The significance of a positive candidate journey. A woman making notes by hand while on her laptop

The Significance of a Positive Candidate Experience

We often discuss the importance of a positive candidate experience, but why is it so important?

Creating a great candidate experience is not a nice-to-have for recruiters, it is a necessity. A positive candidate journey has become a fundamental facet of the business ecosystem that impacts not just the employer brand but also the organisation’s profitability. While people may think that the candidate experience ends with the application process, it includes things such as onboarding new hires or informing unsuccessful candidates.

Brand impression impacts candidate experience

A 2017 study by IBM Smarter Workforce Institute revealed that candidate experience is influenced by the multitude of interactions candidates may have with the hiring organisation. These interactions happen even before and after the application process.

The study also revealed that 48% of the surveyed candidates had had previous interactions or relationships with the employer even before they applied for a position. Out of that number, 37% of candidates have friends or family members working in the company, 30% liked their brand or reputation while 24% were already a customer or work for the organisation before. This suggests that the first touchpoint of a great candidate experience happens even before an individual has the intent to apply for a job in a company.

55% of recent job applicants already had a positive impression before they applied and only 2% had a negative impression before they applied. Therefore, your employer branding, consumer trust, and market impression are important into achieving great candidate experience right off the bat and having the best candidates apply.

Two major positive outcomes of a good candidate experience

The research also revealed that since a positive impression of the employer is important, it can also be linked to two major positive outcomes that can generally help your business.

  1. Positive candidate experience means greater advocacy. The willingness of a candidate to recommend the organisation depends on his experience. Applicants who are satisfied with their application journey are more likely to recommend the company to their peers and even put a review on social media or professional sites. In fact, 62% of those interviewed agree that they will recommend a company if they feel that they are well informed throughout the process and if they had an easy and speedy recruitment process. Hence, the advocacy is stronger when the candidate experience is positive.
  2. Positive candidate experience can lead to greater job acceptance. The same study reveals that those who are satisfied with their experience are 38% more likely to accept a job offer. Since a recruitment process can be a little bit time consuming and expensive, it is hard for recruiters to end up offering a job to a candidate who declines because of a poor candidate experience. Aside from wasting efforts, you could also be missing out on your chance at hiring top-quality talent. The research findings indicate that a positive experience can save time and money while most importantly, secure top-quality candidates by contributing to a higher acceptance rate.

The extended effect of candidate experience

Candidates who have a positive candidate experience are 53% more likely to increase their desire on becoming a customer of the hiring organisation while only 25% of those who had a poor candidate experience would want to be a customer.

The effects of good candidate experience are extensive and go beyond acceptance rates and advocacy. It can also have a deep impact on your market position, consumer trust, and overall branding as a business. Which can affect your sales as well.

Given that negative feedback from candidates who had poor candidate experience can be amplified through personal and professional networks, your business can come out poorly among your target market. The analyses of the IBM study revealed that more than 60% of all candidates share their experience with others regardless of the outcome of their application process.

Three ways to improve candidate experience

Since a good candidate experience has a broad impact across talent attraction, recruitment, company reputation and even sales, here are three tips to make sure you are making the most of your candidate experience:

  1. Enhance employer branding. Start improving your brand as a company and build trust among your target market. Show off your company culture on social media, this can help to both show off your organisational values and help candidates self-select for an organisation that suits them. Remember that the first interaction of a potential candidate can be them being a customer themselves and this first touchpoint is very important in creating a good impression.
  2. Improve communication. Keep your candidates well-informed through the whole recruitment process. Make sure that from the beginning of the process they know what to expect. You can use different tools to help you manage this, such as with an ATS to help keep track of your candidates and streamline your communication with them. Aside from considering new channels of communication, make sure that candidates get frequent and timely updates as well.
  3. Treat all candidates well. Providing feedback and making sure that you respect your candidates time are a few simple ways of providing a good candidate experience. Whether the candidates are successful in their application or not, providing feedback positions you as an employer [or recruiter] of choice. Make them feel comfortable and encourage them to ask questions, not to mention asking them for feedback about their experience.

There are a lot of opportunities for businesses to enhance their candidate experience, have a look at yours to see where you can improve it. Try out applying for one of your roles, is it a simple process or are you putting the same information in multiple times? Do you get all the information you’d want as a candidate? This simple task can help you understand your candidate journey – the first step to improving it. By enhancing your employer brand, having consistent and efficient communication, and streamlining your recruitment process, you will improve your candidate experience. This helps you to attract high-quality applicants and allows you to hire the best of the best.

 

Read more about improving your candidate experience in our whitepapers.

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