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

Why the Talent You Want Doesn't Want You

Posted by Mary Sue McClintock on Thu, Jun, 19, 2014 @ 10:06 AM

TalentThe average professional receives an average of 304 business emails a day. As a recruiter, a great portion of the day is probably spent wading through an inbox and shipping out messages to applicants or qualified candidates. Though the first email was sent in 1971, the practice of emailing has yet to go out of style completely. 

With 3.6 billion email accounts in the world, chances are you have been using email to create or keep conversation with candidates and applicants. In fact, with online recruiting saving 50% of the cost-per-hire, not using email to at least start dialogue is very rare. What isn’t so rare is the amount of times an email sends recruiting communication to a dead halt. With the right recruiting software, you can take the guesswork out of your process and keep your candidates from saying these 3 things. 

“I had no idea who wanted to hire me.”

We’ve all received the email or phone call from a mysterious, yet excited sender; the one that starts with an upbeat greeting and is brimming with flattery. The problem lies in how vague the content is overall. There is a name, but no company. A title but no explanation as to what the recruiter is contacting in regards to.

Credibility is immediately lost when no established relationship between the recruiter and the company is made. With 43% of email recipients sending messages to their spam folder simply based on the “from” name, you’re already battling tough odds.

A great recruiting software can help a recruiter keep all important details accounted for while still customizing for the recipient, ultimately, getting you a response.

“They didn’t want me, they wanted anyone. 

Imagine being asked to do something that would usually be a big honor. (Think: A huge promotion or giving a speech at a big event.) Now imagine that right after being asked, there is a follow up question of, “if you can’t, do you know someone who can?” The numbers behind referral program success is huge. In fact, 70% of the time, referred employees are found to fit company culture and values better than hires from elsewhere while also having higher retention rates (46% stay for at least 3 years).

Part of sparking a candidate’s interest lies in making he or she feel as though they are the one suited for the job. Having a general, “tell your friends about us!” statement is only going to make an individual feel as though you are desperate and looking for people to fill desks. Whether the company is large or small, an applicant wants to feel as though they will be making a difference with their position.

Don’t ask for referrals on first contact. Get through the hiring process before you introduce referral programs. You will have a better idea of the company your new hire keeps while also not looking desperate.

“They were so vague and impersonal, I knew it was a mass email.”

Recruiters see the resume as the first impression of an applicant and, similarly, candidates are looking at an email as a first impression. Again, this may seem like too much work, but one of the best reach out emails I ever received was one written to be mass message friendly.

What made that mass email the best? Well, it still carried the personality of the employer and had the distinct voice of the recruiter. I could see how the recruitment effort and company goals were aligned, while getting a clear picture of how the team operated.

You should capture the voice of the company, be personal with how you present yourself and don’t be afraid to have personality. If you’re having trouble with starting, brainstorm words that fit your company culture and the audience you are hiring. The power of approach could lie in the attitude of your word selection.

Email has been around for a while, leading it to be sometimes seen as a small beginning to the long candidate experience road. Unfortunately, that isn’t so. In fact, email is so important (and annoying to candidates) that there have been websites developed to ensure an email would pass the candidate experience test. Don’t be known as a spam recruiter. Want a better talent pool with the leads you deserve and a more automated yet personal way of communicating? Let’s chat!

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Tags: candidates, cyber recruiter, employer brand, recruiter

Recruiting with Creative Content

Posted by Sean Pomeroy on Tue, Nov, 26, 2013 @ 11:11 AM

small  2327260343We aren’t the first to liken recruiting to marketing. There are a lot of parallels, and using creative content to attract the right audience is a big one. Content marketing has become huge in the last decade. No matter who you’re trying to reach, bite-sized, visually appealing content is extremely effective.  The right recruiting software solutions are important, but a little bit of creativity goes a long way.

Recruiters aren’t simply marketing a job listing, they’re marketing a company culture and values; these are the selling points. There are several options to create and share this content. Companies aren’t only using these creative content mediums to share their stellar employer brands and company culture; they’re using them to build them. It can’t really be considered a reputation if no one knows about it, now can it?


The average attention span online is about 8 seconds. When you consider that most of recruiting is done online, that doesn’t leave us with much of a window. Additionally, 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual. It is for these reasons and more that 85% of consumers are more likely to purchase a product after watching a video.

Southwest Airlines uses their “A Day in the Life of” video series to attract relevant candidates. In this series, found on their careers page and Youtube channel, job seekers can check out short videos aimed at showing their audience what a day in the life of a Southwest employee is like.

Each position, from cargo workers to pilots, is highlighted in these fun videos. Relevant job seekers are quickly concerted to candidates when they are able to understand the position and experience the culture.

If you have little (or no) budget, try out Vine. This couldn’t be easier or less time consuming. These 6 second videos are easy to make and share. Consider these entertaining videos as marketing snacks. You can create a little window into your workplace to peak interest.


Instagram is a fun and easy way to create an online collage to convey company values and culture. Most recruiters are using Instagram as a branding tool, but Jessica Miller-Merrell gives us some great insights on more direct recruiting with Instagram.

“Instagram now offers the ability to “explore” the mobile app searching for users as well as hashtags. Since the platform is purely mobile, recruiters must take to their iPhone and android devices. Using the explore platform, you can enter a simple hashtag or keyword like ‘#engineering.’ Instagram not only offers the results of that hashtag but of other like and recommended hashtags like '#engineeringmajor'.”

Instagram is now a multi-purpose tool in online recruiting. Companies can, not only display their brand, but they can use it to target and connect with relevant candidates. Pinterest is also a great place to tell the company story for recruiting purposes.


For a long time, companies have used their blog as a place to establish credibility in their industry. “Look, we know what we’re talking about!” Like most other marketing/recruiting tools, this isn’t the only way you can use a blog.

Many companies are encouraging employees to blog about their position, themselves or their area of expertise. Candidates and job seekers don’t like to hear from or see managers, they want to connect with employees. They want to feel the culture and get a sense of the company values.

Employee and value-centric blog posts not only empower the current workforce, they attract those likeminded candidates. Recruiting pro Dave Lefkow said,

“Blogs have the potential to take communicating with candidates to an entirely new level while driving business results. They can be one of the most effective tools in your recruiting arsenal.”

Coupled with the right software for recruiting, creative content can be a strong tool to add to your recruiting process. 

photo credit: Eddi van W. via photopin cc

Tags: candidates, cyber recruiter, employer brand

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

Time-To-Fill is Going Down the Tubes

Posted by Maren Hogan on Wed, Aug, 07, 2013 @ 10:08 AM

small__91147636The world of job searching is getting tougher for candidates. It is taking employers longer and longer to pull the trigger on new hires. Even great candidates with all the right skills and values are left wondering and waiting by the phone. According to research done by economists Steven J. Davis, Jason Faberman and John Haltiwanger, vacancies are staying open far longer than they used to. In 2009, the average time-to-fill was 15 business days, compared to today’s 23 days. Time to fill is such an important metric in HR and recruiting, so why is this process taking even longer?

They’re Shaking in Their Boots Over Bad Hires

As we steadily pull through the tail end of this recession, a lot of employers are working in fear of bad hires more than they were before the hard times hit. As the recession took hold, companies were conducting mass layoffs and tightening belts whereever cuts could be made. This mentality is holding on strong. The cost of high turnover can end up crippling companies. For small businesses (less than 65 employees) the cost of each turnover is about $8,000. Recruiters and hiring managers are so reluctant to hire quickly because they’re worried about hiring poorly.

Skills vs Openings

It is also theorized that this lengthier hiring process can be attributed to a disconnect of skills between the 4 million job openings vs the 12 million unemployed. Especially in fields that require higher skills there seems to be a gap between demand and skilled candidates. Taking a look at what industries are growing vs the skills of the emerging workforce presents us with one of the attributes of this slowing process. There seem to be too many of the wrong candidates.

What is it Costing HR to Keep them on the Hook?

Advertising the position, background checks, screening and interviewing all take time and money. The internal recruiting time per hire is usually anywhere from 30-100 hours. Multiply that by the hourly rate and that ends up being quite a bit of money. When candidates are now expected to go through multiple rounds of interviews and seemingly pointless tests, this process is taking far longer than it should. With pressure from higher ups to hold off on the hire until the perfect candidate is found, recruiters and hiring managers don’t have much of a choice.

What is This Doing to the Candidate Experience?

With this lengthier hiring process and reluctances to actually hire, candidates are loosing time, money and patience. In this NY Times piece we follow Paul Sullivan, a video editor looking for a new job. During his sixth interview he is actually approached by a security guard who had seen him there so many times that he thought he was an employee who kept forgetting his security badge. Sullivan said, “He couldn’t believe I was actually there for another interview. I couldn’t either! But then I put on a happy face, went upstairs and waited for another round of questions.”

Maren Hogan, HR pro weighs-in on the trials of the hiring process: “Let's just say, burnout is common. But candidate experience is (and always will be) a huge part of the recruiting and retention process. And one of the ways that you can make your candidates' experience really amazing, is to NOT WASTE THEIR TIME!”

Open communication about positions and actual needs with the hiring manager can save everyone a world of wasted time and resources. These lengthier hiring processes aren’t really helping anyone. Candidates and hiring managers alike are becoming more frustrated with this reluctance to pull the trigger.


photo credit: scragz via photopin cc

Tags: applicant management, Career Page, Custom applications, applicant experience, Applicant tracking software, Best HR Software, best software service, candidates, cyber recruiter, company culture, employer brand