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Why Negative Candidate Experience Matters and How to Improve It
11 min read

Why Negative Candidate Experience Matters and How to Improve It

Candidates are more likely to accept a job offer if they have a positive experience during the recruitment process. Businesses must prioritize respectful, transparent, and consistent recruitment processes to maintain a positive reputation and Employer Branding. The article offers tips to improve recruitment processes, including streamlining, focusing on the candidate, educating and rewarding employees, and listening to feedback. Improving Candidate Experience can lead to better relationships with candidates and a positive impact on a company's reputation and revenue.

The way businesses recruit is constantly evolving.

And an increased focus on Candidate Experience has become a significant part of this change. 

Candidates are 38% more likely to accept a job offer if the Candidate Experience has been a positive one.

Recruitment and Human Resources teams are tasked with the vital role of representing their company and brand among candidates and providing a respectful, transparent and consistent recruitment process.

Company's see the value of a positive reputation among candidates for many reasons. These include:

  • You are keeping the recruitment pipeline overflowing with excellent talent and candidates.
  • Acquire and retain customer support based on excellent candidate experience.
  • Maintaining a positive reputation and excellent employer branding.
  • Thus reinforcing to employees and candidates that this is the workplace for them. It is improving loyalty, engagement and retention among staff. Why go anywhere else?


Just as positive Candidate Experiences can improve positive recognition and support for companies, a negative Candidate Experience can cause disaster.

It could cause you to lose customers, damaging your revenue, or have your brand and reputation dragged through the mud across the Internet.




Streamline Your Recruitment Process

The search for the right candidate requires proper consideration and time. That is undebatable.

But does it need to drag on for several weeks or months? With candidates often left in the dark, expecting news and not receiving any in some instances.

Despite recruitment processes becoming more automated, the average hiring process has doubled from 30 to 68 days.

This can explain why candidates have significant frustrations with the recruitment process and causes terrible candidate experience.

So, what can I do?

If possible, companies shouldn't let the recruitment process drag on. Make it exciting and enjoyable, don't have your candidates sitting there waiting for your emails and calls. Make them an active part of the recruitment process.

There is nothing quite like boredom and frustration at a lack of communication to turn candidates off a company. 

66% of job seekers said they would wait only two weeks for a call, after which they consider the job a lost cause and move on to other opportunities.

You've lost a potentially excellent candidate and possibly sullied your company's brand and reputation through inaction. You are losing customers and money. Not great. 

Here are some practical tips your company can use to improve your recruitment process and turn bad experiences into excellent candidate experience, whether they are successful in getting the job or not:


Evaluate every step in your recruitment process

By understanding how it flows, you will better see how you can improve. Knowing what steps are essential and not and create more moments to engage with candidates.


Combine parts of the recruitment process

Help to make the recruitment process more concise. Combine tasks and tests. Doing this makes the candidates feel that they are progressing. Things are happening which maintains their interest and focus on your company.


Set the expectations right from the start by providing candidates with a clear timeline of the recruitment process

Explaining how long it will take from beginning to end when they should expect to hear news regarding each stage if they have progressed or not. 


Be transparent with candidates

A company needs to be open and forthcoming with information about the recruitment process. This gives the candidates the heads up in terms of news and shows them that your organization respects their time and patience.

Following these points will not only turn bad Candidate Experience into something far more positive. But is also capable of boosting your brand image. 

By promoting a transparent and open brand that is considerate of all candidates and individuals it interacts with – this is a brand reputation you can be proud of.

The Candidates are Your Central Focus

When searching for recruits to fill a position within an organization, a company's priority is to find the one person who fits perfectly.

That is entirely understandable.

You have finite time and resources, and in most cases, need to fill the role within a specific timeframe.

But should that singular approach come at the cost of ignoring, casting aside the 50, 100 or 1000 others who were unsuccessful applicants for the role?

Can you have both?

75% of applicants never received news or feedback from a company they expressed interest in.

Suppose you want to stop the horrible candidate experiences and the negative association on your business and reputation. To do that, the focus needs to be on all candidates.

And make sure you are providing them with the necessary support and personal touch during the recruitment process.

You can do this by:


Making sure any interaction with candidates is conducted in a friendly and warm manner

Make the candidates feel welcome, and you are so happy to interact with them. On your website, career pages, your tone of voice is key to introducing your company to potential candidates.


Ensure your job specification is easy to understand

No unnecessary words or business jargon that will only confuse. Your message to applicants is to the point. What do you require in a candidate, the importance of the job and what you can offer as a company? 


No overload of forms

Keep the application simple. Candidates do not want to have to complete an application that will take longer than 20 minutes.


Answering questions and queries candidates may have promptly before they apply, during the application and after

Any time! Answering their worries helps put the candidates at ease and lets them know that they are on the right track. Showing your support and willingness to help can reinforce candidates that they made the right choice to apply to your company.


Go the extra mile

Check-in with your candidates. Provide news on the company, the application, how things are progressing. Regular updates maintain candidates' interest and engagement.

Simple, personal touches that should not be too time-consuming. To ensure your candidates have a great experience of your recruitment process.

This style of approach reflects well on your business. It helps to maintain interest among candidates, meaning they are actively involved in the recruitment process, rather than waiting around, dragging their feet, as they await a meagre yes or no.

And if it is a 'no', at least your organization can say that you did everything in your power to make sure all candidates were treated fairly and honestly.

Rather than have all the built-up resentment and frustration among candidates explode across the Internet, pouring negativity across your company's reputation.


Educate and Reward: Get Your Company Behind Excellent Candidate Experience 

Like anything, education is key to personal and group development.

Organizations need to know and understand what constitutes a bad Candidate Experience and the methods required to make it an excellent one.

Through this, you can prevent future issues and bring a company-wide approach to interacting with candidates during the recruitment process.

This company-wide awareness needs to extend to the whole of the company from top to bottom.

From your Senior Management to your Junior Recruiter fresh from University, they must all be well-versed in the importance of Candidate Experience. 

The benefits of this new approach for your business and the horror stories of what negative Candidate Experience can do commercially to a business. And to their reputation.

You could achieve this through:


Group training sessions

This will help improve knowledge and understanding, which will enhance better performance and the achievement of targets. Provide case studies or talks from those involved with other companies to improve their Candidate Experience. Evidence to back up why Candidate Experience is so important.


Hammer it home!

If you introduce new tools for your recruitment process, you could provide tutorials on how to master and maximize significant interactions with your candidates during their journey. You are making excellent Candidate Experience easily achievable with clearly distinguished steps and guidelines on how to provide it for your recruitment teams.


Create a reward system

Nothing motivates employees like competition! You could make an award or provide monthly/yearly prizes that reward the purveyor of the best Candidate Experience. People will see how they can improve in action and drive them to make positive strides themselves.

The journey to an excellent Candidate Experience may be a long one, but a company must agree wholeheartedly.

It is vital everyone takes part and understands the new direction a company is following.

It is all well and good, doing something because you are told to do it by your boss. But organizations and teams need more than that. They need to be aware of their work's positive impact if they provide excellent Candidate Experience. 

This makes employees feel proud and value the work they are doing, enhancing their job satisfaction. You want to create an environment of motivated and hungry employees desperate to improve personally and help the company achieve their goals.

Employees like these understand how vital their role is in the company's future and ensure that every interaction they have with candidates is exceptional.


Listen to What Candidates Have to Say

It is never easy to listen to negative things being said about you.

We don't like criticism, it is in our nature. Sometimes we think ignoring bad news will make it go away. 

But here's some cold hard facts that will force you to wake up:

  • 69% of candidates will never apply to your company again if the candidate experience is negative.
  • 72% of candidates who have a negative experience will tell others about it.

From a business perspective, seeing those numbers is massively worrying. 

As is Virgin Media's estimated losses of £4.4/$5.4 million per year! Before they got their act together with ensuring excellent candidate experience. 

Awful Candidate Experience brings negative consequences to a business.

Candidates will have negative opinions about companies that they did not hear back from or feel were treated disrespectfully.

Your reputation and revenue are interconnected. Damage to one, which a terrible candidate experience can cause, will inevitably affect the other. And potentially dry up your future pipeline of talent willing to work for you.

So, it is time to open your ears to candidates.

Please provide them with a platform to engage with you and your company. Listen to the candidates and what they have to say about the recruitment process and what they thought of their candidate experience.

And what they have to say about their recruitment journey from beginning to end, what was good, what needed to work, what did they wish was done differently?

But, what do I get out of communicating with more candidates?

So much! You can:


Show your interest and value to candidates

Engaging with candidates makes them feel special, their feedback appreciated, and they are wanted to be a part of your organization.


Improves reputation

Shows humility and desire to improve. Listening to feedback shows you are constantly striving to improve. You are learning valuable lessons so mistakes can be rectified and not happen.


Feedback goes both ways

Just as candidates can tell you about your recruitment process, you can provide candidates with personal feedback on their application if they were successful or not. Candidates appreciate actionable suggestions and the thought that has gone into helping them improve.


Control the rhetoric

With the opinions of the world increasingly online and across social media. Keeping candidates' experiences in-house prevents negative thoughts from gaining traction across the big wide web.


And perhaps the most essential thing that can come from listening to a candidate's feedback is that you can improve. 

You can absorb the feedback, see what could work within your recruitment process and implement positive change. And in doing so, ensure positive experiences for all candidates.


Why is Excellent Candidate Experience Crucial for Your Business?

Companies must form lasting relationships with candidates who will aid your organization in meeting future talent demands.

A respectful and personal application process can improve the experience for all candidates.

It increases the likelihood of your top candidates accepting a job offer, buoyed by the excellent treatment they have received. And also can help to make relations with rejected candidates better. 

They know that their experience, although unsuccessful, was conducted in a respectful manner, which may lead them to refer your company to friends and family also searching for jobs, consent to be contacted for future job opportunities and stay a customer of your company.

To prevent bad Candidate Experience, your organization should follow these essential steps:

  • Review your recruitment process, find ways to improve it to ensure a better candidate experience.
  • Remember, the candidate is the most critical part of the recruitment process. The successful and unsuccessful.
  • Train and educate your organization on the importance of providing excellent candidate experience.
  • Acquire feedback to improve company-wide methods in implementing a wonderful candidate experience.