What is the “Candidate Experience” — and Does it Really Matter?

Posted by Mark Jackson on Tue, Nov, 13, 2018 @ 08:11 AM


Business people waiting to be called into interview at the office

Candidate Experience

There’s a lot of talk currently about the importance of the candidate experienceJust what is the candidate experience? Does it matter?  And if so, how can you make it better?


What is it?

Not surprisingly, the term “candidate experience” refers to the overall experience employment candidates have with a potential employer. It includes the candidates’ impressions and perceptions of a company’s hiring process including the job application, screening methods, communications, and the interview.


Does it Matter?

In a word — yes. The candidate experience matters enough that there's even an annual Candidate Experience conference to recognize leaders in this art. Here are just four of many reasons why companies should take the candidate experience seriously.


  1. Bad news spreads

Applicants who have a bad experience with a company often don’t go silently back into the job market — they spread the bad word. A recent industry survey found that 33% of candidates with a negative experience intended to share the news publicly through social media.


  1. Candidates are also customers

Alienate a candidate and it might dip into your profits. A recent Talent Board survey found that just under 40% of those with a positive candidate experience said they felt more inclined to buy from the company, regardless of whether they were actually hired. Conversely, 30% of those with a negative experience said they would now purchase fewer of the business’s goods or services.


  1. The good ones might get away

A positive candidate experience leads to better hiring. It’s that simple. Need evidence? Organizations that invest in a strong candidate experience improve their quality of hires by 70%. And, 90% of candidates claim that the candidate experience they receive can change their minds about a role or company.


  1. It will cost you real money

A bad candidate experience can be costly enough that there’s a  Candidate Experience Resentment Calculator to demonstrate potential lost revenue stemming from bad candidate experiences.


How Can You Improve It?

Improving the candidate experience is not overly difficult, but it does take planning, time, and effort. Here are three area to consider:


  1. Recruitment Marketing

    Yes, there’s really such a thing as recruitment marketing. Really, it’s just a formal term for the strategies and tactics a firm uses to find, attract, engage, and nurture talent during the pre-application or recruitment phase. Recruitment marketing might take the form of employer branding, educational and promotional videos, or career sites.


    The best-executed recruitment marketing involves a company’s marketing department — an Aberdeen study found that best-in-class companies are 68% more likely than all others to involve the marketing department in employment advertising tactics. The same study found that recruitment marketing reduced the overall cost of the hiring process by 20% or more for 24% of companies.


    1. Recruitment Messaging

    Today’s workforce includes three generations — and to reach each of them, companies need messaging that resonates with the intended audience. Take the time to hone your company’s recruiting message — it should reflect your brand and speak to the needs and interests of your candidate pool. The right messaging works — Johnson & Johnson reworked their recruitment messaging to be highly specific and saw their talent pool improve by 54% and new hire turnover drop by 23%.


    1. Conversational Recruiting

    Here’s another trendy term — conversational recruiting. Conversational recruiting emphasizes two-way communications throughout the recruiting process — and we’re not just talking phone chats here. Candidates expect to engage potential employers from where they live – which often means from their mobile devices, and meaningful “conversations” might take the form of text, video screening, and candidate surveys to recruit for talent and have meaningful interactions along the way.


    The candidate experience is a critical component in a company’s overall recruiting strategy. A good candidate experience results in a number of tangible benefits, while a poor candidate experience can diminish a company’s chances at hiring and retaining top talent. We’ve got additional ideas about how you can improve your company’s candidate experience – contact us to start the conversation. You can also check out our Best Practices Guide - 4 Key Steps to Successful Talent Acquisition

Tags: Sustainable Recruiting, employment branding, recruiting software, recruiting strategy, HR, recruiting, talent acquisition, hiring manager, ATS, Hiring, candidate experience, employer brand, employee engagement, applicant experience, applicant management

Don’t Forget the Hiring Managers - Hiring and Training the Best

Posted by Sean Pomeroy on Wed, Jun, 17, 2015 @ 07:06 AM


We spend so much time thinking about the candidate and how to hire them; what about the person who hires all of the candidates? How do we hire and train these personnel? They certainly don’t poof into their profession. While it may be commonplace to train or hire managers, you can’t forget the qualities they’ll need to hire team members. Here are the qualities recruiters should look for when hiring a new hiring manager and ways to train them to be effective for your company.

Be a warm welcome

A hiring manager represents the face of the company alongside the recruiter since they are among the first handfuls of welcomes and assist with the first impression of the employer brand. While 46% of job seekers look at company reviews before even speaking with a recruiter or hiring manager, they are often the first to interact with the candidates. Job seekers can find this information on your website or social pages, but your hiring managers carry that brand through the hiring process.

Tweet This: When was the last time you read your own reviews? 46% of job seekers read them while searching!

If you’re looking for a hiring manager and you have disengaged characteristics such as a lack of enthusiasm or complacency you’ll portray that to the candidates, which does not support the culture the organization has tried to create. Instead, be eager and responsible during the hiring process, and you’ll likely find a hiring manager that will exemplify the same behavior.

Establish employer branding and candidate experience

The corporate behemoth, Google, is accustomed to what an “excellent candidate experience” means. A majority (80%) of the candidates they reject still recommend friends to apply for the company. Senior Vice President of People Operations at Google, Laszlo Bock (@LaszloBock2718) said:

“You want them to fall in love with you. Really. You want them to have a great experience, have their concerns addressed, and come away feeling like they just had the best day of their lives.”

Tweet This: Even rejected candidates refer friends to Google's team. What's their secret?

Pass this same mentality onto your new hiring manager; they will practice the same behavior when they guide candidates through the hiring process. Create an enjoyable candidate experience by:

  • Communicating: technology makes it easy to communicate with candidates-- use it to your advantage by reaching out and thanking your candidates for entering the hiring process with your organization.

  • Putting yourself in their shoes: Think about the worst job interview you’ve ever experienced; think of how awful it would be to experience that again. Treat your candidates the way you’d like to be treated so they can emulate those while hiring for your company. Of the organizations who prioritize candidate experience, 26% of them rate their talent acquisition as highly effective.

  • Evaluating and presenting expectations: 27% of candidates who had a poor experience with an organization actively discourage colleagues from applying. Be personable with your candidates by explaining your reach-out process. Give a time range of when they will be contacted (regardless if they made the cut or not) so they’re not left hanging.

Know what you want

A hiring manager must fully understand what kind of representatives their company needs for success. Enterprise IG conducted a study that found 70% of customers’ brand perception comes from conversations with employees. If you don’t communicate with your candidates and employees what they need to promote, your company could take the backlash. Harvard Business Review also discovered companies excelling in consistent messaging are increasing revenue growth by 10-15%. Effective brand communication will help them better communicate to candidates in their future position as the hiring manager what the company stands for because they understand the brand and mission statement fully.  

Tweet This: What does it take to hire a quality hiring manager?

Raise brand awareness before the hiring process even begins. Give your audience the resources to click into your brand and gain awareness on social mediums. 61% of professionals with social media use it for business at least once a week. Promote your company culture, mission and work expectations to attract the hiring managers your company desires. By aligning your work objectives, you can attract the next best group of hiring managers for future success in better hiring.


Don't forget to look beyond the recruiting process. You want your employees to love you the whole way through! Tap into our Cyber Train free demo.

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Tags: applicant management, best candidates

Quantity vs. Quality: The Group and the Panel Interview

Posted by Kimber Crumlish on Wed, Jan, 28, 2015 @ 09:01 AM

Looking ahead for what the "Next Big Thing" in hiring will be, we should consider what this year’s recruiters have at their disposal. More specifically, 63% of recruiters will have a higher hiring volume in 2015 (up from 43% in 2013), and 46% of them will have a larger hiring budget. Recruiters will have more people to hire, a higher volume of candidates to hire from, and more resources to work with.


How do you deal with the increase in volume? How do you adapt the growing number of candidates? How do you make the most of your newly-found recruiting funds?

One area for you to improve is the interview. In the last few years, it took employers 71% longer to secure a new hire and to conduct more interviews for each successful hire. Candidates are finding it harder in the process as well, with 52% of them saying the job interview process is more difficult now than it was five years ago.

Tweet This: 52% of candidates say the job interview process is more difficult now than it was five years ago.

So how should you deal with your hiring difficulties while making the process easier on the candidates? Well, it depends on your situation.

When You’re Overwhelmed: The Group Interview

If you need to fill multiple positions and have too many applicants to fill them, a group interview could be your best bet. Managers, as well as recruiting staff, are more willing to conduct a single one-hour interview than conducting several one-on-ones with candidates that may not even want the job or may not be qualified. If you only need to conduct one (or, depending on the volume of candidates you may have, two or three) interview, chances are you’ll be more focused on the task, asking the right questions, and have the energy to not zone out while a candidate is speaking.

The group interview also has a way of separating the wheat from the chaff. In a group setting, a good candidate stands out by being relatable, being personable and overall being attentive throughout the process. If they’re lively during the interview process, it shows they want the job. Those who don’t exhibit much enthusiasm in this group setting may not be as interested in the job.

Introverts might be wary of this group interview, since louder candidates can dominate the process. But if you’re in a skills-based industry, try adding a training exercise that candidates can complete alone or with a group. This will show you who can work with a team and produce results, and the introverts in the group will feel more confident when presented with the opportunity to prove themselves.

When You Need to Nail It: The Panel Interview

Maybe you don’t have a plethora of new hires, and have the time and resources to dedicate if it meant getting the right hire, such as in a high-level or executive position. In these cases, you’re going to get the best possible interview experience from a panel interview. A white paper from the revenue consulting firm Gendreau Group found panel interview to go far beyond any interview process when it came to nabbing the best hires:

"Based on our 25+ years of hiring, managing, and consulting experience, we have found that organizations that use a team approach to interviewing and candidate selection tend to make much smarter hiring decisions than when decisions are made by individual managers based on one-on-one interviews.”

A panel interview, according to Adler Group CEO Lou Adler, eliminates the biases of the individual interview, since one superficial feature of a candidate that could favorably sway one interviewer could sway another against the candidate. This leads to a larger emphasis on performance, leading to a 20-30% increase in interview accuracy. If you’re looking for the absolutely best person for the job, having a more accurate interview is invaluable.

2015 is already looking like a busy year for recruiters, and with more funds and candidates at their disposal, the tried-and-true group and panel interviews could prove some of the most valuable assets in a recruiter's toolbox.


Tags: candidate experience, applicant management

3 Ways an ATS Will Change Your Recruiting Department

Posted by Mary Sue McClintock on Tue, Jun, 03, 2014 @ 10:06 AM


Called an Applicant Tracking System, but oh so much more to the recruiters who have come to know and love this software. Once known for being a luxury that only the larger companies could afford, ATSs are quickly becoming the Swiss Army Knife of tools in recruiting and HR departments of all sizes, in every industry. As the tech has gotten more user-friendly, scalable and cost effective, everyone is getting ahold of an ATS.

Check out what recruiters are experiencing when they ditch the spreadsheets and start using the right Applicant Tracking Software.

You can now focus on the people matters in recruiting and hiring.

For a long time, overtaxed recruiters and HR professionals have been forced to focus on the paperwork, compliance demands and the overall clerical work that goes into enrolling a new hire. This leaves little time to onboard properly, gather feedback from the candidate or help the new employee adapt socially to their new work environment.

A recent study revealed that of 20,000 new hires, nearly half of them (46%) failed within a year and a half. Of those new hires that failed, 89% of the times it was for attitudinal reasons, not lack of necessary skills.

Recruiters everywhere are realizing the importance of a proper cultural and attitudinal fit, over the traditional emphasis on skill or experience. When recruiters don’t have to micromanage every step of the documentation and compliance process, they can work towards ensuring that proper fit. This has been shown to increase retention rates, employee engagement levels and overall productivity.

Organization, finally!

When new users finally get to dive into Cyber Recruiter, they realize very quickly that this tech does so much more than parse and organize information from job applications and resumes. Hiring managers and recruiters can create requisitions effortlessly with templates, or from scratch. They can also review, share and score an applicant through an internal mailing system on the platform.

Once your team decides on a new hire, you can send the approval to the candidate through the platform, with all necessary new hire documents. No more volleying emails back and forth. Read more on our blog about Recruiting Software and Email Hell.

Offer a better candidate experience.

If your hiring process is a mess on the back end, it’s a mess on the candidate end as well. Disorganization and undefined processes will lead to a lengthy hiring process, poor communication with the candidate and even multiple rounds of interviews that are very often, completely unnecessary.

Candidates don’t have to stick around while you get it together. Furthermore, the hiring process is where the new employee starts to form their opinion of the entire organization. They want speed, communication and efficiency. HR pro and founder of popular HR and Recruiting blog site, Blogging4Jobs, said:

“The saying, Candidates are Customers too, should be hung over every wall of Human Resources departments across the country. Sometimes we forget that each candidate that goes through the HR department will most likely influence a future purchasing decision of your product/service.”

A good ATS will take most new users by surprise, as they do more than their name would suggest, and this is just a taste. ATS users experience improved scheduling, seamless onboarding and much more. Is your team ready to experience life with an ATS, or are you looking to improve your recruiting technology? We want to talk with you about it! Or if you want to check things out on your own first, here is a resources page to get you started.

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Tags: applicant management, applicant experience, Applicant tracking software

Zappos Raises Their Quitting Bonuses?

Posted by Maren Hogan on Thu, Aug, 08, 2013 @ 10:08 AM

small__1454922072That’s right, you read that correctly, Zappos CEO Tony Hseich, offers new hires $2,000, plus payment for work done, in the first week of employment if the employee quits. Sounds crazy right? Well as it turns out, only 2-3% of people take the offer. This bonus has been raised by $1,000 since its advent.

Ending a job on Friday and starting at Zappos on a Monday would be ideal for candidates, but that really isn’t how it usually goes. Most people that start new positions have had a lapse in employment. Even if that lapse was short, the cost of living keeps adding up, and the checks aren’t coming in. When a new hire is offered $2,000 to walk out the door, this can be a very tempting prospect for a lot of people. This speaks volumes about their company culture and employer brand.

Ever since Zappos hit the e-tail scene, they have made a name for themselves in customer care and speed of service. This brand of service doesn’t just happen because of policies, this kind of care happens when employees are engaged and invested. When employees first start at Zappos, they are put through a 4 week immersion of the brand, culture and values that Zappos runs on, it is during the first 1-2 weeks that they are offered the quitting bonus. So why does Zappos offer it and how do they get away with it?

For most companies, if they were to offer this kind of bonus, they’d go down in a ball of quitting bonuses, but Zappos isn’t most companies. They have put their money where their mouth is when it comes to protecting their culture and values. It’s one thing to claim a culture, it’s quite another to put money down on it. This genuine culture and brand starts with their employees.

This doesn’t only facilitate a great image; it’s a very crafty and effective tool against the all-costly bad hire. 25% of companies surveyed for a MindFlash infographic said that a bad hire in the last year has cost them at least $50,000. Hseich has found a pretty ingenious way to filter out those that wouldn’t fit into the company culture by putting their loyalty and excitement about the company to the test right away.

With the right model, and a rock solid employer brand, Zappos has found a way to cultivate a positive company culture, while weeding out the bad seeds, at a minimal cost. Although the 2-3% take the bonus and jet, that ends up being a fraction of the cost of a traditional bad hire. This new and surprising type of bonus won’t work for everyone, but it sure is working for Zappos.

photo credit: SAN_DRINO via photopin cc

Tags: applicant management, applicant experience, Best HR Software, candidates, cyber recruiter, company culture, employer brand