Employers seem to finally be coming to terms with the importance of the candidate experience. A better candidate experience will help you in many ways; whether its better word-of-mouth about working at your company, more candidates wanting to work for you, or their acceptance of your offers of employment. Ultimately there is no downside to improving the recruitment process in general.

In my last post, I discussed the company culture, and how important it was to look for candidate’s that would fit into that culture. Part of that process is building the culture into the overall candidate experience, and setting expectations from the start. In a recent study conducted by The Talent Board for last years Candidate Experience Awards, over half of all candidates surveyed said they would be likely to apply again, 43.5% were likely to refer a friend to the company, and up to a whopping 73.5% were highly likely to tell their friends about their experience, whether positive or negative.

Recruitment Marketing

Knowing how important the candidate experience is from your organization’s perspective is the easy part.  But, you should be looking at it from the opposite perspective. As a job seeker, the process is overwhelming, especially in today’s market. There are thousands of listings available at their fingertips, and more than half are most likely bogus. Of the remaining listings, many look the same, and some don’t even describe the position effectively, let alone the culture of the hiring company. Recruitment marketing is an important aspect of the candidate experience and it should be fully integrated with your overall brand.  Establishing that initial impression is a critical step in the hiring process at any level.

In the same CANDe awards research cited above, respondents indicated that the following communications occurred between employers and candidates PRIOR to the candidates even applying.
  • 96.7% Career Site (primary)
  • 77.5% LinkedIn Company Pages
  • 62.9% Facebook Company Career Page
  • 86.5% Career Site (notifications)
  • 43.9% Twitter Feeds

Communication throughout the recruitment process is critical after the candidate does first apply. Setting and managing expectations is key in building trust. Be sure to explain every aspect of the hiring process to the candidate, and follow through on each step from your end. Make sure you let candidates know even when the don’t land the position.


Once you have filtered through your applicants, the interview is the next phase of your candidate experience, which has of course now become the applicant experience. The phone and eventually personal interviews are the two most engaging moments of the recruitment process and you should constantly be doing whatever you can to streamline and optimize the process. When going through the interviews process, make sure you communicate with applicants to let them know if they will or will not be moving forward after each step.

Background Screening

A large part of the recruitment experience today involves applicant background screening. Most applicants are aware that you will be screening them in some form or another, but many have no idea to what extent. Explain in detail each background check you will be performing; criminal background checks, reference checks, drug testing, education verifications, etc. By explaining these checks up front, you will not take the applicant off-guard at the end of the hiring process.

With that being said, there are many tools you can use to help educate applicants and provide access to information throughout the screening process.  Companies such as ours often provide an online method by which to access applications, upload files, view results, etc.  These types of tools provide complete transparent and lends itself well to the level of communication you want to demonstrate to your applicants to give them peace of mind.


Regardless of whether or not you hire an applicant, you should ask the few who made it to the end of the process to provide you feedback on the process, Many will have others they can compare with. If you have given them a decent experience so far, nearly all will be open to providing their thoughts on your process. No matter what the feedback, the applicants will see you are making the effort to improve, and respect their opinion. Hopefully this will influence their overall perception of your organization and they can communicate that to others.

These are just a very few things you can focus on to begin improving your candidate experience in your organization. What other suggestions do you have? Let us know below.

For other best practices subscribe to our blog here, and download our free 23 page guide to Applicant Background Screening in 2014.


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