In the competitive talent acquisition arena, mastering the candidate experience is pivotal. It goes beyond posting job openings and conducting interviews—it’s about creating an experience that provides applicants with a positive impression, turning them into advocates for your brand regardless of the outcome.
Let’s walk you through why candidate experience is important and how you can create a positive, memorable journey for every applicant.
What is Candidate Experience?
Candidate experience encompasses every interaction an individual has with your company during the hiring process. This includes everything from how your job advertisements are perceived, your application portal’s user-friendliness, your HR team’s communication style, and the overall transparency and atmosphere of the recruitment process.
Related article: Navigating Talent Acquisition: A Comprehensive Guide for Employers
Why Candidate Experience Matters
Candidate experience matters because it affects several aspects of an organization, including:
1. Employer Branding
A positive experience can turn candidates into brand ambassadors, regardless of whether they get the job. This is backed by an IBM study, which found that about 60 percent of candidates share their experiences with friends and family.¹ This word-of-mouth can significantly impact your ability to attract ideal candidates.
2. Future Application Decisions
IBM’s study also reveals that candidates who rate their experience highly are 38 percent more likely to accept a job offer.¹ In a competitive job market, a superior candidate experience can be a factor for top talent choosing between multiple offers. A smooth, respectful process can make your organization stand out.
3. Internal Employee Morale
A great candidate experience doesn’t just affect external perceptions; it also resonates with your current employees, who value and respect an organization that treats its candidates well.
4. Consumer Behavior
Virgin Media discovered that a bad candidate experience was costing them an estimated £4.4 million annually in lost revenues, as rejected candidates were also customers who chose to switch to competitors following their experience.² This demonstrates the broader impact of candidate experience on business outcomes.
5. Efficiency in Hiring
A streamlined, candidate-friendly hiring process can reduce the time-to-hire, making it a more efficient and pleasant experience for both the employer and the applicant.
How to Create a Positive Candidate Experience
Creating a positive candidate experience involves a series of strategic steps:
1. Developing a Robust Digital Presence
In today’s job market, where 71 percent of candidates research a company before applying, as highlighted by LinkedIn, your role as an employer extends beyond just listing job openings.³ Managing and cultivating an online presence and employer brand is imperative.
Candidates review the company’s website, social media profiles, and reviews on platforms like Glassdoor to gauge the organizational culture, values, and employee satisfaction. This digital first impression is often pivotal in attracting prospective applicants.
A digital footprint authentically represents a company’s ethos and work environment. Regularly update your social media with company news, achievements, and events that resonate with modern candidates’ values, such as diversity and sustainability. Engaging constructively with feedback on employer review sites demonstrates your commitment to a positive workplace culture.
2. Simplifying the Application Process
A streamlined and straightforward application process is more likely to attract and engage candidates positively. According to Career Builder, as referenced by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 40 percent of job seekers prefer simple and efficient applications, highlighting the importance of a streamlined process.⁴
To counter this, ensure your application process is straightforward, with clear instructions and immediate acknowledgment of application submissions.
3. Transparent Communication About Compensation
LinkedIn’s findings show that 61 percent of candidates prefer receiving compensation details upfront.³ Being open about compensation sets clear expectations, demonstrates your commitment to fairness, and enhances your reputation as an inclusive and socially responsible employer.
In some regions, such as certain states in the U.S., such as California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, Nevada, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington, disclosing salary information is a legal requirement.⁵
4. Maintaining Consistent Communication
Forty-eight percent of job seekers react positively when they get information about their interview beforehand.³ Keeping candidates informed about their application status and next steps, even though automated responses, is preferable to no communication at all.
5. Personalized Interactions
Value the uniqueness of candidates, recognizing their distinct qualities beyond their application. Personalize your communication and interactions with them. Referencing specific details from their resume or previous conversations during interviews demonstrates that you value them as unique contributors.
6. Respectful Interview Process
Train your interviewers to conduct respectful and engaging interviews. Ensure they are well-prepared, understand the role requirements, and respect the candidate’s time. Consider including a tour of the office or introducing them to potential teammates during the interview process.
7. Providing Feedback, Whether Positive or Negative
Providing feedback, especially after an interview, is highly appreciated by candidates. Even if it’s a rejection, constructive feedback can help them in their career journey and leave a positive impression of your company.
8. Fostering an Inclusive Environment
Demonstrating a commitment to diversity and inclusion can significantly impact candidate perception. A Glassdoor survey revealed that 76 percent of candidates consider workplace diversity necessary for employment opportunities.⁶
Accommodating candidates with special needs also shows your company’s dedication to equity. This includes writing inclusive job descriptions, using diverse interview panels, and ensuring that your recruitment process is free from bias, whether unconscious or otherwise.
9. Leveraging Employee Advocacy
Employees feel a sense of pride and ownership in contributing to the company’s reputation and growth. Encouraging employee advocacy involves actively promoting your current staff to share their positive experiences and insights about the company, both internally and externally.
This transforms employees into brand ambassadors whose authentic stories about the work culture, growth opportunities, and overall job satisfaction can wield considerable influence. When potential candidates hear firsthand accounts from existing employees, it adds credibility and appeals to the employer brand.
In essence, employee advocacy harnesses the power of personal testimonials to strengthen the employer brand in a relatable and authentic manner. This strategy helps attract top talent and enhances employee morale and engagement.
10. Fostering an Alumni Network for Future Opportunities
Establishing an alum network for former candidates and employees is a strategic way to cultivate lasting relationships with potential hires. This network serves as a reservoir of individuals already acquainted with the company culture and values, making them prime candidates for future opportunities.
Companies can leverage this pool by consistently engaging these individuals with updates, professional development opportunities, and networking events when new positions become available.
This simplifies the recruitment process and boosts employer branding, showcasing a dedication to long-term professional relationships and career growth beyond employment tenure. This approach acknowledges the value in every candidate’s interaction, transforming past applicants into valuable assets for the future.
11. Preparing Candidate Experience Survey
Getting feedback regularly is crucial for improving the candidate experience. Actively seek and analyze candidate feedback at different stages of the recruitment process. This helps you understand the strengths and weaknesses of your hiring practices from the candidate’s point of view.
The feedback can pinpoint areas for improvement, such as communication, interviews, application simplicity, and overall transparency. Using this information to make small, iterative changes ensures that your recruitment process stays candidate-centric, stays up-to-date, and evolves to meet the expectations of current and future candidates.
UNLOCK INCLUSIVE EXCELLENCE WITH GALT FOUNDATION
At GALT FOUNDATION, we are dedicated to helping employers like you access a diverse and uniquely skilled talent pool, no matter how differently abled they are. Our expertise in fostering inclusive workplaces allows you to embrace diversity in your hiring process, enriching your team with fresh perspectives and broadened skills.
We offer customized solutions and guidance to ensure that your hiring practices meet and exceed compliance standards, seamlessly integrating with your organization’s needs.
Feel free to reach out to us today and take a significant step towards enriching your workforce and redefining your workplace. Together, we can create an environment where every candidate finds a place to thrive, regardless of their abilities.
1 Zhang, Haiyan. “How people get hired for jobs can affect the bottom line” Business Insider, 26 July 2017, https://www.businessinsider.com/sc/ibm-brand-reputation-sales-hiring-process-hr-recruiters-2017-7?r=US&IR=T.
2 Steiner, Keenan. “Bad Candidate Experience Cost Virgin Media $5M Annually – Here is How They Turned That Around” LinkedIn, 15 Mar. 2017, https://www.linkedin.com/business/talent/blog/talent-acquisition/bad-candidate-experience-cost-virgin-media-5m-annually-and-how-they-turned-that-around.
3 Raposo, Devin. “9 Telling Candidate Experience Statistics That Can Help Refine Your Hiring Process.” LinkedIn, 21 Oct. 2021, www.linkedin.com/business/talent/blog/talent-acquisition/stats-key-to-providing-great-candidate-experience.
4 Zielinski, Dave. “Study: Most Job Seekers Abandon Online Job Applications.” SHRM, 8 Mar. 2016, www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/technology/pages/study-most-job-seekers-abandon-online-job-applications.aspx#:~:text=According%20to%20CareerBuilder%2C%.
5 Damante, Becca. Hoffman, Lauren and Khattar, Rose. “Quick Facts About State Salary Range Transparency Laws” American Progress, 9 Mar. 2023, https://www.americanprogress.org/article/quick-facts-about-state-salary-range-transparency-laws/.
6 “Diversity & Inclusion Workplace Survey” Glassdoor, 30 Sept. 2020, https://www.glassdoor.com/employers/blog/diversity-inclusion-workplace-survey/.