Everyone knows candidate experience is important. Because of course it is. You want job seekers to have positive thoughts and feelings about their interactions with your organization, from the first whiff of a job posting or social media post to their experiences during your virtual recruiting events and interviews, right down to the final decision point. The thing is, giving candidates warm fuzzy feelings about your organization isn’t the only reason to invest in candidate experience and it may not even be the top reason. Offering a great candidate experience also helps you attract, hire, and ultimately retain great talent, a perk that benefits your organization for years to come.
To create a great candidate experience, you first need to understand what kind of candidate experience you’re currently providing. Asking candidates for feedback on the recruiting process is one way to find out. It’s also smart to ask recent hires about their experiences, as well as employees who have been with you for a while. By gathering feedback from people who went through the recruiting process at different times, you can look for patterns and trends and determine whether your candidate experience is currently better, worse, or about the same as it was a year or two ago.
How to Improve Candidate Experience
Once you know where you are, you can begin to think about where to go next. You may not be able to transform your candidate experience overnight but taking small steps to improve your recruiting process can go a long way. For starters, put yourself in a job seeker’s shoes and walk through the process. Where are the frustrations? Where are the moments of joy? Adjust your strategies to address the pain points and your candidate experience will improve. (And we’ll dive deeper into what kinds of candidate experience strategies work best in future articles, so stay tuned.)
For now, let’s get back to the initial question at hand:
Why does a great candidate experience help employers attract top talent?
Here are just some of the reasons.
Improves Acceptance Rates
When candidates have a great experience during the recruiting process, they may be more likely to accept a job offer. Conversely, a poor experience can negatively affect your acceptance rate. A recent report from CareerPlug found that 50% of respondents declined a job offer due to poor experience. This suggests many talented job seekers could be turned off by a poor candidate experience, making it more difficult for you to land your ideal candidates.
Decreases Time to Hire
Many Brazen customers report a decrease in time to hire after implementing strategies that improve candidate experience, such as virtual career fairs and video interviews, which make the recruiting process easier for candidates to access on their schedules and without the burden of travel. For example, our customer AdventHealth, a CandE award winner, said virtual recruiting helped them cut time to hire by over 10 days. Speeding up time to hire helps organizations land top talent by moving those candidates swiftly through the recruiting process and reducing the chance that they will be lured away by a competing offer.
Translates to Better Employee Experience
Candidate experience is a marker of your organizational culture and, chances are, your employees are enjoying a similarly positive experience. (If they aren’t, this is an opportunity for growth.) Improving the candidate experience can, over time, improve the employee experience, as fresh talent comes in with their positive feelings and hopeful outlook. New hires who just had a great candidate experience come into their new roles full of excitement and optimism, which leads to higher employee engagement and can be contagious (in a good way).
Improves Quality of Hires
A great candidate experience helps you attract top talent, and it also helps you make better hires. The equation is simple: when the top of your recruiting funnel has more qualified candidates coming in and a great candidate experience keeps them engaged in the recruiting process, you can improve the quality of your shortlist and extend offers to candidates who are truly the best fit for the roles you have available. A great candidate experience really impacts the top of the funnel when it comes to referrals, typically a great source of top talent. Poor candidate experience can lead to reduction in referrals, according to RallyFwd attendees, so working to improve candidate experience can protect that valuable sourcing channel.
Strengthens Employer Brand
Employer branding affects nearly every aspect of recruiting, as well as other areas of business, so it’s important to understand its relationship with candidate experience. Nearly one quarter (24%) of candidates said they’ve left a negative review online after having a negative experience with the recruiting process and 44% of candidates said they’ve left a positive review online after having a positive experience, according to CareerPlug research.
A Great Candidate Experience Sets You Apart from the Crowd
In today’s virtual world, organizations offering a great candidate experience really stand out. Understanding how candidate experience affects the quality of your talent pipeline and the outcome of your hiring decisions is the key to building a foundation for improving your candidate experience. And, for some organizations, drawing these connections may be essential to getting necessary support from executive leadership as you work to develop and implement strategies to improve your candidate experience over time.