The competition for top talent is fierce, and companies must go the extra mile to attract and retain the best. A positive candidate experience is key to winning them in today’s job market. In this blog post, we tell you everything you need to know to provide a top-notch candidate experience.

The Candidate Experience Defined

In simple terms, the “candidate experience” refers to the collective impression that job seekers develop about a company’s recruitment process. This includes everything from the application process to the interview experience to onboarding.

From First Impressions to Lasting Relationships

Providing a positive candidate experience cannot be overstated, as it can significantly impact an organization’s reputation and bottom line.

As the old saying goes, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Unfortunately, this holds true in recruiting, where a bad first impression can turn off even the most qualified and motivated candidates. So, to ensure you don’t miss out on potential talent, engaging with applicants early in the recruiting process is vital.

The Value of the Candidate Experience

Here are some reasons that underscore the significance of the candidate experience:

  • Attracting top talent: Job seekers with a positive experience during the hiring process are more likely to accept an offer and recommend the company to others. Conversely, those with a negative experience may decline the job offer and share their negative experience with others, potentially harming the organization’s reputation.
    Fun Fact: 80–90% of talent say a positive or negative candidate experience can change their minds about a role or company (Recruiting Brief).
  • Employer branding: The candidate experience can significantly impact an organization’s employer branding. A positive experience can help build a positive brand, attracting the desired talent and making the organization an employer of choice. A negative experience, on the other hand, can harm the company’s reputation and make it challenging to attract and retain ideal employees.
    Fun Fact: Nearly 4 in 5 candidates (78%) say the overall candidate experience they receive indicates how a company values its people (Career Builder).
  • Increased engagement: A positive candidate experience can increase job seekers’ engagement and enthusiasm. That can result in more motivated and committed employees.
  • Cost savings: A negative candidate experience can be costly for an organization. The cost of lost productivity plus recruiting and training a replacement can be significant. By providing a positive candidate experience, an organization can reduce the cost of turnover and save money in the long run.
  • Legal compliance: Providing a positive candidate experience is essential for the organization’s reputation and sometimes legal compliance. In many countries, laws and regulations protect job seekers from discrimination and unfair treatment during the hiring process. Failure to provide the proper consideration can result in legal action and damage the organization’s reputation.

However, these are not the only reasons you should be upping your candidate experience game. The shift is also primarily driven by the job seekers themselves.

What Candidates Really Want from Employers

Candidate expectations constantly evolve, and companies must keep up with these changes. The following are some of how their expectations have shifted in recent years:

  • Personalization: Applicants today expect a personalized hiring experience that considers their unique needs and preferences. This includes personalized communication, tailored job descriptions, and a hiring process that can accommodate their schedule and needs.
  • Transparency: Job seekers expect transparency throughout the hiring process. They want to know what to expect at each stage of the process, what the job entails, and what the compensation and benefits package includes. They also want to know about the company culture and values and how they align with theirs. Fun Fact: 80% of job seekers say they wouldn’t reapply to a company that didn’t notify them of their application status (Lever).
  • Technology: In today’s digital age, job seekers expect a hiring process that is streamlined and tech-enabled. This includes online applications, video interviews, and mobile-friendly communication. Candidates also expect to be able to research the company online and to have access to reviews and feedback from current and former employees.
  • Flexibility: With the rise of remote work and the growing desire for work-life balance, applicants expect flexibility. This includes the option for remote interviews, flexible working hours, and the ability to work from home. Offering flexible options can also help organizations tap into a wider talent pool, as they can recruit candidates from different locations.
  • Speed: In today’s fast-paced world, candidates expect a speedy hiring process. They don’t want to wait weeks or months to hear back after submitting their application. Therefore, organizations that can provide a faster hiring process are more likely to attract top talent and avoid losing out to competitors. Fun Fact: 60% of job seekers report quitting an application due to its length or complexity (Recruiting Brief).

How to Create a Stellar Candidate Experience

Now that we understand the significance of the candidate experience, it’s time to explore some strategies that can help you enhance your recruitment process:

Improve Your Job Application Process

One of the best ways to improve the candidate experience is to fine-tune your application process. Job seekers want a user-friendly Careers page with detailed job descriptions and a short, mobile-friendly application form. 25% of job seekers will quit the process if the application is too long or complex. One option would be to allow job seekers to apply using their LinkedIn profile.

Let Job Seekers Know What to Expect

A huge point of anxiety for applicants is that they don’t know what to expect after applying. To alleviate this, outline the steps of your interview-to-hire process in the job description. By setting their expectations up front, you’ll automatically provide a better candidate experience.

Stay in Touch

One of the biggest complaints from applicants is with recruiter communication. Job seekers want to know where they stand at each step, which can be extremely challenging for recruiters handling multiple open requisitions. Using an applicant tracking system (ATS) that allows workflow triggers to send updates to the candidates is ideal for managing this time-consuming part of the process.

Ask for Feedback

Finally, feel free to ask for feedback from candidates about their recruitment experience. This can help you identify areas for improvement and ensure that you provide a positive candidate experience.’s platform can also provide valuable data and insights into the candidate experience, allowing you to make data-driven decisions and continually improve your recruitment process.

Fun Fact: 78% of job seekers report never being asked for feedback on their candidate experience (Lever).

Closing the Deal

Creating a positive candidate experience is not just about filling a position but also about building your company’s reputation and fostering a culture of inclusivity and professionalism. By streamlining your recruitment process, personalizing the experience, using AI and machine learning to remove bias, and asking for feedback, you can improve your chances of hiring the best candidate and leave a lasting impression on those who didn’t make the cut.

So, don’t just settle for a mediocre candidate experience; put in the effort to create a stellar one that will have candidates lining up to work for your organization. After all, it’s not just about finding the right person for the job; it’s about creating an unforgettable candidate experience that will keep your company top of mind.

Key Takeaways

  • Candidate experience refers to the collective impression that job seekers develop about a company’s recruitment process, and it is critical to attracting and retaining top talent.
  • A positive candidate experience can lead to increased engagement and enthusiasm from the candidate, contribute to a positive employer brand, and save costs associated with turnover.
  • Candidate expectations are evolving, and organizations must keep up with changes to attract the best talent. Candidates expect personalization, transparency, technology-enabled processes, flexibility, and speed.
  • Streamlining the recruitment process, automating tasks, and using AI-powered tools can help improve candidate experience and save time for recruiters.
  • Communication is critical throughout the recruitment process. Candidates want to be kept informed about the status of their application and what to expect at each stage of the process.
  • Providing feedback to candidates after an interview and creating a positive candidate experience, even for those who aren’t selected, can help build a positive employer brand and improve the organization’s reputation.
  • Finally, improving the candidate experience is an ongoing process, and organizations need to regularly evaluate and make changes to their recruitment process to keep up with changing candidate expectations and ensure they are attracting and retaining the best talent.

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