Oct 19, 2021 9:40:00 AM 11 min read

Why candidate experience is everything

Job searching is a difficult time for all job seekers, regardless of their socio-economic situation. It can be a mentally draining and uncertain time. The last thing a candidate needs is a negative experience throughout the process – which in turn affects both candidate and company.

In our previous 'Are you hiring? Become the Applicant’ blog, we mentioned the importance of the 'why 'when it comes to hiring. In other words, ensuring there is more motivation to join your company other than there being a ‘vacancy’. We also mentioned that not having a clear 'why' can lead to people rejecting offers (e.g. Lack of affiliation with a company and their employees, unclear work-life balance or career progression). However, another reason people can reject a job offer (or future offers) from your company, is if they have a bad candidate experience.

 

So, what is candidate experience? 

This refers to the process candidates go through from job advert, interview process all the way through to their employment at your company.

The candidate journey doesn’t end once the contract is signed... It's every day they are a part of or are affiliated to your company!

What is Candidate Experience diagram

When we think about the interview stage, the most common indicators of poor candidate experience are:

  • Not receiving feedback after interviews
  • Going through a long-winded interview process

Most candidates expect 2 or 3 stages in their application process. However, a recent study found that 64% of candidates find having 3 or more stages in your hiring process as unnecessary. Candidates believe this adds to a negative candidate experience (Fennell, 2021). Additionally, lack of feedback is unfortunately common with over 60% of candidates not receiving feedback after an interview (HCI, 2018). This may be a surprising statistic for some, especially when you factor in the resources (time, money, effort) which go into a candidate’s preparations for any one interview let alone the whole candidate application process.

More candidates are taking to social media and other online sources regarding their bad experience and this may deter others from applying for these specific roles themselves. Around 55% of applicants do not apply for roles if there are negative Glassdoor reviews from either interviewees or current employees (HCI, 2018). It can also affect whether they purchase from or endorse your company in the future (if you are a B2C company). However, Glassdoor found in a survey that over 62% of job seekers would consider applying if the company responded well to negative reviews (Glassdoor, 2021).

A 2021 Candidate Experience Report shows 58% of respondents have refused a job offer because of a bad candidate experience (Echevarria, 2020). Negative experiences can lead people to assume this is how employees are treated. In contrast, when candidates have a positive experience, IBM have found that this links to a 38% higher chance of accepting an offer (Zhang and Feinzig, 2017). This is most likely due to associating this with a positive work environment and that employees are treated fairly.

 

How can Talent Point help to transform your candidate experience?

We focus on ensuring candidates within the hiring process have the best possible experience. We prioritise frequent communication, keeping candidates up to date and making sure they are aware of their status throughout the process. This is a crucial part of us building teams from within your organisation.

Recently, our Talent Partner Oli Woolf received the following feedback from a candidate who was interviewing, for a role, through us and shared some feedback, directly on social media, to highlight this:

“Oli provided feedback at every step of the way and was very transparent with the Hiring Manager's requirements...He offered to provide feedback when they made a decision to advance me to the next round of interviews or not. I am posting this  (on social media) to highlight a genuinely positive (candidate) experience. I am not sure if I will proceed to the next round but I will forever be thankful for this no-pressure, no gotcha question experience.”

Together with our clients Hiring Managers, we establish clear outlines for roles, requirements and expectations. This way, candidates are fully aware of the process, what to expect in these roles, and have a clear idea of what these roles can offer them, including career progression, responsibilities or working patterns (amongst others).

Talent Point provides Interview Training to our client’s Hiring Managers. This training focuses on technical and soft skills to develop and improve all interviewers with proper interviewing techniques. This helps them understand the importance of a positive candidate experience. We also advocate for having standardised hiring processes. This means we can mitigate risks such as bias, subjective interviewing and long-winded processes. The longer-term of these ultimately highlights your company as one which does not focus on the candidates (and therefore its employees) experience. As a result, your company would not be able to hire in the essential skills and abilities needed to grow your company.

Below is some recent feedback given to Dan Wells, Director of People and Operations, who runs our Interview Training courses:

The training yesterday was fantastic. Dan is a superb teacher. Very friendly, confident and direct. It helps that the techniques are breathtakingly simple and easy to start using! Sometimes training feels like you're being taught clever concepts but they're hard to map to changes you can actually make.... I feel like I can actually give better interviews right away.”


If you’d like more information on our Interview Training, download our free Interviewing for Success guide

In summary, the top candidate experience tips provided by our Talent Partners:

  • Put yourself in the candidates’ shoes
  • Consider their availability when booking in interviews
  • Be clear about the role you are hiring in for and have a job description about what is expected in role
  • Prepare an agenda e.g. have some set topics/ themes you want to ask the candidate questions on
  • Ensure you can provide answers for questions the candidate may have, e.g. Company Culture, CSR initiatives etc
  • Create an even playing field for candidates, especially where you're asking each candidate the same questions
  • Always give feedback to candidates so they know their strengths and the things they need to improve upon
  • Remember interviews are a 2-way experience (consider what the applicant wants to get out of it as well as what you/your organisation wants to achieve)
  • Maintain candidate relationships as the candidate experience with your company is an ongoing one and candidates may be suitable for future role openings at your company


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