In a candidate-driven market, how does the candidate experience help you hold the steering wheel?

In a candidate-driven market, how does the candidate experience help you hold the steering wheel_

The hiring process can take a long time. When it comes to recruitment, time is a valuable resource that sometimes we don’t have. 

The job of the recruiter is to make sure that applicants are guided throughout the process. To gain a better understanding of what our candidates expect during the recruitment process, we asked them what would motivate them to recommend a company’s recruitment process to a friend or family member, and 45% of them said “Quick and regular feedback” in comparison to other factors such as – personable approach, advice given during the process and others. 

This reflects how much people care about their candidate experience, and how a personalized process and fast feedback are at the core of the applicant’s experience. This often leads candidates to base their decision of going forward with a company on the candidate experience. According to Recruiting Brief, around 80% of respondents say that a positive or negative experience may cause candidates to change their minds about a role or a business. In another survey by CarrerPlug, 58% of jobseekers refused a job offer because of a poor experience.

But what is the candidate experience? In a nutshell, this is what the applicants feel and experience during a recruitment process based on all the interactions they have with the recruiter and the company. It can also be defined as a perception of the company and its internal processes. In a survey by Career Builder, 78% of those interviewed say that the overall experience they receive is an indicator of how a business values its staff.

For the first time in decades, we have evolved into a candidate-driven market, so it’s not surprising that in 2022 this trend of having a positive and proactive candidate experience continues to increase. The power is now in the candidate’s hands because with the amount of information available, most of the candidates take a look at the employer brand before applying, they go through the company website and social media platforms first to learn more about the company. With this, the applicant goes into a recruitment process with a certain expectation, and now it’s up to you as a company to live up to that and make sure that your brand and values are reflected throughout the process. 

Now you’re probably wondering how a bad or negative candidate experience can affect your business, here are a few of the consequences: 

  • You could get ghosted by the candidate. Ghosting is a term used to “describe when a person abruptly cuts off all contact and seems to vanish from the face of the earth with no explanation”. In a recent survey done by Robert Half, among some of the specific reasons that professionals have ghosted a potential employer, 33% of them dropped off a process because “The interview process was poor”. Lately, ghosting has been a rising phenomenon, in 2021 28% of workers said that they’d ghost an employer – compared to 19% two years before.
  • Brand image and employer brand are related. Candidate experience has an important impact on how external candidates see your company and build a brand opinion. In fact, negative candidate reviews define your employer brand, more and more job seekers give up their interest in an enterprise after reading negative comments. According to LinkedIn, around 60% of job seekers have had a poor candidate experience, and 72% have shared their experience on online employer review sites such as
  • Brand loyalty – candidates are also customers of the company. The candidate may have known your company before applying. They could have been your customers, they could have seen your ads, or they might have heard some interesting stories from your employees through social media. Virgin Media decided to calculate the value of a bad candidate experience and measure how this affects the Virgin Media business. They discovered a lost revenue of £4.4m per year due to a poor recruitment experience in the talent acquisition. Among candidates, thousands of them were also customers. This shows how important it is to be empathetic and treat them as you would like to be treated, and even more so,  as your clients.
  • Network sharing. A study found that almost 69% of candidates would consider sharing a negative experience with their friends and network. A candidate who is satisfied tells 3 times as many people, but what about unhappy candidates? A candidate who is disappointed by a candidate’s experience tells 9 people around him/her, which is 3 times more than when he/she is satisfied.

The candidate’s experience may change mentalities for better or for worse. And it’s important to remember that this is an opportunity given to improve your brand image. Here are some strategies you can use to be unique and do things differently. Let the candidate remember this unique experience they had with you, so they can apply all over again and recommend your job position and company. You can build a strategy for each step of the process: 

The first contact: Don’t forget first impressions last. Save your time and your candidate’s time. Top talent stays on the market for only 10 days.  Be as transparent as possible when writing job descriptions, improve your user experience through your career website, make it easy for people to apply.  When approaching or sourcing people, use personalized templates, make the difference to catch the attention by using personal facts such as personal projects, show the potential candidate that you took time to go through their profile.

The Interviewing phase: You need to be as impartial as possible when identifying your selection criteria. You can use the funnel method to structure your interview in the best way – we’re writing an article soon about this part. But bear in mind, don’t let your candidate wait, give timelines and stick to them. Prepare your questions in advance, make your interviews short, always make sure the candidate feels comfortable and able to ask questions so they can learn about the role and your company culture.  

The application-hiring process: To boost your candidate experience, always give follow-up on the hiring process to the candidates, giving them details on how their application is progressing. That shows interest, and you make sure they are engaged during the whole process. 81% of applicants state that the most important thing that would highly improve their overall experience, is to continually have updates on progress.

Acceptance or rejection: For acceptance, announcing good news is always an easy task, but rejecting is harder. For that, you can use the scenario method. Use a scenario to build a personalized message, remember, most of the candidates would rather have feedback than no answer at all. For example, if the candidate has potential but is not a good fit for a position, let them know. Or, your candidate did not succeed in their interview, help them improve, give them advice and allow them to be at their best for future interviews. If you have been in ongoing interviews and conversations with a candidate and have to give negative feedback like a rejection, make it personal and do it verbally. This will only take 5-10 minutes of your day and will have a timeless impact on the candidate experience. 

More tips: 

  • Send surveys after each step of the process – some ATS will allow you to automatize it.
  • Encourage candidates to keep in touch, and maintain contact with them. 
  • Create recruitment content to engage your community on social media. 

Now, it has become one of a recruiter’s duties to put the effort into the candidate experience during a hiring process, even candidates that are going to be rejected. The way you treat applicants directly impacts you as an employer, for better or for worse. Put yourself in their shoes, treat your candidates the way you would want to be treated, and drive them towards a positive candidate experience that will impact how many candidates and potential customers your company and business can attract in the future.   

Get in touch with me via LinkedIn 

stay connected