What is Candidate Experience when searching for a job?

Candidate Experience has a deceptively simple definition – it is essentially the perception of a company from a job applicant’s perspective, as a result of the recruitment process. The candidate experience is generally broken down to include every point of interaction between the company and the candidate during hiring.

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The most commonly agreed upon aspects of candidate experience include:

  • The job search (which includes the job advert and where they are found)
  • The job application
  • The communication between the company and applicant during the application process
  • The interview process
  • The post-interview process and candidate rejection

Successful candidate onboarding process

There are many other aspects, including feedback and analysis, that good candidate experiences factor in as well. There are also convincing arguments to suggest that candidate experience starts even before this, and continues for some time afterward.

Examples of this could include the fact candidates already know a brand, perhaps through friends or colleagues that work there, or because they use a brand’s products.

 Why Candidate Experience Matters

It’s easy to assume that once the interview process ends, and an applicant is unsuccessful, that’s the end of the story. That used to be the approach many businesses took, but these days there are quantifiable financial and pubic relations aspects to consider (there always were, of course, it’s just that we’re much more aware of them these days).

The case of Virgin Media’s appalling candidate experience is probably the most well known and oft-referenced real-world example. The then head of resourcing, Graeme Johnson, decided to dig into the candidate experience at Virgin, and it’s impacts. What he discovered was significant.

According to the company’s data, almost 20% of customers who cancelled their Virgin services were previously unsuccessful applicants. This ended up costing the company billions in lost revenue.

However, It’s not only about the potential loss of revenue. These days, candidates are quick to share a negative experience on social media, as well as with their immediate social circles. This can have a significant impact on any company’s PR and image.

Some research suggests that around 70% of jobseekers share negative recruitment experiences on sites like glass doors, as well as directly with other colleagues.

The fact is this: A bad recruitment experience can create a potential whirlwind of negative perception, and this itself can be costly to manage. Even disregarding any financial costs, rebuilding a damaged brand can be a major time investment.

Furthermore, in a time when skilled candidates are increasingly crucial, terrible candidate experience all but ensures a company will be repelling the very talent it wants to attract.

Creating a Lasting Positive Impression

As with many things in business, good candidate experience isn’t something that’s the remit of recruitment or HR alone. In order to work most effectively, it should be considered by every department of a company.

Every applicant, successful or not, is a potential customer for a business now or in the future, and every single person in a company has the power to either bolster or undermine the image and reputation of a brand in seconds these days.

It’s a concept that goes way beyond the hiring process alone, and this is fundamental to keep in mind when thinking about how an organisation can improve or create a candidate experience that leaves a lasting, good impression.

Interesting Related Article: “How to Write A Job Spec That Attracts Your Dream Candidate