The Importance of Candidate Experience

BY Nathan Daniels   |  

Brand image, attracting top talent, recruitment costs, and retaining employees… just a few of the things that rely heavily on candidate experience.


So, what exactly is Candidate Experience?


How candidates perceive and interact with every aspect of the hiring process from application to post start date and everything in between. Each step within the hiring process for your company is important for various reasons. The market is undeniably competitive, candidates now have plenty of choices as they’re likely interviewing and receiving offers from more than one company. Their decision-making process relies heavily on the candidate's perception of the company. Job-seekers want to know they're valued during the entire process, so each component is important including the job description, job advert, application process, screening methods, interview processes, candidate check-ins during and after, and feedback regardless of the outcome. Each step is an opportunity to showcase how the company cares about the needs of its candidates and values their time. 


Why is it important?


A good candidate experience is crucial to:

  • Attract and retain top talent.
  • Influence the candidate’s decision-making process in your favour. 
  • Give your company a competitive advantage.
  • Influence the way new employees work. 
  • With a clear and concise candidate journey, the time to hire will decrease therefore, so will cost.


There are so many sites to look up company reviews on, according to current studies, around 55% of candidates report reading company reviews prior to putting an application in, and 72% of candidates report sharing their negative experiences online to warn others. With others’ honest opinions easily accessible because of today’s current platforms, it’s important to protect the brand image by ensuring a positive experience (so candidates don’t have anything bad to say). These reviews also affect how customers/consumers perceive businesses overall as they are accessible to anyone with the internet, therefore this experience affects companies in more ways than one. 

What creates a negative candidate experience?


There are quite a few ways that can cause a poor experience… Let’s begin with the first thing candidates see… the job advert, it’s important the role requirements are properly assessed and then articulated on the advert. It’s also important that it doesn’t offer any false promises. This is a candidate's first indication of the role, if it doesn’t fit their expectations they are more likely to leave causing a high turnover rate and thus a higher cost for the company


Next, the interview processes… If the candidate doesn’t have a clear understanding of what the interview phases are, they are likely to feel unprepared and potentially even grow impatient causing them to pull out of the process entirely. Taking a moment to update the candidate on how the interview process will be handled including who the interviewer(s) will be and how many phases they can expect will make a big difference. 


Additionally, candidates can be put off by the process if there are no check-ins. Looking for a new role within itself is a stressful experience, but when the recruitment team are not checking-in to update the candidate it causes uncertainty and therefore even more stress.


If there is an overall lack of consistency throughout the process, significant time delays when responding, and no feedback provided candidates are going to be unsatisfied with their experience.  And the last thing a company wants is to deter candidates from accepting an offer or staying in a position after their start date.


So, how can you ensure your candidate experience is good?


A cohesive experience is massively important, ensuring the brand is portrayed the same way across the board throughout the entire journey is a huge benefit. 


Through our years of experience and expertise within the industry, we’ve found that communication is one of the most valued components of this process. It’s essential to consider the candidate in each aspect of the journey and continually communicate with them. As much as hiring managers appreciate regular touch points to know what’s going on, so do candidates.


To ensure the candidate's experience is the best it can be, it’s relevant to look at each point in their journey


  1. Job Description: This is where the advert would be derived from, a much more comprehensive list of duties, reporting lines, team detail and progression options.
  2. Job Advert: Ensure the job is properly assessed and relayed on the advert so that the candidate has a clear understanding of the role and isn’t surprised when actually starting.
  3. Application Process:  Ensure that putting in an application for the role is easy and not extremely time-consuming. The last thing a candidate wants is a long and daunting application process.
  4. Screening Methods: Use the same questions, tests, and methods across the board for each candidate. This is when having a single recruitment team becomes increasingly important, it ensures a uniform approach and allows the team to work together to eliminate any unconscious biases.
  5. Interview Processes: Have a clear interview structure than can be articulated to candidates so they know what they are in for, can come well-prepared and put their best self forward. Know ahead of time how many phases there will be for the role and what each phase will consist of. 
  6. Candidate Check-ins: It’s so important to be respectful of the candidate's time, as no one likes to be left waiting. Recruiters should check in with candidates during their interview process to keep them updated and after their start date to see how they are getting on. 
  7. Feedback: Regardless of if the candidate got the position or not, they should always receive feedback. This will either be to offer the role to selected candidates or will give unsuitable candidates an idea of why they weren’t chosen this time around. This will allow them to establish an idea of what they can work on and ultimately shows that you appreciate their time and effort during the process by letting them know how and why the decision was made.


Lastly, it’s important to understand that interviewing is a two-way process, while you are interviewing candidates they are deciding whether or not the company is a good fit for themselves. 


There is a large gap in employment that continues to increase with many companies finding it difficult to hire within the incredibly competitive market. It is evident that a candidate's journey and overall experience are important and should be a priority. 


Having a clear candidate journey that is consistent across the board makes a massive difference in the overall experience, as candidates having a similar experience with the company ensures there are no mixed reviews and the overall brand image is portrayed the same.



BACK TO NEWS Go to Next Blog