn’t just stop with recruitment. Positive candidate experiences transcend the workplace and demonstrate the company’s values.
Professionals who have had good experiences during the hiring stage are more likely to feel proud of their organization and feel motivated to contribute to its success, creating more engaged and dedicated team members.
How to Identify Poor Candidate Experience in Your Hiring Practices
Sometimes you might be doing it wrong without even realizing it. Here are a few things you need to consciously be on the lookout for:
1. Lengthy and Complicated Application Requirements
In the same Clevry report, approximately 60 percent of candidates opted to abandon a job application before completion because it was complex and took too much time. ¹
Make sure that your process doesn’t have:
- Unnecessary forms
- Repetitive questions
- Vague instructions
- Complicated process
If the process is excessively long, complicated, or requires redundant information, it can frustrate candidates and discourage them from completing the application.
2. Lack of Communication
Poor communication throughout the hiring process is a significant red flag for many professionals.
Candidates expect feedback even if they are not selected. If they do not receive timely updates on the status of their application, interview scheduling, or any other relevant information, this may reflect poorly on the organization.
3. Unprofessional or Inconsistent Interview Experience
A poor candidate experience can stem from unprofessional or inconsistent behavior during interviews. This can include interviewers:
- Being unprepared
- Asking irrelevant or discriminatory questions
- Displaying disrespectful behavior
Be consistent in evaluating all the candidates fairly, and that they receive the same treatment and experience.
4. Lack of Transparency
Candidates value transparency regarding job requirements, company culture, compensation, and benefits. If the organization fails to provide clear information about these aspects, it can lead to disappointment and frustration.
Instead, provide accurate job descriptions, salary ranges, and comprehensive details about the role and company. This sets realistic expectations for candidates and helps them know what they’re getting into.
5. Lack of Personalization
Candidates appreciate a personalized approach that acknowledges their individuality. If the hiring process feels impersonal, with generic communication and standardized assessments, candidates may feel like just another number.
Tailoring the recruitment procedures to individual candidates, addressing them by name, and showing genuine interest in their qualifications can significantly enhance a candidate’s experience.
Additional Tips on How to Create a Good Candidate Experience
Here are a few additional suggestions you can provide for your candidates.
1. Clarity and Simplicity
Write clear job descriptions that outline the responsibilities, qualifications, and expectations for the role. Make the descriptions engaging by highlighting the company culture, growth opportunities, and any unique benefits.
You can also make the process easier by creating a user-friendly online application system. Avoid asking for excessive information and focus on collecting essential details.
2. Manage Expectations
Prepare interviewers to ensure they have a consistent approach and are knowledgeable about the role and organization.
Clearly define the selection criteria and communicate them to the candidates. This allows candidates to assess if they fit for the role. Be transparent about the evaluation stages, such as the use of interviews, assessments, or reference checks.
3. Prompt Response and Updates
Promptly acknowledge receipt of each application with an automated email response. Communicate the next steps and approximate timelines.
Keep candidates informed about their application status throughout the hiring process. Update them on any delays or changes to the timeline and regularly provide feedback on their progress to keep them engaged and motivated.
4. Additional Resources
Provide them with additional resources or materials about the company, team, or specific projects they may be involved in. This helps candidates gain a deeper understanding of the organization and fosters their enthusiasm for the role.
If a candidate is not selected, provide them with constructive feedback on areas they can improve. According to Thrive, an applicant who’s rejected and gets no feedback may never reapply or engage with the same company in the future.² Deliver feedback with empathy and offer suggestions for future opportunities. This helps candidates grow professionally and shows them that you appreciate the time and effort they invested in the process.
BUILD A LASTING IMPRESSION IN THE MINDS OF APPLICANTS WITH THE HELP OF STRATEGIC SYSTEMS
A great candidate experience cannot exist without a solid and well-thought recruitment process. Whether you require a short-term resolution for an unforeseen issue or a forward-thinking solution for long -term employment, Strategic Systems prioritize a human-centric approach to deliver the right assistance for your company promptly.
For us, people come first, and this is reflected in the way we screen, sort, and communicate with potential employees. If you want to streamline your recruiting process and create an exceptional candidate experience, contact us today to learn more about how we can help!
1. Inglethorpe, Ryan. “Recruitment Stats 2022: 50 Hiring Stats & Trends.” Clevry, 13 May 2022. https://www.clevry.com/en/blog/recruitment-stats-2022-50-hiring-stats-trends/.
2. Todorov, Georgi. “Top Recruitment Stats 2023 [Facts and Trends]”. Thrive My Way, 12 May 2023. https://thrivemyway.com/recruitment-stats/.