What is Candidate Experience and why you should care?

Candidates see their recruitment experience as an indication of how you treat your employees. Improve your candidate experience to attract top talent.

Candidate Experience
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5
 Min read
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February 9, 2021

Companies are doing everything they can to ensure their employees are happy. But why not start before, when employees are still just applicants? Candidate experience is very much connected to your employer brand since over 75% of applicants say the experience during a recruitment process is an indicator of how a company treats its employees.

The question is legitimate and covers a new discipline in employee branding: candidate experience. Of course, there are significant differences between regular employees and candidates for a position, but the idea that companies should make efforts to treat candidates well is gaining traction.

In this article, we will present the concept of candidate experience and explain why it matters. By taking care of your candidates, you can make sure they share positive information about your company while also gaining a competitive edge.

Candidate experience defined

In a nutshell, candidate experience is what a job applicant experiences, from the initial application to the end of the process, whether positive or negative. It involves several steps:

  • looking at a job ad for a company on a general website
  • browsing the career page for open positions
  • application
  • confirmation that the application is received
  • interviews, cases, assessments, etc.
  • pre-screening
  • hiring
  • rejection
  • pre-boarding
  • onboarding

All written and verbal communications are part of the candidate experience, both their format and their content. The quality of these elements determines the level of satisfaction candidates will feel towards the recruitment process.

What constitutes a great candidate experience?

Candidate satisfaction is very subjective, but certain key elements improve the experience. According to our research and as addressed in our white paper, candidates identify these elements as being the most important:

  • Easy and seamless application process
  • Information about the actual functions of a role and the team
  • Access to clear expectations and instructions on the next steps
  • Access and adherence to a reasonable timeline
  • Transparent information about the end-to-end process and selection criteria
  • Relevant information, such as an agenda, to plan an interview
  • Clear directions to perform better during interviews or tests
  • Tailored and personal communications with a human tone, not robotic emails
  • An explanation of unfavorable decisions
  • Access to the recruiter’s contact information

To go above and beyond, companies can add an extraordinary element such as a “goodie bag” or a voucher to their shop after an interview. Candidates remember these small details and they usually help improve the experience, especially for unsuccessful candidates.

These measures show that you appreciate their effort and care about their success. They will also reduce the dropout rate among your candidates and ensure you get the right person for the job.

Adapt the candidate experience to your reality

These are a few examples of ways to make the application process more enjoyable for candidates. You can apply more based on your industry or your recruitment strategy. What matters is that you use them consistently throughout the journey and that you always put the candidate at the center.

Candidates will also compare you to your competitors, so try to find out what they do. When you do, take the necessary steps to rise above them.

Fine-tuning your recruitment journey and implementing some or all of the elements covered will lead to a great candidate experience.

Ways to improve candidate experience

Our research shows what candidates want above all is to know what to expect and receive transparent, personal information.

The experience is positive when the recruitment process is consistent and as described through every step. Candidates who know the expectations are much more likely to understand the reasons for an unfavourable outcome. A common source of frustration for candidates is not understanding why they were unsuccessful.

There are many ways to improve the candidate experience and they can vary based on your industry, company, or position advertised. A few common ways to provide a better candidate experience include:

  • no robot talk: deliver personal communications in a human tone
  • no vague information: give clear expectations from the start
  • don’t take forever: keep the recruitment process short
  • explain your decisions: provide reasons for rejection

You should care: candidates are ambassadors

So far, we’ve established that candidates deserve to have a positive experience, and we’ve covered ways to achieve that. But what’s in it for you?

We live in a world where most people like to share their experiences, especially the bad ones. This is not just true for visits to the restaurant. It’s true for job candidates as well. If a candidate has a poor recruitment experience with your company, they will likely share it. These bad reviews were costing Virgin £4.5M per year. They addressed their poor performance and managed to increase their NPS by 68 points!

But the opposite is also true, and that is why you should care. Candidates who have a positive recruitment experience can become ambassadors for your brand.

Your recruitment journey is like a peek into your company. If your candidate experience is excellent, people will think you likely treat your employees even better. Word will spread around and applicants will want to work for you. This can help you attract more talented candidates, which can have a positive financial outcome in the future.

Our studies show that satisfied candidates - even unsuccessful ones - are more likely to spread positive information, effectively becoming ambassadors for your brand. And if your candidates also become your customers, that will bring in more revenue.

CPS: measure candidate experience

Your candidate experience rating is critical. The score you get tells you the quality level of your recruitment process as determined by your candidates, the individuals who know it best. As a result, you should pay close attention to this metric.

Inspired by the customer net promoter score (NPS), we developed a candidate promoter score (CPS) to track our client’s rating. We use the CPS to rate our clients, track their progress, and provide benchmarking data.

The measure comes from surveys and feedback we gather at various points of the recruitment process. Written feedback is just as important as the rating as it can provide explicit comments on the experience and help clients fix issues and improve their recruitment strategy.

Get in touch with us and we will help you calculate your CPS and understand how you are performing in the underlying drivers!

Start making efforts and reaping the rewards today

As a company, you take care of your employees and your customers. You should start doing the same with your candidates.

Implementing a better candidate experience strategy can require significant efforts, but the benefits will be immediate.

Start by reviewing your communications to ensure they are in a human tone and provide clear, transparent information. Candidates should know exactly what to expect when you contact them and you should stick to what you say. Give them every opportunity to succeed and they will be satisfied.

We offer webinars on this topic. We also work directly with clients to help them set up their candidate experience strategy and improve their candidate promoter score (CPS). We aim to increase our clients’ CPS by 2-3 points in only a few months.

Get in touch with us to learn more and try our product!

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