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The Business Case for Candidate Experience
12 min read

The Business Case for Candidate Experience

The parameters and focus of recruitment are shifting. Not content with the age-old 'advertise-apply-hire' approach, there is an increasing desire to create a more candidate-friendly recruitment model.

And businesses, therefore, must change with the times. Candidate experience can affect how the world perceives you. The world has opened up. The Internet and social platforms reach millions globally, and people can learn anything they desire. And so, there is no hiding for businesses. Any missteps, and poor treatment of candidates, can be recorded online forever. Thus, increasing the need to present yourselves perfectly to the outside world and candidates.

Your interactions and the impression you evoke within candidates could lead them to be promoters or detractors. Either way affects you massively. Thus, affecting how you recruit, manage and grow customer relations and, ultimately, the company's bottom line. 

So, this article will explore why it makes business sense to invest in ways to improve the candidate's experience. What makes candidate experience such a practical and attractive investment for businesses, outlining the benefits achievable in the short and long-term. Which include:

  • A focus on candidate experience can improve the conversion rates of top-tier candidates. They accept roles based on excellent candidate experience and their good feeling about the company. 
  • It can impact your perception as an employer and your branding—an excellent reputation as an employer supported by the hard work during the recruitment process.
  • Positive word-of-mouth spread far and wide. The power of referrals to supplement the talent pipeline and help save money.
  • Revenue growth. Happy candidates make happy customers. Rinse and Repeat.

So, with that said, what is the business case for candidate experience? 

The value of great candidates

To be the best company, you need the best.

But with competition for great applicants, these candidates need to be wowed by what a business can offer them. Not just in terms of the role but the working environment and culture. So, to ensure candidates maintain interest, candidate experience can play a significant role in attracting and keeping candidates engaged in the recruitment process.‍


Everything candidate's want in a business

Today, the applicant's image of a company is shaped mainly by the candidate's experience in the recruitment process. Therefore, the first impressions of the candidate go a long way to determining the future relationship. And how much you emphasize providing a stellar experience is how much you are likely to cash out in terms of active candidate interest in the organization. 

A candidate met with an exciting brand, alongside a warm and friendly recruitment team who stress the brilliant opportunity the role represents for this candidate, will feel wanted. Aware of the progress of the recruitment process, receiving news about the organization and efforts made to build a rapport between candidate and company, will make the candidate feel respected. In addition, 78% of candidates say the candidate experience they get tells them how a company values its people

 So, when the time comes, there will not be any deliberation. The candidate will know that this is a company for them, and a resounding yes will signal the start of what hopes to be a fruitful relationship. All through hard work and an excellent candidate experience strategy‍


How poor Candidate Experience can affect hiring

However, if the candidate experience is not great, and there has been no hunger to build a connection between candidate and company, it can negatively affect the candidate conversion rate. Not supported, no information, the best candidates will look elsewhere—and so, withdrawing their application. Thus, leaving a company with a smaller pool of applicants who may be less qualified.


The importance of Candidate Experience to recruit the best talent

An organization with the right personnel in place is vital to the growth and success of a business. The input of top talent may lead to new ideas and innovative solutions to improve business processes. But, due to poor candidate experience, these applicants may have lost interest in both the role and the company. As a result, the business is the one to suffer. Without the right talent, businesses can't improve; it is straightforward.  

And the candidate's treatment during the recruitment process can have implications for future employee turnover rates. Those who are satisfied with the company are more likely to stick around. And happiness in a job can lead to better performance. Happy employees are 12% more productive than their unhappy counterparts. Because of the positive recruitment process, candidates were glad to accept, having found a workplace culture that suits their personality. 

And this sense of belonging increases motivation, loyalty and desire to work for a place that they consider 'home'. The excellent candidate experience brought the right person to the company. So, highlighting the return of investment that successful candidate experience can bring to an organization. 


Candidate Experience can contribute to a super employer brand.

Excellent employer branding can give candidates a compelling reason to want to work for a company. However, in a competitive landscape, recruitment of the best talent is coming down to fine margins. With so much choice available, candidates are expecting the best. Therefore, how businesses present and market themselves beyond traditional modes, jobs, and workplace culture is critical to connecting with possible game-changing candidates of different demographics.

Candidates seek a holistic picture of an organization before applying for a role, with 75% of job seekers considering the employer branding before applying. Gone are the days, where salary and location are the only concerns. Instead, they want to understand the business identity better and what an employee can offer for their skills and experience. 

So, businesses now focus on projecting the perfect image of their organization. And how there's is the right place for talent to develop and enjoy their daily work. So, this is why employer branding has reached such importance.


How can the candidate experience impact employer branding?

Candidate experience plays an integral role in shaping a businesses' reputation, on which a great employer brand relies. The work done in connecting to candidates before the application process attracts positive interest with what the company and role can offer. And the engagement during the recruitment phase, treating candidates well alongside the insight into the great workforce and culture there. 

 If the candidate experience is successful, it can help businesses hire and retain the best talent for their jobs. Which, in turn, improves the brand of a company. Success breeds success. Improved performance sparks increased coverage of a company's positive growth, increasing numbers of great applicants who want to join the organization.

It can also show unsuccessful candidates that they have been treated with class, although disappointed at being rejected. And make sure that as they go about their lives, their perception of the company and employer brand is overwhelmingly positive. A shiny, new convert to the business and potential advocate/customer.‍


Negative Candidate Experience = negative Employer Brand

However, if businesses do not take candidate experience seriously, it can damage the brand. With the Internet, a ready source of information, 72% of candidates have claimed to have shared a poor candidate experience on websites such as Glassdoor. Thus, the candidates browsing can quickly learn which companies to avoid, affecting the ability to attract individuals and recruit new employees to improve overall performance and revenue. 

Employer brand damaged. As well as increasing the cost of hiring. Candidates don't want to work at companies with lousy reputations; 50% stated they would not, even for a pay increase

Therefore, recruitment is more costly, the ability to hire the right talent is hamstrung, and business and reputation are negatively affected—all pretty damning evidence in favour of candidate experience for the brand and growth of the company. 

"Have you heard about…" How positive candidate experience can benefit businesses long-term

A positive candidate experience can have long-term benefits for a business. In extending the white-glove treatment to applicants, an excellent engagement can hopefully guarantee two things:

  1. The reputation of a company retains its golden shine
  2. The pipeline of future interest for roles within the organization and customer attraction remains intact

For candidates, excellent candidate experience can make them more likely to become an advocate for a company. Like a game of word association, they will never forget their fond encounter with your company. Regardless if they were a successful recruit. 

And this is of such importance for businesses. Life continues after a specific recruitment process, and there may be plenty of times candidates encounter said organization when looking for other jobs, in conversation, or as a customer. Businesses need a cheerful voice to champion them to the outside world for their future success and growth. And positive candidate experience can facilitate this.


An applicant who has had a positive candidate experience is the perfect spokesman. They have seen the business up-close, engaged with its teams, and seen what they can offer candidates. They peered through the looking glass and liked what they saw. 

In today's world, much is based on reputation and how one presents themselves. So, having past candidates fight the corner of a company and trumpet its values, the work and people at a company are vital to impress future interest. 

Especially within the melting pot of the online world, job sites and social media platforms. 86% of employees and job seekers research companies through reviews and ratings to decide whether to apply for a job or not. So, when other's words can have such an impact on deciding to favour one company or another, it is imperative they can access positive accounts and stories of a business. Great candidate experience can support these. The candidate's experience, they write online about it, others read. The wheel never stops turning. And so, the positive information acquired can contribute to fantastic talent deciding to apply for a role within your company. 

Furthermore, 45% of applicants' preferred source of finding jobs is via their friends. These are the people they trust, who they know won't be biased, and will provide an honest appraisal for a company. So, with their patronage, businesses can expect an increase in role interest and applications. 

Referrals based on excellent candidate experience are a key growth lever for companies. It can increase active interest and bring positive attention to how fantastic an organization is. Who doesn't want to work at a company like that? 


How referrals can help businesses save money 

Additionally, excellent candidate experience and the referrals past candidates make are a fantastic cost-saving exercise. The candidates are doing the job of spreading your company's message, ballooning its reputation among friends and online communities, evangelizing the brand and influencing others decision making to apply for positions. 

Therefore, reducing the reliance upon other costly forms of marketing. Because of the investment made into candidate experience, you can utilize these existing relationships with a brand to market the company as the best place for great talent. The reputation speaks for itself.


How candidate experience can impact revenue

The impacts of negative candidate experience can be far-reaching, including within the consumer side of the business. 

As has been said before, candidates and businesses don't just disappear from one another's lives. And any encounter they may have, their past candidate experience will instantly materialize within the customer's mind. According to a Zendesk study, 46% of candidates remember bad experiences two or more years ago. So, the lack of feedback, communication during the hiring process could eventually come back and bite a business in their wallet.


Uh, oh, the worst-case scenario. 

42% of candidates believe that their dismal candidate experience will stop them from buying products from a company. And the beauty of the word of mouth marketing leads to 34% telling their friends and family to do the same. Unhappy candidates can create disillusioned customers. And what unites the two? Yes, you got that right—the candidate's experience.

Candidates are the future of a business in terms of future employees and as potential consumers. No business in the world can afford to lose customers. Hitting companies in their revenue streams, crucial sources of income to improve as an organization. In addition, this can strengthen competitors who have received an up-turn in customers due to candidates/consumers searching for alternatives. 


But, there is hope!

With an emphasis on providing superb candidate experience, businesses can avoid this type of doomsday situation. 64% of candidates who had a positive candidate experience were willing to increase a relationship with companies

There is a tangible link between a positive candidate experience and companies benefiting financially. Consumers will always want products. But today, with the importance of reputation, customers are far happier giving their money to companies they feel they have a personal connection to and know to be good people. 

Great candidate experience can unite the two and create brand loyalty. Candidates who enjoyed their experience, impressed by the organization and its workforce will spend their money with these businesses. 


Why is Candidate Experience so crucial for businesses?

For businesses, the case for investing and offering excellent candidate experience is incontestable. 

The companies that engage effectively and adapt their recruitment process to this new need will stand out. The company of choice for top candidates and ensure you achieve total value on the investment made into measuring and improving the candidate experience.

There are many benefits both in the short-term and long-term for organizations. And an increased focus on providing applicants with a personal, warm insight into how their company operates. Some of the benefits to a company because of investment into excellent candidate experience include:

  • An improvement in conversion rates of fantastic talent. It can stress to the top candidates why this company is the place for them.
  • It can enhance the reputation and branding of an employer. Candidates are attracted to this, so they wish to work for businesses that highlight these traits.
  • It can improve a businesses' reach and ensure that talent remembers you fondly. Word of mouth marketing is vital, and positive referrals can ensure candidates know where to go when searching for a new job.
  • It can ensure candidates become or maintain their connection post-recruitment process. They are happy to spend money on your products and solutions based on the organization's excellent candidate experience and view.