Recruiting 101: What Is Candidate Experience?

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What is candidate experience?

What is candidate experience?

Candidate experience means the feelings, behaviors and attitudes job candidates face as they interact with your recruitment process.

Feelings are how the candidate reacts emotionally to what they experience. They are internal, immediate, often irrational, and hard to control. For example, an applicant finds your application form long and repetitive, and she becomes frustrated and flustered.

Behaviors are the way the candidate conducts themselves in response to what they experience. Behaviors are external, often flow out of feelings, and sometimes happen unconsciously. For example, your now-frustrated applicant loses patience and clicks the ‘submit’ button five times, sending five incomplete applications to your database.

Attitudes are the candidate’s settled way of thinking about your recruitment process and company. They take shape over the course of an experience and often stick around long after it has ended. For example, the unsuccessful applicant’s attitude towards you sours, and she eagerly writes a review about her bad experience on your company’s Glassdoor profile.

candidate experience definition

How does candidate experience affect hiring?

According to a nationwide survey by CareerBuilder, faced with a bad candidate experience:

  • 42% of workers would never seek employment with a company again
  • 22% would tell others not to work there
  • 9% would tell others not to purchase products or services from the company

On the flip-side, if they had a good candidate experience:

  • 56% would consider seeking employment with the company again in the future
  • 37% would tell others to seek employment there
  • 23% would be more likely to purchase products or services from the company

Can candidate experience be measured?

Yes. A candidate feedback survey can be sent to candidates when they exit the recruitment process, whether they were declined, opted out, or were hired. The survey can ask both closed-ended and open-ended questions to measure the experience and pinpoint problems and potential improvements.

Social media listening (tracking what is being said about your company on the internet) can also be used to track candidate experience.

What factors most affect candidate experience?

Though candidate experience is influenced by your recruitment process in many different ways, one factor stands out:

“The single strongest factor in a company’s candidate experience rating is the extent to which a candidate leaves the recruiting process perceiving, feeling and knowing they were given a fair chance. If you ask a candidate, ‘Were you able to fully share your background, your knowledge, your competency, your skills, your experience with us so that you believe we got what we needed to fairly judge you?’ The candidates who say yes will absolutely rate their experience higher.”

Gerry Crispin, Co-Founder, Candidate Experience Awards

Read more of Gerry Crispin’s candidate experience insights

Read more Recruiting 101

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