What is Candidate Experience? Ways to Improve It

Karen Axelton
June 21, 2024
5 min read

The hiring process is a two-way street. While organizations evaluate candidates for a position, candidates also form an opinion about the company—this is where candidate experience comes into play. Candidate experience refers to the overall perception a candidate forms about an organization throughout the hiring process. A positive candidate experience is crucial for building a strong employer brand, attracting top talent, and increasing the chance of successful hires.

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What is candidate experience?

Candidate experience encompasses every interaction a job candidate has with an employer, from the initial job search and application process to the final hiring decision and beyond. It includes all touchpoints between an employer and a job candidate, such as the job description, application process, interviews, background check, and onboarding. A positive candidate experience is one in which the candidate feels valued, respected, and informed throughout the hiring process.

Candidate experience is not just about filling job positions; it's about building relationships and creating a positive impression of your company. A well-crafted candidate experience can serve as a powerful tool for employer branding, showcasing the company's values, culture, and commitment to diversity and inclusion. By prioritizing candidate experience, employers can not only attract and hire the best talent but also foster a positive employer brand that resonates with job seekers and the broader community.

Why is a great candidate experience important?

A positive candidate experience is integral to an organization's success in talent acquisition and overall employer branding. Here are several reasons why candidate experience is important:

Competitive advantage

In a competitive job market, a positive candidate experience can give an organization a significant advantage in attracting and retaining top talent. Candidates who have a positive experience are more likely to accept job offers, become loyal employees, and serve as brand ambassadors for the company.

Reduced time-to-fill positions

A positive candidate experience can help reduce the time it takes to fill open positions. When candidates have a positive experience, they are more likely to move quickly through the hiring process and accept job offers. This can save organizations time and resources in the long run.

Enhanced employer brand reputation

A positive candidate experience can significantly enhance an organization's employer brand reputation. Candidates who have a positive experience are more likely to share their positive experiences with others, including potential candidates, employees, and customers. This can help organizations attract top talent and build a strong employer brand.

Increased likelihood of accepted offer

Candidates who have a positive experience are more likely to accept job offers. When candidates feel valued, respected, and informed throughout the hiring process, they are more likely to be excited about the opportunity to work for the organization.

Build positive relationships with candidates

A positive candidate experience can help organizations build positive relationships with candidates, even if they are not ultimately hired. Candidates who have a positive experience are more likely to stay in touch with the organization and may be interested in future opportunities. This can help organizations build a strong talent pipeline and maintain a positive employer brand.

On the other hand, a poor candidate experience can damage an employer's reputation, making it challenging to attract top talent. Poor experiences can also lead to candidates sharing their dissatisfaction with others, deterring potential candidates. Additionally, a poor candidate experience could result in legal consequences, especially if the hiring process is perceived as discriminatory or unfair.

What is considered a positive candidate experience journey?

A positive candidate experience journey is one in which the candidate feels valued, respected, and informed throughout the hiring process. This includes clear and consistent communication throughout the process, a streamlined and efficient application process, opportunities for candidates to showcase their skills and experiences, a timely and transparent decision-making process, efficient pre-employment background checks, and professional onboarding experience.

How to improve the candidate experience during the hiring process

One of the most important aspects of creating a positive candidate experience is ensuring that job postings are accurate and informative. This means providing clear and concise information about the position, the company, and the hiring process. 

There are several other candidate experience best practices to consider. For example, providing a clear and easy-to-follow application process. This means having a user-friendly online application form and providing clear instructions on how to complete it. It is also important to make sure that the application process is not too complex, as this can deter candidates from applying.

A positive and professional interview experience is also important for creating a positive candidate experience. This means creating a welcoming and comfortable environment for candidates and asking relevant and appropriate questions. It is also important to be respectful of candidates' time and to make sure the interview process is not too lengthy.

Finally, it is important to get feedback from candidates through candidate experience surveys. This feedback can be used to identify areas where the hiring process can be improved. It is also important to take the time to thank candidates for their feedback and to let them know how their input will be considered.

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Top metrics to measure candidate experience

How to measure candidate experience may include several metrics, such as application completion rate, time-to-fill, candidate satisfaction, and offer acceptance rate. By tracking these candidate experience metrics, employers can identify how to improve candidate experience to attract and hire the best possible talent.

  • Application complete rate measures the percentage of candidates who start an application and complete it. A high application completion rate indicates that candidates are finding the application process easy and user-friendly. A low application completion rate could indicate that the application process needs to be shorter or less complex.
  • Time-to-fill measures the amount of time it takes to fill a job opening, from the time the job is posted to the time an offer is accepted. A short time-to-fill indicates that the employer is efficient in the hiring process and is able to quickly identify and hire qualified candidates. A long time-to-fill could indicate the employer is not effectively reaching its target audience or the hiring process is inefficient or disorganized.
  • Candidate satisfaction measures the level of satisfaction that candidates have with the hiring process, which can be measured through surveys, interviews, or other methods. High candidate satisfaction indicates that candidates are having a positive experience with the hiring process and are likely to recommend the company to others. Low candidate satisfaction could indicate that the hiring process is not meeting the needs of candidates.
  • Offer acceptance rate measures the percentage of candidates who accept job offers. A high offer acceptance rate indicates that candidates are interested in the job and the company and are confident in their ability to succeed in the role. A low offer acceptance rate could indicate that candidates are not interested in the job or the company, or that they are not confident in their ability to succeed in the role.

Employers can gain valuable insights into the candidate experience and identify areas where they can improve. This can help employers to attract and hire the best possible talent and to create a positive employer brand.

Continue creating a positive candidate experience with Checkr

Checkr can help you create a positive candidate experience with fast, accurate background checks. We offer a candidate-friendly screening process to help employers make a great first impression and build a trusted team. With an intuitive interface, responsive customer support, and real-time report updates, we help save you time and resources. Plus, our integrations with your current HRIS and ATS hiring tools streamline the hiring process and reduce time-to-hire for qualified candidates. Get started today.

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Disclaimer

The resources and information provided here are for educational and informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Always consult your own counsel for up-to-date legal advice and guidance related to your practices, needs, and compliance with applicable laws.

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About the author

Karen Axelton writes about business topics and best practices. She has written hundreds of articles on business subjects, including background screening, hiring and employment trends, human resource management, and the use of technology in the workplace. Her work includes educational articles, e-books, white papers, and case studies.

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