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Talent Management

What It Means to Provide a Good Candidate Experience (and Why You Should Care)

Creating a good job search experience for applicants isn’t just good will; it’s good business.

“Providing a good candidate experience is a win-win for both candidates and employers,” says Sanja Licina, Ph.D., Senior Director of Talent Intelligence and Consulting at CareerBuilder. Creating a positive experience for candidates applying to your jobs isn’t solely in the best interest of the candidates, Licina says, who identified the following two ways employers stand to gain from the effort.

A Good Applicant Experience Sets Your Company Apart From Competitors: Companies like Zappos, Southwest and Amazon differentiate themselves by providing superior customer service. Employers can take a similar approach to recruiting, as today’s candidates treat the job search like a major purchasing decision. When you treat candidates well, not only do they remember you, but they tell others about you, too. The vast majority of job search candidates – Millennials, in particular – discuss their job search experience with others, both in-person and through social media, according to the recent 2012 Candidate Behavior Study.  In the same study, 34 percent of job candidates strongly agreed that their experience during the application process – whether positive or negative – affected their decision to accept a position.

The way you treat candidates during the application process (namely, the frequency and manner in which you respond to them and keep them informed of their application status) gives candidates a peek into how you will treat them as employees, and candidates take that into great consideration when it comes to accepting an offer – or deciding to apply to other opportunities with your company later on. (Bottom line: If you’re not providing a good applicant experience, you could be losing out on a significant number of qualified candidates.)

The Better the Candidate Experience, the Better the Business Results:  Results from CareerBuilder’s recent Applicant Experience study show that companies do not just lose potential candidates when they have a negative application experience with their companies; they also lose customers; 32 percent of job candidates said they are less likely to purchase a product from a company who didn’t respond to their job application. Moreover, 44 percent of workers who didn’t hear back from an employer when they applied for a job said they have a worse opinion of that company.

“When employers start to feel the pain of not being able to find a certain demographic of talent, they might not know to look into the candidate experience they’re providing,” says Licina. She suggests that employers start thinking of the job search as a partnership, where both sides are assessing whether the other one is a good fit for the other. “In the end, even if the candidate doesn’t turn out to be the right fit for one particular position, you can still add that person to your talent network.”

As for the argument that trying to keep in touch with every candidate might be far too time-consuming for some employers, Licina says time isn’t the issue. “People tend to think, ‘I don’t have time to do this,’ but that’s because they don’t think it’s important enough to make a priority,” says Licina. “But now we not only have the data to say, ‘The candidate experience IS important’, we also have the technology – such as CareerBuilder’s Applicant Experience tool – to help you measure the success of your efforts and create a best–in-class applicant experience. If employers want to see these benefits, it is important that they shift their priorities and treat the candidate experience as a real business initiative.”

Mary Lorenz

About Mary Lorenz

Mary is a copywriter for CareerBuilder, specializing in B2B marketing and corporate recruiting best practices and social media. In addition to creating copy for corporate advertising and marketing campaigns, she researches and writes about employee attraction, engagement and retention. Whenever possible, she makes references to pop culture. Sometimes, those references are even relevant. A New Orleans native, Mary now lives in Chicago, right down the street from the best sushi place in the city. It's awesome.
4 comments
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