When you think of the candidate experience, what comes to mind? Does it include accurate job descriptions? An easy application process? Easy to schedule interviews? What about prompt feedback and communication at each stage of the process?
Really, the candidate experience includes all the feelings, impressions, interactions, and activities a job seeker encounters and considers along their candidate journey. It’s how a candidates feels they’ve been treated throughout the recruitment process, and how that treatment makes them feel about your organization. Whether positive or negative, they all contribute to the candidate experience.
Think of the candidate experience as the interaction between a candidate and your employer brand. Anytime a potential candidate visits your website, reads content, applies to a job, texts with a recruiter, or interacts with a chatbot, they are engaging with your company. And your goal is to create an optimized, engaging experience to quickly recruit and hire the best talent for your organization.
How Do You Provide an Outstanding Candidate Experience?
A great candidate experience means providing active and passive job seekers with engaging content, a fast application process, streamlined communications, consumer-grade technologies to quickly answer questions, and prompt feedback throughout their experiences. Top candidate experiences include:
- Consistent employer brand messages
- Tailored content and experiences
- Personalized job recommendations
- Mobile-optimized career sites
- Easy job application process
- Easy to schedule interviews
- Automated messaging with recruiters
- Artificial intelligence and chatbots
- Feedback loops at each hiring stage
- Easy to find information
Whether it’s making them feel valued during the application process, providing helpful feedback or communication, or treating them with professionalism and respect after their candidacy has ended, the candidate experience encompasses every interaction a candidate has with an employer.
Why Is Candidate Experience Important?
Candidate experience matters to the success of your organization more than you think. Providing a quality candidate experience allows you to find and recruit top quality talent to impact the success of your business. A solid candidate experience also ensures you can build a robust talent pipeline and employer brand that will strengthen your reputation relative to competitors.
But the problem in today’s recruiting climate is that positive candidate experiences are declining, and candidate resentment is on the rise, spiking 75% in 2021 to more than 14% of candidates. According to Talent Board, the decline of positive candidate experiences “impacts whether or not candidates are willing to apply, refer others, be a brand advocate, and/or make purchases from a consumer-based business.” The impact of candidates having negative experiences not only influences your ability to attract top talent, but can also leave a lasting effect when it comes to wanting to spend money at your organization, too.
So when it comes to achieving better hires, how can you leverage the candidate experience to positively impact your business outcomes? Let’s look at three ways here:
#1: A Great Candidate Experience Helps Build a More Robust Applicant Funnel
Companies typically spend significant time promoting their brand in the marketplace. But if they fail to pay the same attention to the candidate experience, they can erode their ability to attract new talent to the business and convert them to the application stage. Yet with strong employer brand messaging, personalized job recommendations, tailored content, and automated or intelligent messaging, companies can successfully broaden their talent pipeline and better convert candidates into applicants.
In fact, one study from Appcast found an easy to apply process that was five minutes or less enabled companies to increase applications rates by up to 365%. Think if you had this large of increase across your open positions the difference it could make in quickly filling open positions. By acknowledging candidates, companies benefit from an engaged talent pool, thus increasing the number of opportunities for making a great hire. Simply, delivering a positive candidate experience that empowers candidates and makes them feel confident in applying to an open position is a major step in delivering better recruiting results for your business.
#2: A Positive Candidate Experience Enhances Your Employer Brand Presence
Providing a great candidate experience is not that difficult. And that’s why job seekers get so frustrated if they encounter experiences that make them feel unappreciated or robotic. No one wants to spend an hour filling out the same information for an application that was already in their resume to begin with. With the intelligent talent acquisition technology available today, there is no excuse for employers to provide a poor candidate experience. Even companies that receive hundreds of applications per opening can use simple technology solutions to ensure every applicant feels heard.
Remember, when job seekers have a bad experience, they are likely to tell others. According to research from Talent Board, 33 percent of job seekers who have a bad candidate experience will post about it online, where it may come up in search results. However, SHRM reports when you effectively communicate with candidates throughout each step of the hiring process, they’re far more likely to report a positive experience with your company.
Any time your brand interacts with the public, whether with consumers, clients or job seekers, it should seek to provide a positive experience. The Content Marketing Institute reported that 89 percent of B2B marketers believe that brand awareness is more important than sales and lead generation. In short, a poor candidate experience harms the organization by damaging its brand and resulting in lower-quality hires.
#3: A Solid Candidate Experience Helps Improve Your Quality of Hire
So much of the candidate experience comes down one thing — candidates want to be valued. It’s likely that the individuals applying to your organization already feel frustrated, anxious, or stressed. Remember, your candidate experience is not just a process in itself. It is a mechanism for enhancing your relationship with job seekers and also influencing the quality of talent that is coming into your organization.
Engaged candidates also make better hires who will stay longer in your company. One study even suggests more than 9 in 10 senior HR professionals agree that quality of candidate experience directly impacts quality of hire. And the best way to engage them is ensuring they have a positive impression and experience from first look to first day. This is particularly important based on the current labor market with 1 in 3 hires leaving in their first 90 days after joining a company.
Remember, when you communicate consistently, provide a streamlined process, and give candidates what they want and need, you will likely motivate top talent to accept your job offer even before a competitor has a chance to extend one. Simply said, the candidate experience is essential to attracting and hiring better quality talent, and it is within your control to deliver.
Ready to Improve Your Candidate Experience?
If you’re looking to improve your candidate experience, the key is to always keep the candidate at the heart of everything you do. By nurturing each individual and prioritizing candidate engagement at every step of their journey, you’ll be well on your way to building stronger relationships with top talent that will deliver results for your business.
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