The candidate experience is a popular topic among HR professionals today. As a result, various companies have been publishing articles about how HR professionals can strengthen their candidate experience. While most of these how-to articles are valuable, they are distracting recruiters from understanding and remembering what’s most important:
What is the candidate experience, and why does it really matter?
So, let’s cut through all the noise and get back to the basics. Because after all, why should you strengthen your candidate experience unless you know exactly how it will benefit you?
What is the candidate experience?
The candidate experience is the series of interactions that a job seeker has with your company throughout the recruiting process. These interactions include any communication that a candidate receives from your brand messaging, software systems and/or employees.
Based on that definition, your candidate experience consists of (but is not limited to):
- Your corporate career site
- Your job advertisements
- The online job application process
- Any communication from your applicant tracking system
- Your interview process
- Communication with HR professionals, team members and leadership
- Notifications about the candidate’s application status
- Candidate rejection letter or job offer
What does a positive candidate experience look like?
In general, a positive candidate experience offers clear, honest and consistent communication. When you effectively communicate with candidates throughout each step of your recruiting process, they are considerably more likely to have a positive experience with your company.
More specifically, a positive candidate experience usually:
- Sets realistic expectations for the job and work environment
- Communicates your employee value proposition
- Gives the candidate all of the employment details and resources they need
- Offers an easy and mobile-friendly apply process
- Treats candidates with respect at all stages
- Provides a pleasant and seamless interview experience
- Smoothly transitions selected job applicants into new employees
- Maintains a gentle, respectful process for rejecting job applicants
- Gives new employees everything they need to succeed in their role (e.g. proper training)
What are the benefits of providing a positive candidate experience?
Providing a positive candidate experience can improve your recruiting results in various ways. When you strengthen your candidate experience, here are a few things that will happen:
1. You will attract more applicants
If your application process is short and simple, more job seekers will finish applying to your jobs. In fact, Appcast found that if you reduce the length of your application process to five minutes or less, you can boost your application conversion rates by up to 365 percent. Our data also shows that a mobile-optimized career site can help you attract more mobile applicants.
2. You can compete for top talent
If you streamline your candidate experience, you may be able to win over the best job seekers before your competitors do. According to Top Echelon Network, 40 percent of candidates reject offers because another employer gave them an offer faster. Providing a superior candidate experience will also help you make a great first impression on top talent, which can increase their desire to work for you.
3. Your quality of hire will improve
Your candidate experience is more than just a part of the recruiting process; it’s also a sales tool that can help you win over top talent. American International Group reports that when employers strengthen their communication with candidates, their quality of hire improves. By giving candidates what they want and need throughout the hiring process, you motivate even the best ones to accept your job offers.
4. You will increase brand awareness
When you offer an exceptional candidate experience, job seekers talk about it with others and write about it online. This generates positive awareness for both your employer and consumer brand, which can lead to more job applicants and even more customers. In fact, Software Advice found that 71 percent of candidates are more likely to buy from a company that treated them with respect throughout the recruiting process.
So keep in mind that your candidate experience affects more than just your applicants. It also plays a significant role in your recruiting results, and your business as a whole. That means if you’re offering a poor candidate experience, it’s hindering you and your organization. However, if you evaluate your candidate experience and find ways to strengthen it, you can reap the various rewards that come along with providing a positive candidate experience.
If you're ready to start improving your candidate experience, read 3 Tips for a Winning Candidate Experience.