Why candidate experience matters more than ever

Why candidate experience matters more than ever

In a world where word travels faster than ever before and online reviews are worth their weight in (internet) gold, it’s no surprise that organisations are now turning their focus to customer experiences.

For recruitment professionals, your candidates are the customers. For too long, HR leaders have believed that candidate perceptions of their recruitment experience aren’t a top priority if the process works.

If a candidate really wanted a position, they would jump through all the hoops ? right?

In today’s candidate-driven market defined by talent shortages in just about every sector, this assumption just doesn’t hold up any more. Organisations need to work harder and harder to impress top talent, every step of the way.

How to improve candidate experiences:

Put yourself in the candidate’s shoes

It is almost impossible to understate just how important the quality of the hiring process is for passive (headhunted) candidates, which is why it is so important to put yourself in the candidate’s shoes.

These are candidates that are not necessarily looking for a new opportunity, and have their own reputation on the line if the recruitment process is not handled carefully.

For these candidates, it is absolutely essential that a more informal approach is taken, where confidentiality and speed are prioritised. A candidate not looking to move won’t wait weeks for an offer to be made, or step through an online application reiterating the same points covered in initial meetings. Think of it this way ? if you were approached by a company to join their midst, but they couldn’t make you a priority to get you across the line, would you still jump ship?


The more drawn out and bureaucratic the process becomes, the higher the risk of losing the candidate becomes. Have coffee with your candidates, get to know them and their drivers, but make sure you have the offer letter and approvals ready to go the second you receive the green light. 

Step through your own hiring processes

In a candidate-short market where applications are few and far between, the quality of your hiring process has never been more important. If your organisation does manage to receive a high-quality advertisement response from a candidate in the ‘sweet spot?, it’s essential that they receive the best treatment possible, and don’t fall through the cracks.

The #1 way large organisations find security loopholes in their IT infrastructure is to try to hack it themselves and identify vulnerabilities. This is exactly the kind of approach needed to highlight points in your hiring process in need of improvement:

  • Try creating a false persona and a fake CV that may be almost right for the role – but not quite.
  • Make sure to include phone numbers, emails and other details that your team won’t recognise as yours.
  • Complete your own application process from start to finish (and time it!)
  • Make note of every single point of contact you receive from your own company


This process will help you to understand how an ad response candidate experiences your company. Once you’ve been through the process from start to finish, reflect on areas in need of improvement and ensure to give feedback to staff on areas they managed well. 

Focus on your employer branding

At the end of the day, candidates work for people.

No attractive salary, exciting project or challenging assignment will have the same effect on retention and your organisation’s reputation as a positive employer brand. Candidates may come for other reasons, but they will stay for the people.  

Creating a strong employer brand is about showcasing who you are, what you stand for and why candidates should join your organisation.

It’s all about highlighting your strengths as an employer and finding creative ways to communicate that to potential candidates.

Join forces with your marketing team to create a strong and cohesive brand that is impossible to ignore.

Make sure you are posting regular information about your workplace culture and company updates on social media to show what it’s really like to work for your organisation. Create blog posts, images and videos that showcase your story and represent the attributes important to your organisation ? like leadership, innovation or creativity.

This is also a great way to represent your organisation’s approach to diversity and promote the kinds of policies that support equality in the workplace, including flexible working hours, work from home options, graduate and return-to-work programs.


Find images, phrases and stories that represent your organisation and its workforce, and weave these into your communication with candidates. 

In a new age of talent management, creating strong candidate experiences (and the systems that support them) is crucial for any internal or external recruitment team.

There are always ways to improve a candidate’s experience, but they all begin with making sure processes start and end with people.

If you?re searching for a partner in recruitment, or just a new way of managing your candidate and contractor experiences, please contact your Peopleconnexion consultant or visit www.peopleconnexion.com for more information. 

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