What is candidate experience and why is it so important?


When candidates are looking for a new position, how they experience your brand during the hiring process is important. When looking for the perfect candidate, employers and hiring managers should strive to make job seekers feel positive throughout the job application process; from the initial posting all the way through to interviews and the final job offer.

For job seekers, a positive candidate experience can help them become familiar with the company’s culture and feel good about joining the team. So what is candidate experience and why is it so important for both job seekers and recruiters?

What is candidate experience?

Candidate experience is the journey and overall perception a job seeker has of a company and its brand while they are going through the job application process for a position within the company. A candidate’s experience process matters throughout all stages of a typical job application process; including the job posting, application procedure, communication with hiring managers or recruitment, interviews, case studies, feedback and the job offer itself.

Each step in the recruitment process provides employers with an opportunity to build relationships with talent and communicate to job seekers why they should want to work at your company.

Hiring a new staff member takes time, so you want to make sure that your desired candidates will accept once they have successfully moved through all the steps. How a candidate feels throughout the hiring process can have a big impact on whether they choose your company over another.

Why is candidate experience important?

How a candidate experiences your business from the very start of their journey through the application process is important for several reasons. As a brand, you want to stand out to talented job seekers in order to attract the best people to your company.

Most job seekers will be applying to more than one company at a time, and if they are well matched to a specific role, you want to make sure they have a positive experience with your company during recruitment so they decide to go with you over another job offer. A positive candidate experience can also help improve the company’s employer brand and reputation. Word-of-mouth referrals, online reviews and social media all amplify the impact of a good or bad candidate experience. A negative candidate experience can damage the company’s reputation.

Furthermore, if you have a pool of several talented candidates who could all competently fill the position you have open, you may want to encourage some of the unsuccessful candidates to apply for other roles within the company. This helps hiring managers save time, money and resources as you’re already familiar with them and their skill sets.

For job seekers, candidate experience is important in helping them choose who they want to work with. The right fit is important for both the company and the applicant, so a positive application process sends a positive signal to the candidate about what they can expect when starting in their new position. Having a positive recruitment process can also help you attract a more diverse and inclusive pool of candidates.

What makes a good candidate experience?

If you want to make the candidate experience a positive one for applicants, there are a few simple things hiring managers and recruiters can do to make the process a positive experience for job seekers.

Improving candidate experienceis a goal for many recruiters and hiring managers, here are the first steps you can take towards doing so:

Take time to write accurate and engaging job postings

You want to attract the attention of the best candidates right off the bat, so make sure all the role’s desired qualifications, skills and responsibilities are listed clearly. As a bonus, you can also include some distinguishing benefits of working for the company.

Streamline the application process

Help candidates apply to open positions easily by using recruitment tools and user-friendly apps that keep all their documents and relevant experience in one place. An ATS used by 99% of Fortune 500 companies for a reason!

Be respectful, personable and professional

It’s important to make your candidates feel good during the recruitment process. This means that you must be friendly but also respectful of their time and professional throughout the process. During interviews focus on evaluating the candidate’s skills and fit for the role.

Offer timely and transparent feedback

If an unsuccessful candidate asks for feedback, provide them with concrete and fair reasons why in a reasonable amount of time. This is where an ATS comes in especially handy – you can set up automated triggers to send feedback and you can also use the comments and feedback added to the candidate cards.

Create a positive onboarding experience

Once your job offer has been accepted, provide your new member of staff with a comprehensive, welcoming and positive onboarding process so they can feel part of the team!

What makes a bad candidate experience?

One of the biggest complaints job seekers have is being ghosted by employers. This makes candidates feel rejected and ignored by a company-especially if they have already invested a lot of time and energy into the application process. Even a short, polite and timely email or phone call explaining that the candidate was not a good fit can go a long way in creating a positive candidate experience.

Asking unnecessary or personal questions about a candidate’s life or background is also a surefire way to create a bad candidate experience. During the interview process, it’s important to keep all questions relevant to the role and the candidate’s work experience. Another issue that candidates have is being unable to clearly navigate from the job board to the application. This could cause many great candidates to abandon their application before it’s even begun!

Negative candidate experiences can impact your company in a lot of ways. Firstly, people talk-to their friends, family and colleagues-about bad experiences, which may deter great candidates from applying for open roles in future.

Creating a positive, transparent and consistent candidate experience for job seekers should be an important process for all hiring managers and recruiters. In doing so you will attract greater talent, nurture great relationships with candidates and contribute to a strong employer brand.

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Marie Evart

Co-founder & Community Manager

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