Candidate experience is defined as how job seekers perceive and react to employers’ sourcing, recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and onboarding processes.

At IRC we understand how important it is to deliver an outstanding candidate experience by ensuring consistent positive interaction throughout each candidate’s journey. But it is not only the interactions that take place through the recruitment cycle that are important. It starts a lot earlier than that.

The process begins even before initial engagement through social media interactions with a company’s brand. More and more businesses are realising the importance of reaching out and engaging with their market and promoting their employer brand to potential candidates through stories, blogs, market knowledge, analytics and more.

Once a candidate has applied for a role the candidate journey continues through interviewing to on-boarding with consistent, informative touchpoints at regular stages from all relevant parties. This includes recruiters, HR professionals,talent acquisition personnel and hiring managers. This process has a deep and direct impact on the perception of the company and influences whether the candidate feels they have made the right or wrong decision to join. A superior candidate experience can reduce the number of candidates who withdraw and where these communications build strong relationships and trust with employees it can lower attrition rates.

In today’s fast-paced global economy, coupled with a candidate short market, businesses are constantly competing for top talent. Sometimes this can mean that candidate experience is not a top priority especially where there are high numbers of applicants, high numbers of job requisitions and a limited number of relevant qualified candidates.

The most common complaint from candidates is that they don’t receive any communications at all after applying. Some, if they are lucky, get negative response 2-3 months later. Of those candidates who make it into the interview process, many candidates complain that they are not given interview feedback, and even fewer are asked for feedback about the process itself.

In our social media driven world, the success of a business is inextricably linked to a candidate’s engagement and interactions with that organisation. In businesses where your candidates are also your customers, every interaction matters even more.

Here are 5 reasons why your business will benefit from a superior candidate experience:

1.             Candidates believe their experience is indicative of how you treat your employees

No company wants to be seen as not valuing its employees enough, but it is hard to change perceptions once they are made. I was once brought in for an interview with a company and was left sat outside on an uncomfortable chairin a corridor for 30 minutes whist employees came past seemingly to “check me out” but equally not say anything to me. It was a surreal experience for sure! It’s time for companies to give some real thought to how interactions with candidates encourages them to want to work with your company. Wouldn’t it be amazing if the highly qualified candidates were lining up to work with you rather than you having to convince them to come and work for you? Moving jobs, especially when they are happy in their current role, is always a risk. If there are any indicators that this might not be the job for them ,candidates will be running for the hills. Let’s talk about communications. Waiting for a response to an application can be very demotivating and stressful for candidates. Treating candidates, the way we would treat our clients or that you would like to be treated yourself is a great strategy. It doesn’t matter if the response is good or bad. Candidates can deal better with disappointment that they didn’t get the role than radio silence and may even be happy to be contacted for a future vacancy that they may be perfect for.

2.             Candidates talk! On Social Media, news about candidate experience spreads fast.

Candidates will spread the news about both good and bad experiences with a company brand, but news of a poor candidate experience can travel much faster and further on social media. Research shows that candidates who had a poor candidate experience are far more likely to tell others not to apply to a company and may even write a negative post or review. In the digital age however, this feedback can have a huge impact on your company’s reputation and your ability to attract the right candidates in the future. It might make candidates favor your competitors especially if their candidate journey is superior leaving you with only second-rate candidates wanting to work for your brand. It may even affect your ability to retain candidates as customers or fans of your company.

3.             Candidate experience impacts revenue

Candidates who have a positive experience with your organisation are twice as likely to want to become a customer compared to those who have a poor candidate experience. Consider whether your candidate experience is representative of your brand. Consider your values and USP’s in building your candidate experience and incorporate them so that you tell an authentic story of who you are as a business. This way, if potential customers apply for a role but are ultimately unsuccessful, they may still resonate with the authenticity of your brand and become a customer.

4.             Better candidate experiences are linked to higher referrals

Regardless of whether the interaction ends in a job offer, applicants who are satisfied with their candidate experience are more than twice as likely to recommend your organisation to others, compared to those who are not satisfied. Referrals are important to businesses and often 1 referral can lead to many new opportunities through leveraging the networks of those willing to recommend your organisation. Your candidate experience strategy can help you get more referrals by communicating a clear and authentic understanding of your company culture and insight into the employee experience. A example of this might be sending out a communication for example “A day in the life of…” video to interviewees with your “invitation to interview” allowing potential employees to see what it might really be like to work for you.

5.             Happier candidates are more likely to accept

It goes without saying that, candidates who are satisfied with their experience are more likely to accept a job offer and stay especially where those relationships built during the hiring process are rolled on through onboarding and beyond. It is well knownthat having a candidate withdraw or resign has high cost implications for the organisation in having to re-hire for that position. Investing in your candidate experience will boost not only your offer-acceptance rates but also lower withdrawal rates and mitigate ghosting. One way to do this is to introduce a pre-boarding touchpoint system to send communications at strategically timed moments throughout the process. This can be easily automated by your Talent or HR team and can even save you time ensuring candidates get the right information and also provide the required documentation to meet hiring deadlines. By prioritising your candidate experience as part of your talent strategy you can look forward to increased hiring success.

Let IRC help you to deliver an exceptional candidate journey by partnering with our experienced and qualified Recruitment Directors today!

Holly Grattan. MBA(HR), AMAC.

Recruitment Director – Head of the HR / Talent Recruitment Division

IRC- Independent Resourcing Consultancy

Tel: 020 7692 5668