candidate experience

Candidate Experience: Simple definition, tested tips & how to measure it

On the face of it, applying for a job seems pretty simple. Thousands of people do it every day. All they need to do is send out a resume and wait. But there is a bit more to it. And it’s HR’s and recruiter’s duty to make sure that things go smoothly from that very moment on. This little piece of effort that changes the game is called candidate experience. Everyone seems to be familiar with the term, but many often need a reminder of its huge significance. 

If you’re one of those recruitment specialists who are keen on providing amazing experiences to all job seekers & passive talents, keep on reading. This guide will help you understand the true meaning of superb impressions left from the first point of contact. And it will offer a few tested hacks to boost your hiring success and branding. 

What is meant by candidate experience?

So, people are sending out their whole life stories on paper. They write about their history, education, and best qualities, hoping all that’s good enough to land them a job they want. In a way, this process is bound to make them feel like they’re being judged. Don’t you agree?

Well, the judging goes both ways. The whole recruiting process actually depicts the company, the people, and their work ethic. With all the pressure candidates are under, the least companies could do is make the hiring process as smooth as possible and make the applicants feel respected, right? You know it is – and it starts from the top. It’s common knowledge that first impressions are crucial. And despite the proverbs that claim you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, the first reaction to a company and its policies tends to stick around. 

So, the most simple definition of candidate experience is that it represents a sum of their thoughts and impressions about the potential employer. Their opinions are formed from the initial point of touch. Keep that in mind & turn it into an advantage.

Candidate experience: best practices & new norms 

Over the last few decades, the entire workforce has become more empowered. So, the employers don’t hold all the cards anymore. In fact, the shift is particularly visible in the tech industry. Becoming an employer of choice is now the ultimate aim for all businesses in this line of work. And yet – the market is so tight that coming up with an effective recruitment strategy feels like reviving The Myth of Sisyphus, only with a Scrum Master taking over the role of Albert Camus. And that is admittedly far more horrific than any Ancient Greek legend. 

Now that we’ve taken this little trip down philosophical topics, back to our key concern. How to do awesome in the domains of candidate experience and employer branding? Just start by following these steps: 

  • Have a clear goal in mind & communicate regularly: from presenting an actual hiring need transparently and respectfully to responding to all emails and inquiries on time and with the right tone;
  • Optimize a career page and help applicants submit their resumes with ease: keep equally good care of passive candidates and actual job seekers;
  • Guide them through the hiring process and be transparent and responsive from the very beginning of the journey: write a concise and informative job description, then keep this practice up through the whole process to secure great candidate experience;
  • Follow up often and feel free to ask for feedback on your performance as an interviewer: creating an interview process that candidates don’t hate seems like a tricky business, but it can be quite simple if you listen to their notions;
  • Be honest and ease the salary negotiation process: be sincere and objective, include a salary range in the job description, and make sure to discuss it with applicants. 

Finally, once the recruitment process is all done (and the results are in everyone’s favor), pay close attention to the onboarding. Welcoming a new hire the right way and keeping them in the loop is essential. According to all candidate experience statistics and HR facts, more than 80% of organizations don’t do well in this area. But also, those who do, have their retention rates elevated by 82%. 

The basic step to pay attention to: Job hunt

As we established: job searching is the first touchpoint between an applicant and their future employer, so it should be a pleasant experience. There are many different ways people find out about job openings: referrals, social media, job boards, or company websites. And then we have a massive group of passive candidates. They need an extra nudge to consider getting into the pool. But we’ll get back to them later.

Recommendations and referrals are among the ways to find employment. It goes both ways. Employers thrive on them, and future employees are also way more pleased. Employee referrals are also an efficient way to tell if your staff would gladly recommend their workplace to peers. If your employees don’t want to recommend your company to someone, you are in a lot of trouble. So, review and promote your company culture, then get your hands on every recruitment tactic and ally out there. Expand your talent pool by expanding the network of recruiters you work with – and make sure they know their ways around the industry. 

External referrals: Recruitment affiliate software & proper job descriptions 

Well-written and fully optimized job descriptions make a huge difference. And we know all about it. So, we’ll gladly lead by example and share our knowledge in this particular area. Investing a bit of time and energy into optimizing job descriptions will get you amazing conversion rates! And, once again, we strongly recommend adding salary data to your ads. 

Make sure that a job description gives out all the needed information. It should include the job title and brief intro, key responsibilities, what will be expected of them once they are hired, who they will be working alongside, and a full list of must-have qualifications and skills for applying. That way, you will be on the path toward obtaining the best possible results. 

How do you measure candidate experience?

Metrics are super important when it comes to hiring. The essential ones include time to fill, the cost of hire, the source of hire, and more. These figures and insights help companies find out more about their internal strengths and weaknesses. They determine where qualified candidates come from, what entices them, and what keeps them away. These recruitment metrics enable firms to assess and fix their methods and approaches to get better outcomes.

Tracking whether your company grants a good candidate experience is done in a similar way. There are a few calculations and parameters that you must take into account. Now, let’s review them. 

Key recruitment metrics to keep track of 

The essential figures and insights to grab hold of include interview, reputation, and satisfaction metrics. Tracking them throughout the entire recruitment process will help you understand all interactions and perceptions and how they will impact your business and future hiring efforts. In fact, they might just enable you to crack the code on how to hire developers and other professionals you need on your team. So, let’s see what we have on our hands here:

  • Interview metrics: these insights show the quality of the existing interview processes and practices. They include information like the percentage of candidates stating that interviews were scheduled properly and done on time; In addition, they offer whether every candidate was well-informed and how the communication went;
  • Reputation metrics: these facts & figures depict the company’s ability to attract top talent; checking up on internal and external referrals might help you understand the situation better by figuring out whether the employees, selected applicants, and those who didn’t get the job offer would recommend your company to someone;
  • Satisfaction metrics: these scores should be measured various times throughout the hiring process; take a sneak peek at how the candidates felt right after filling out a job application or speaking to a recruiter; seek their opinion between the screenings and interviews, and ask for their honest feedback.

These metrics will show what candidates find appealing, what they aim for, which are the best practices, and what annoys the talent. Also, you will be able to assess recruiters’ performance based on the data you’ve gathered. 

Bonus tip: Candidate experience survey isn’t the key

Technology is changing the staffing industry, and there’s no single shadow of doubt about it. Every business strives to automate and simplify each step of its hiring process. That includes chatbots, automated emails, an ATS, recruitment affiliate software, feedback buttons, and more. Although all of these gizmos can be more than helpful (especially when you know your precise aims & choose the most suitable tools), sometimes it’s best to rely on the human touch. Asking for feedback directly beats any candidate experience survey. 

Here’s the bad news that will make you instantly realize why asking for feedback directly is crucial: everyone would rather speak up about a negative experience than a positive one. In fact, dissatisfied candidates are more likely to go to Glassdoor or any other job board and state what went wrong. That’s how many companies collect negative reviews only & push away some potentially great people. And then there are nearly 50% of US job seekers who will fully rely on the comments they’ve read on these boards. Get ahead of the game and avoid this sort of stigma. Ask for an honest opinion on the process and be truly ready to hear candidates’ thoughts. That way, you will have a chance to brush up on a few points that need a bit of improvement. Lastly, don’t hesitate to ask candidates if they’d mind leaving a review. 

Obtaining great candidate experience is actually so simple! 

So, now you see – great candidate experience is not out of reach. All you need to do is be objective regarding your own expectations and possibilities, speak up about both, and show some respect. And while you’re focusing on these proven strategies & good practices, be sure to keep track of candidate experience metrics

Finally, expand your talent pool and boost every other recruitment metric and KPI by using employee referrals and/or recruitment affiliate software. That way, you will unquestionably secure awesome results and source the best candidates out there.