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Candidate Experience – Why Does it Matter & How Can You Improve it?

Today, recruitment is more candidate-driven than salary-driven. To attract top-quality employees, you must focus on touching the right chords and engaging with them at every level. These days job seekers have higher expectations and base their decisions on a wide range of factors – including the impression you give in the recruitment process.

So, employers are required to pay close attention to their candidate experience strategy. As a recruiter, you should consider focusing on sourcing and retaining top talent to safeguard the company’s reputation. A candidate’s viewpoint and experience can have wide-ranging results.

Candidate Experience: What is it Really?

For a candidate, recruitment is a journey that starts when they decide to consider reaching out to a brand. They go through a series of touchpoints throughout the process. It leaves either a positive or a lasting negative influence.

These touchpoints start with your careers pages or job advertisements and go on to the application, screening, and interviews process, all the way to onboarding.

All these elements in their entirety make up what we call a candidate experience. 

At each level, they build an image of how your business functions, how you interact and communicate, and how thorough you are in living and portraying your brand culture. This journey plays a pivotal role in accepting any job offer.

However, candidate experience isn’t only limited to successful candidates but also to unsuccessful ones. Suppose a candidate has had a negative experience during the interview and feedback process. In that case, it can mar your reputation and shed a poor light on your organization.

In a nutshell, the significance of candidate experience is one of the leading factors every organization must consider daily.

Why does candidate experience matter?

Hiring is the prime concern of a business. 

For almost all mid to large businesses, recruitment is a gnawing challenge. Employers need to look for innovative ways to attract the right talent and ensure they do not ‘drop out’ during or after the process.

The best candidates consider more factors, apart from a job description and salary. They seek opportunities for development and growth. They wish to work for businesses with a clear and exemplary goal that fits their value system and offers the chance to leave an impact.

Candidate experience plays a vital role here. Clear messaging, emphasis on cultural fitment, and communication add value to a candidate’s experience.

Sourcing brilliant talent is a difficult task.

Finding the right talent becomes challenging if there has been a poor candidate experience in the past. There are an equal number of jobs in the market as skilled candidates. If anything goes amiss during the recruitment process or if there is a delay in the entire process, you are bound to get plenty of drop-outs. These candidates are studying you and will love working with you only if they receive a positive candidate experience. If not, they might not consider you again in the future.

To hire talented individuals and keep your organization’s image intact, you must practice presenting an excellent candidate experience to get the most talented people. You must be an excellent prospect to attract an excellent candidate.

Candidates share their experiences.

Our digital world has cleared the way for recruitment to become substantially candidate-driven. Several job seekers share their experiences online through websites like Glassdoor, Clutch, and even LinkedIn, thus significantly influencing other prospects.

You’re evaluating each candidate, but, in turn, they are also evaluating you. Suppose there have been red flags in the past regarding your recruitment process. In that case, your potential candidates may not apply for any position. Thus, making you lose out on a large chunk of talented and skilled individuals. Thus, candidate experience is vital for the success and growth of any organization.

It impacts the brand value.

The way your company conducts itself to a candidate throughout the recruitment process impacts their opinion about your company and perspective towards your brand.

Suppose a 100-target candidate pool leaves with a poor experience at your organization, during or after the recruitment process. In that case, you are losing out on immense potential. Additionally, reviews on social media may spread like wildfire if the candidates have not had a pleasant experience. It has the potential to drastically disparage your brand.

With a good candidate experience, the contrary is true. Even unsuccessful candidates can become the most incredible supporters of your brand if treated in a manner that outdoes their expectations. Thus, increasing your brand value.

Referral plays a crucial role.

Referrals can attract more quality candidates and more customers than you can imagine. Suppose a candidate has had a positive recruitment experience, irrespective of their selection. In that case, they are likely to endorse you in their circle of influence and among their peers.

This can further lead to positive brand publicity and impact the way your company is perceived in the market. Every channel plays a vital role in increasing your brand engagement and enhancing your bottom line. It’s probably time to boost your candidate experience to the next level.

How can you improve candidate experience?

This can further lead to positive brand publicity and impact the way your company is perceived in the market. Every channel plays a vital role in increasing your brand engagement and enhancing your bottom line. It’s probably time to boost your candidate experience to the next level.

With this in mind, there are a few ways you can make the right impression:

Create compelling content.

Instead of generic communication, ensure the brand tone of voice carries through to all candidate communication, from job advertisements to rejection letters. Every piece of information about your company must be communicated clearly, with the right intent. It multiplies your chances of attracting the right talent.

Smoothen the application process.

The best candidate experience begins with a smooth application process. Keep it concise and give clear instructions. Acknowledge every application and use names rather than reference numbers for a personal touch. All these minute touchpoints add to building a bigger and better candidate experience.

Communicate clearly and frequently.

Poor communication is one of the major causes of a bad candidate experience. Keep candidates aware of their progress till the end. If a candidate has not been shortlisted, inform them with a personalized email or a phone call. It may not be possible to do this in case of bulk requirements; however, the intent is to communicate they haven’t been shortlisted.

If you wish, you may hire a generalist or an intern to let the candidates know if they haven’t been shortlisted.

Set interview expectations.

Provide candidates with detailed information on the hiring tests’ recruitment process and let them know how interviews will be executed. Candidates respond much better if they know all the steps along the way in advance. It helps them prepare better and perform even better.

Leverage technology.

These days automating follow-up emails and simplifying your process is manageable with recruitment platforms and tools that employ innovative technology. Investing in the proper recruitment apps could help you. Additionally, update your ATS (application tracking system) with the candidate’s current status. It will help in sending automated emails.

Candidate experience speaks volumes.

Considering the above factors, it is clear that employers and businesses must develop a clear candidate experience strategy. It includes every factor through the journey of a candidate till they join your organization. As an employer of choice, you have a lot riding on your shoulder that needs constant unbiased attention. Thus, you must document and draft the communication at each level. Ensure your potential candidates feel good every time they recall you or walk-in for an interview.

‘A candidate is the true reflection of how, why, and what a company is doing or not doing right. Make the most of it.’

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