Why candidate experience is more important than ever

Most business owners are well familiar with the ins and outs of customer experience. Customers who are treated well and enjoy interacting with your company are likely to be back again and spread the word. Even when you aren’t actually able to make a sale, giving a good experience to your customers improves your image and overtime translates into more direct sales and profit.

But customer experience isn’t everything – especially in 2019. Candidate experience has been climbing the list of priorities for every company in every industry.

Defining candidate experience

Candidate experience, like customer experience, is all about how individuals perceive your brand after interacting with it, in this case as candidates for open positions in your company.

Candidate experience is influenced in part by the overall perception of your brand. Your company may already be well known to a candidate or he may have heard about it from a friend or just seen an ad for your company online. These all create an impression, and may even be the reason a candidate wants to apply to work at your company in the first place.

But if they haven’t heard of your company before, candidate experience begins with that first interaction of an online job listing or personal recommendation all the way through to getting the job or being turned down. This process all put together defines the candidate experience and leaves him or her feel good about your organization – or not. But why does it matter anyway? You’re not making sales, and candidates either fit for the position or they don’t. If they applied, they obviously want to work for you already, so why worry about catering to their needs during the hiring process?

The evolution of candidate experience

The reasons for considering candidate experience have not always been the same. In fact, they are always in flux as the recruitment industry changes.

At the core of candidate experience, and one of the original motivations for giving it any thought, is the understanding that candidates are customers. People who apply to work for you are often motivated to do so because they’ve interacted with you and your product before, and they want to be a part of it in some way. A poor candidate experience is likely to lose you a loyal customer. Inversely, a good customer experience is likely to make a loyal customer out of someone who had never heard of you before.

Today, however, candidate experience isn’t just seen as a way of retaining and creating new customers while going through the recruitment process. Instead, it’s recognized as an integral part of the recruitment process itself. Why? Partly because the job market has changed and competition for talent is up because unemployment is down.

That means the best candidates for a position at your company are often already employed elsewhere. Not only are they already employed, they’re at least somewhat satisfied where they are. For recruiters and business owners, this means you have to attract talent to you with employer branding and then reduce barriers to apply for your company.

Simplify the process however you can and make things user friendly. This is relevant to the user interface on your website and throughout the application process. Carefully consider the words you use on your website and wanted ads to send the right messages and give the right impression.

You also want to give candidates an experience that highlights the unique opportunities you have to offer. To this end, and to others, availability and punctuality in your communications is important. Don’t leave candidates hanging without answers longer than you must and have some channel of communication through which they can ask questions and have them answered. Every candidate wants to see professionalism and integrity.

In this way, caring about candidate experience increases your chances of landing quality talent – even pulling them away from other jobs and opportunities. But it also creates a lasting impression that may make candidates spread the word, even if they didn’t get the position themselves.

If you’ve been looking for ways to increase the depth of your talent pool, this is the way to go. The benefits of creating a positive candidate experience are too great to ignore, especially when planning for the long-term future of your organization and especially in 2019.


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