Candidate Experience: The New Watchword for Businesses Targeting Growth

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Life is relatively sweet for the job seeker in today’s job market. A record number of jobs are being created, and employers struggle to fill open positions at their companies. That means the pressure is on for talent acquisition leaders and their teams!

So how do you stand out among all the noise and convince candidates that your organization is the perfect workplace for them?

Close to 78% of candidates today say that the overall candidate experience they receive indicates how much a company values its people. Employers succeeding in this tough talent market already know that candidate experience needs to become a vital part of their overall hiring strategy. 

In this piece, we look at why candidate experience is so important and what recruitment leaders can do to furnish a positive one to attract and retain the right talent.

What Is Candidate Experience?

Candidate experience is nothing but the series of interactions that a candidate has with your company throughout the hiring process.

Your candidate experience can include (but isn’t limited to):

  • Your job advertisements
  • Your corporate career sites
  • Any communication from your applicant tracking system (ATS)
  • The job application and hiring process
  • Communication with HR leaders, company leaders, or other professionals on your team
  • Notifications about the job seeker’s application status
  • Candidate job offer or rejection letter

Candidate experience is crucial for businesses to attract, hire and retain the best talent. It defines how a job seeker feels about a potential employer based on the quality of interactions during the entire recruiting process.

Candidate experience essentially covers all touchpoints of a hiring process, including the application process, job search, interview scheduling, onboarding, and all communication along the way.

Why Does Candidate Experience Matter So Much for Business Growth?

A positive candidate experience can have numerous benefits when scaling up your team quickly and achieving growth.

For example, it can strengthen your brand, reduce time to hire and boost job offer acceptance.

It Strengthens Your Employer Brand

Candidate experience has a substantial impact on the reputation of your brand. How your existing and potential employees perceive your company largely depends on how you treat them.

Job seekers that face a negative experience with your company most likely won’t keep quiet about it, primarily if you function in an industry that’s got a tight professional network and where word travels fast. Nearly 7 in 10 candidates who have had a poor experience with a company shared that experience with their relatives, friends, and even online job forums.

A satisfied candidate will also refer their friends to work with you, even if you didn’t hire them. You can only achieve this type of loyalty by providing a good experience.

It Reduces Time-To-Hire and Cost-Per-Hire

According to one report, nearly 40% of candidates reject offers because another HR manager gave them an offer faster.

A positive candidate experience can significantly reduce the time-to-hire for each candidate, resulting in the cost-per-hire. This is especially true because furnishing a superior candidate experience will dramatically help you make a memorable first impression on top talent, which can then increase their desire to work for you.

When you have a fair idea of exactly what should happen at every step of your recruiting process and what qualified candidates are looking for during each of these stages, you won’t have to start from the bottom whenever a new role is filled.

It Boosts Your Company’s Acceptance Rates and Helps You Scale Faster

One research whitepaper found that job seekers satisfied with their candidate experiences have a nearly 38% greater probability of accepting a job offer

The experience someone has as a job seeker is associated with their willingness to recommend the company further. When job candidates are satisfied with their own experiences, they are more than twice as likely to recommend the company to others than those who were not happy (62% vs. 28%, as seen in the image below).

Source: IBM

Candidates who are interviewing with you are, in all likelihood, considering other job offers as well. They are a lot more open to relocating globally, and therefore they’re likely talking to businesses in more than one area. As a result, they evaluate you just as they’re evaluating other organizations.

A Few Common Causes of a Poor Candidate Experience 

Although every business is different and what isn’t working for one won’t necessarily work for the other, there are a few common issues that can lead to unsatisfactory candidate experience. These include:

  • Unclear hiring timelines
  • Irregular communication
  • Inefficient processes
  • Poor job descriptions
  • Complicated application process
  • Poor onboarding

Be Where Your Ideal Candidates Are

To get your ideal candidates interested in and interacting with your brand, you need to identify channels where they spend the majority of their time and strategize your recruiting efforts in a way that you can target them then and there.

For instance, if you’re planning to fill in entry-level positions at your company and know that students fresh out of college could be the best fits for these roles, you should be considering on-campus recruitment and mold your hiring strategy to appeal to fresh pass-outs.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to fill in more senior positions, one best practice would be joining various industry-specific associations and attending their events to hire people.

This step will help you identify the proper recruiting channels, but it will also help shorten the span of your recruitment process and make your hiring budget last longer.

Ensure a Hassle-Free Application Process

One poll found that close to 76% of job applicants want to know how long it will take to fill out a job application right before they start.

HR managers must avoid making candidates jump through hoops to apply for an open role with their company. Make things as hassle-free for them as possible.

For one, since many candidates have now started using their mobile phones to search for jobs and prefer to apply from their phones, try to make your advertisement and job description as mobile-friendly as possible. 

Set Clear Expectations by Defining the Interview Process Early On

The interview process lasts 23.8 days on average in the United States. In some industries, it can also take longer. However, that’s problematic for several reasons.

Having a lengthy interview process will cost your business money. But you also risk losing good candidates to other businesses who are faster and know what they want.

It is essential to let your candidates know about your structured interview process and how it will play out early on, so they know what to expect and don’t lose their cool at a later stage.

For instance, give them a heads up if you’re planning to use recorded audio responses and that the next step will be a virtual interview. Or, explain that there will be in-person interviews with the hiring managers if they clear the virtual interview. 

Because poor communication is one of the top reasons for candidate frustration, this is a crucial area to reflect upon and improve.

Keep Candidates Updated on Their Most Recent Status Within the Hiring Funnel

One infographic states that close to 69% of candidates want to see the HR department’s response time improved concerning a job posting. Communicating timelines is a more significant and more widespread problem in the talent acquisition niche than it looks.

Too often, job seekers have absolutely no idea how the hiring process will unfold. While you might consider one candidate to be the right fit, chances are they may have already dismissed your company just because they hadn’t heard from you in days.

Show your candidates you value their time by proactively communicating with them. If you realize that a candidate isn’t the right fit, be honest rather than stringing them along. If anything changes within your company and you have to wait before hiring, explain the situation to the candidate.

Learn More About Improving the Candidate Experience

Are you still not sure if you know how to provide a quality experience for your candidates?

To know more about what you can do to improve candidate experience and hire the right candidates within no time, get in touch with us at

Our team of talented HR professionals with proven expertise in everything recruiting will be happy to guide and help you foster an employee-centric, result-driven workplace environment in the long run.


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