Why a Positive Candidate Experience Should be Your Top Priority

Women Reviewing a Potential Candidate

When companies make a mess of the candidate experience, it’s not just the loss of a good potential employee they’re left to contend with. It’s also the unanticipated (and inevitable) effect of negative job board reviews or bad experience reports back to recruiters. Both jeopardize the company’s ability to attract top talent.

Granted, businesses don’t usually create a negative candidate experience on purpose. It’s more likely that the hiring process is simply mismanaged – especially in start-up or rapidly growing companies that have yet to streamline their procedures. Unfortunately, good intentions don’t matter much here. Candidates that fall through the cracks in your hiring process will feel frustrated and bitter – and they won’t keep their feelings to themselves. In fact, 42%* of frustrated candidates won’t apply to your company again and 22%* will tell their friends not to apply either. These days you can’t afford to fumble the ball when it comes to candidate experience – especially considering your next great employee likely already has a job. Creating a positive experience for every candidate should be a top priority – whether you choose to hire them or not.

Here are some tips to creating a hiring experience that will leave candidates with a positive impression of your company:

Communicate with your Candidates

As many as 60%* of candidates report never hearing back from a company after an interview. Yikes! That means up to 60% of candidates left feeling uncertain and disrespected. Candidates would rather get a definitive answer – even if it’s “no.”

So, keep in touch with your candidates throughout each step of the process. Let them know if they don’t make it into the next round of interviews and remember to thank them regardless. Some companies even utilize an automated sequence that alerts the job seeker of new activity. While we believe that person to person communication is always best, any answer is better than no answer.

If you are interested in hiring a candidate – let him or her know! The ultimate insult to a sought-out candidate is a company that doesn’t show sincere interest. This includes following up with the candidate quickly after an interview. Let too much time pass and you’ll risk the chance of candidate disengagement.

It’s also a must to include your recruiter in the process. After all, your HR department and the recruiter you brought on to make your job search easier are a team. Maximize this relationship and you’ll see positive gains.

Treat the Candidate as a VIP Guest

When you respect candidates’ time as if it were your own, they’ll feel valued no matter the end result. Treat them as important guests in your organization from the moment they enter your office. This includes things like making sure the space is clean and tidy and prepping applicable staff members (like receptionists) to greet and welcome the candidate upon arrival. Hiring managers should be on time and prepared for the interview. Whether prepping a list of questions or reading over a resume one last time, these steps will demonstrate genuine interest in the candidate as an individual and help the interview run smoothly. And remember, the interview doesn’t end until the candidate leaves your office or the building. Don’t let candidates overhear you talking about them on their way out!

Sell Your Organization

The biggest mistake you’re making right now? Assuming that candidates are desperate for a position at your company. Instead, operate under the belief that your candidate has other offers (it’s more than likely they do) and court them.

When the best candidates already have a great job, the only way to make your offer enticing is to actively sell the benefits of your company. Are the pay and benefits competitive? Do you offer the opportunity to work for a worthwhile purpose or cause? Do employees have access to ongoing education? Or the opportunity to work remotely? Then don’t beat around the bush! Mention those items upfront so your choice candidates are just as interested in working with you as you are with hiring them.

Be Open to Giving & Receiving Feedback

Your goal should be to ensure every candidate experience with your company (and every experience in general, for that matter) is a positive one. Don’t be afraid to ask all candidates – hired or not – for feedback on how to improve your hiring process to help achieve this goal. We’ll let you in on a little secret: the vast majority of companies are NOT doing this! By collecting and acting on this feedback, you’ll be better equipped to attract and close the top talent you want in the future.

The takeaway? Job seekers are eager but they won’t work for a company that doesn’t treat them with respect. On the flip side, 92% of job seekers would at least consider accepting a new role at a company with an amazing reputation. Make sure you’re one of them by making the hiring process a smooth one.

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Get in touch to see how we can make your hiring process a breeze.


*Stats from Careerbuilder’s 2012 nationwide U.S. candidate survey on workable.com