Positive Candidate Experiences Are Good for Your Bottom Line

Date: 12-23-2019 | Category: For Employers,News | Reading Time: 4 Minutes

The talent acquisition process can be difficult for employers, but it can be downright brutal for candidates. We’ve probably all heard variations of horror stories like these:

  • A candidate shows up for a scheduled interview and the interviewers (recruiters and/or hiring managers) are late or don’t ever show up.
  • A candidate agrees to come into the company’s offices for five or six interviews, but they are scheduled across five or six different days.
  • A candidate must spend 30-45 minutes filling out overly detailed forms or inputting information into the applicant tracking database.
  • A candidate gets “ghosted” by employers and never receives any communications about their status.

Recent data suggests that employers who engage in such practices are doing themselves a grave disservice. The most apparent risk companies face is that qualified, talented candidates will accept offers from other employers, including the competition.

The good news is—the opposite can be true for positive candidate experiences.

Before going further, it is important to know that candidates outnumber new hires by a ratio that is roughly 100:1. Since it’s not uncommon for larger employers to fill 1,000 slots annually, based on this industry average this would mean that their total candidates could exceed 100,000. That is 100,000 people who will likely remember the good, the bad, and the ugly of their talent acquisition experience.

Consider these potential candidate experience outcomes:

Positive Candidate Experience Poor Candidate Experience
Loyalty: Candidates who feel their experience was positive are much more likely to purchase the products and services of that company. And, they will likely refer others to apply for future openings.

A prominent multinational corporation believes that rejected candidates are actually a key customer base. By treating these candidates with dignity, and by offering them coupons and discounts, the corporation was able to create a new revenue stream that reached $300 million.

Resentment: Candidates who feel their experience was negative are much less likely to purchase a company’s products and services. Furthermore, they could engage in a campaign of destruction, via reviews intended to damage a company or brand (i.e. like those nasty, negative reviews on Yelp).

This is especially true for business-to-consumer companies that compete in the retail, hospitality, and travel sectors—where viral negativity can result in millions of dollars of lost annual revenue.

Talented Candidates Refer Other Talented Candidates: A candidate’s positive experience greatly increases the opportunity for more and better referrals in the future.

Employers with the ability to acquire quality talent to fill open positions are well-positioned to grow their businesses and acquire even more customers.

Talented Candidates Steer Clear: A candidate’s negative experience greatly diminishes the opportunity for quality referrals in the future. Candidates will warn their friends and professional networks to avoid any employment opportunities at the company they’ve blacklisted.

With over one million more openings than there are candidates to fill them, there is a war for talent. Therefore, companies that cannot attract quality candidates are putting their growth plans in serious jeopardy.

Here are some ways to ensure a positive candidate experience:

  1. Simplify the candidate application process

Many employers believe that lengthy applications will somehow weed out candidates who are less committed, but this is not true. A CareerBuilder study found that 60% of job seekers get frustrated with long and complex online job applications, and simply abandon these types of applications.

Other studies indicate that for every additional line on a job application, the probability of applicants completing the form decreases by 30%.

Candidates value their time, and with so many other positions open and available to them, they tend to be attracted to companies that make the application process quick and easy.

From time-to-time, employers should try to fill out their own online application form. This gives employers a better sense of how time-consuming and difficult (or simple and easy) it is to complete.

  1. Communicate and keep on communicating:

Candidates deserve to know where they stand when they apply for a job. Employers that consistently communicate with applicants are much more likely to achieve a positive candidate experience. Here’s how to do it:

  • Acknowledge a candidate’s application. Let candidates know as soon as possible if they will or won’t be considered for a role.
  • Set clear expectations and timelines. The interviewing process can occasionally get drawn out. If you let candidates know this upfront, it will help keep them engaged.
  • Regularly call or email candidates with status updates. This accomplishes two things: First, candidates will appreciate the effort. Second, it’s a great way to find out if candidates are still interested or not. For example, they might have accepted a competing offer.
  • Don’t delay conveying bad news. Let candidates know if they are not going to receive an offer. If possible, follow the example of the multinational corporation and send coupons or discounts to help them feel good about their experience.

Today’s job market is highly competitive and companies cannot afford to lose out on quality talent due to subpar candidate experiences. Successful employers who adopt best-practices for their talent acquisition strategies will not only be able to hire the best talent, they will also grow their businesses as a result.