Why Candidate Experience Matters More than Ever


People define candidate experience in many ways. In short, it’s the collective results of all engagements and interactions that you have with candidates during the marketing and hiring process.

Many of these interactions are technology-driven – such as your career site, job postings, social media interactions and the like – while other interactions, such as interviews, are more personal.

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Regardless of the format, one theme unites all of these activities — communication. The best recruiters that I’ve worked with – both past and present — have always provided candidates with consistent communication — whether the news was good, bad or ugly.

Given the scope of these activities, imagine if just half of the candidates you interacted with remained interested in future opportunities at your company. If that were the case, do you think you would have an issue finding talent?  That’s the power of delivering a great candidate experience.

Let’s dig into some data that shows why the candidate experience is more important than ever.

Numbers Don’t Lie
No other organization is more focused on candidate experience than The Talent Board. Their primary mission is to facilitate the evolution of the employment candidate experience. Since 2011, this non-profit group organizes the CandE Awards and releases their findings in an annual report.

Their 2015 CandE Research Report found that:

  • 33% of candidates with a negative experience intended to share the news publically via social media
  • 41% of candidates who had a poor overall experience intended to take their loyalty elsewhere

Keep in mind that candidates will share their experiences regardless if they were good or bad.

In fact, in today’s connected world, candidate opinions are quickly disseminated and shared, primarily through online reviews. In this context, companies would be wise to manage online reviews  and proactively address negative online reviews. This engagement is the crux of a meaningful employer brand.

On the positive side, the CandE report found that of the candidates who had a positive candidate experience:

  • 62% will increase their relationship with a brands products and networks
  • 78% would refer someone in the future
  • 62% would apply again

Most significant were these findings:

  • 86% of candidates report that not receiving a basic application confirmation email creates a bad candidate experience
  • 22% of candidates who received an email said the communication was weak and inconsistent
  • 73% reported never having received a communication at all

Clearly, good communication is the driver of a positive candidate experience. In fact, according to the Talent Board survey, candidates rated “communication” as the number one way to engage talent.

What exactly are the characteristics of good communication as part of the candidate experience?

  • Your communications should instill trust between you and your candidates — be consistent and honest
  • Avoid making promises you can’t keep. Conversely, don’t dance around truths
  • Above all, be clear. Minimize extraneous words. Express gratitude for the candidates’ time and interest in your company

Remember — every interaction within the candidate experience will impact your company’s overall brand, favorably or not. A well-written confirmation email can help you build a community of people who remain interested in your company for years to come, regardless of the outcome of their job application. Tools such as Monster Talent CRM enable you to proactively connect with top talent with targeted messages and custom recruitment campaigns.

The All-Important Interview
If a great candidate experience is about good communication, the interview is a crucial opportunity.

Very often, as I sit in interviews, I can feel the interviewer forcing the candidate to sell themselves. This approach is both outdated and ineffective. The old “ask and tell” interview style doesn’t provide meaningful information to the candidate or the employer.

Interviewing is a two-way street; you have to sell as much as you tell. Focus instead on creating a solution-based conversation (or what some refer to as behavioral interview questions ) in which you present the problem and discuss the solution with the candidate.

The idea of a candidate experience isn’t necessarily new or even innovative. In fact, it’s been discussed and analyzed for years. Isn’t it time to take a closer look at how you can improve your own candidate experience?

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