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5 Reasons to Create a Positive Candidate Experience Now

February 13, 2024
7 min read

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This article on the candidate experience was originally published in April 2019 and updated in February 2024.

Companies value the candidate experience —it’s been a top three priority for many for at least a year. But unfortunately, according to candidates, they’re still not getting it right. The number of negative experiences reported has doubled since 2020, and early research shows the same trends continuing this year. It’s clear there’s a disconnect between the belief in the importance of the candidate experience and the resources that are dedicated to improving it.

Is your company doing the work necessary to make candidates feel valued, or is there a similar disconnect between its priorities and resource allocation? Courting prospective employees is hard enough without a poor candidate experience making it even more difficult. Reevaluate your recruiting process to find out if your candidates are happy or if a negative experience is driving away top talent.

Besides winning top talent, there are many reasons why the candidate experience is important. Take a look at these five reasons every company should care about its candidate experience and find out what leading organizations are doing to impress their applicants. Then, take a second look at how you’re treating your candidates.

Candidate experience is a top priority for companies, but they’re still not getting it right. Find out why it’s so important and how you can give your candidates an excellent experience:

1. Gain a Competitive Edge

As we mentioned, the research shows that a majority of companies simply aren’t meeting candidates’ expectations. One reason researchers cite is that while candidates have raised their expectations for prospective employers, companies have done the opposite. They say candidate experience is a priority, but they’re not doing the work to improve it.

With so few companies providing the experience candidates want, you’ll be a far more competitive employer if you can. Annual Candidate Experience (CandE) Benchmark Research Reports show that top-rated organizations do a few things consistently and in a timely manner:

  • Communicate with candidates from pre-application to onboarding
  • Set expectations for the entire recruiting process
  • Engage and follow through with candidates
  • Ask candidates for their feedback
  • Remain transparent and accountable about the entire recruiting and hiring process

These top-rated companies also share similarities in their recruiting processes:

  • Hold recruiters accountable by aligning their performance with candidate experience
  • Leverage recruiting technology, including artificial intelligence (AI) and texting tools
  • Give feedback to the top candidates who are not selected

Your candidate experience is a reflection of what candidates can expect when they work for you. Showing them you value their time during the hiring process indicates that they would be valued as employees, too. Take your cues from companies that are getting the candidate experience right so you stand out to job seekers and win top talent.

2. Waiting Is the Worst

We all know the feeling of waiting to hear back after submitting a job application or doing an interview — anxiously refreshing your email and jumping to answer every phone call. Recruiting processes are often lengthy, and the average has even increased to 44 days in recent years. That’s a long time for prospective candidates to be left waiting to hear from you.

If you’re experiencing high rates of candidate ghosting, a long hiring process with little communication could be the cause. Findings from Lighthouse Research & Advisory indicate that long, complex processes can make candidates feel their time isn’t being respected, which doesn’t leave them with a good impression of your company.

71% of candidates want weekly updates on their application status. Learn more ways to create an excellent candidate experience:

In some roles and industries, lengthier recruiting processes are unavoidable. But often, they’re the result of too many interviews or poor internal communication. If your time-to-hire is optimized and still longer than usual, you can still create a positive candidate experience by keeping them in the loop. 71% of candidates say weekly updates on their application status are ideal.

If you leave candidates wondering where they stand, there’s a good chance they’ll form negative opinions about your company. Feeling their time was disrespected was the top reason job seekers withdrew from consideration. A bad experience can have a far-reaching impact — unhappy candidates often become brand detractors, meaning they actively avoid buying your products or services.

On the other hand, a great candidate experience leaves even rejected candidates with a positive view of your company. When they received feedback, candidates were 50% more willing to refer others and 40% more inclined to increase their relationship with the employer.

Give feedback to top candidates and make simple changes to recruiting communication, such as setting up automated follow-up and next-step emails, to greatly improve the candidate experience, increase re-application rates, and maintain your employer brand.

3. Candidates Talk (Online and In-Person)

We mentioned that bad candidate experiences can drive people away from patronizing your company at all. But did you know that they share those bad experiences both online and by word of mouth? 80% of candidates who were unsatisfied with their experience say they share those experiences —30% will even do so proactively.

Candidates share their experiences via word of mouth, but they’re also increasingly sharing them online. The number of reviews published about hiring and interview experiences has doubled since 2020, as has the number of negative experiences shared. Many of those negative reviews point to poor experiences as the reason they didn’t accept a job offer.

The good news is that candidates also share their positive experiences. You can increase the likelihood that rejected candidates have good things to say about your company by giving them feedback about why they weren’t chosen. Those candidates are 30-50% more likely to refer their friends and colleagues than those who didn’t get any feedback.

"The employee experience begins with the candidate experience....[T]he employee usually thinks about their experience as dating back to their early stages of engagement with the recruiter and interviewing."
- Amy Freshman, senior director of global HR, ADP via ADP

4. Grow Your Talent Pool

Finding qualified top talent isn’t easy, and it’s not getting easier — just 34% of employers expect to meet their hiring goals in 2024. With a good candidate experience, you’ll not only find higher-quality candidates but also build a pool of engaged talent that you can tap into for future hiring needs. 48% of candidates who aren’t selected want to be considered for other roles if they have good experience.

5. Build a Solid Foundation for Employee Engagement

Employee engagement has declined in recent years, and only around 33% of U.S. employees are engaged. It’s up to employers to bring the numbers back up. You can lay the foundation for high engagement during the hiring process with a great candidate experience. Although it’s treated as being separate from the employee experience, for those who are hired, it becomes part of their employee journey.

Research from Lighthouse Research & Advisory details the best ways to engage your candidates:

  • Two-thirds of candidates want to learn more about your company’s mission and vision in your job postings.
  • Candidates would rather watch videos featuring their hiring manager or other employees in their position compared to generic videos promoting the company culture.
  • Many candidates are looking for flexibility, but that doesn’t have to mean remote work. Explore different ways to offer flexibility, including schedule flexibility, decision-making freedom, and training or growth opportunities.
  • Share more about your company with candidates, both in written communications and when speaking with them. Candidates are interested in learning more about company culture and values, the job application process, and what it takes to be successful.

Follow the Leaders: Technology to Enhance the Candidate Experience

A great candidate experience isn't a “nice to have.” If you want to hire, engage, and retain top talent, it’s a necessity, especially since candidates are expecting more from prospective employers, not less. As we said, companies with highly rated candidate experiences are far more likely to use recruiting technology —in particular, software equipped with AI and texting tools.

ClearCompany’s Talent Acquisition suite is equipped with these leading technologies in addition to even more features to help you execute a better candidate experience. Explore our platform to see what you can accomplish with the power of technology:

  • Write job descriptions, candidate emails, and offer letters in record time with our built-in AI assistant.
  • Simplify, personalize, and speed up candidate communication with text messaging tools.
  • Design a fair, structured interview process with Interview Guides and Scorecards.
  • Create and send surveys to measure candidate satisfaction and uncover the best ways to improve it.

With ClearCompany, you can tailor your recruiting software to your business’s needs and build a candidate experience that helps you hire, engage, and retain top talent. Get in touch with a ClearCompany expert to schedule a demo and see what our technology can do for your candidate experience.

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