The candidate experience: a lever to enhance your employment brand!

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Published on 17/08/2023, by Ludyvine Braze


In a continually evolving business world, where competition for the best talents is fierce, the candidate experience is emerging as a decisive factor for companies. In this article, we will explore why candidate experience cannot be overlooked and how it significantly influences the success and growth of an organization.

What is the candidate experience?

The candidate experience is characterized by all the emotions, perceptions, and opinions of a candidate during the recruitment process within a company.

It should begin long before the interview. In fact, the recruitment process starts the moment a candidate comes across a job offer and sometimes continues until their onboarding in the company. Along the way, the candidate will often have several interactions with the company: initial exchanges, information searches, job interviews, potential tests, etc. The candidate's waiting time between each interaction is also part of the experience. However, be careful not to leave a candidate without a response for too long. If all goes well, the last stage of the process is signing the employment contract, before the final onboarding stage (not to be neglected!).

To ensure a positive experience for both HR teams and candidates, the recruitment process must be defined according to:

  • Job offers;
  • Interview procedures;
  • Contact procedures;
  • Response procedures.

These components must, of course, align with the company's identity and culture.

It's also important not to ignore candidates who do not get the job. Providing feedback is crucial, especially if they have taken the effort and time to attend tests or interviews. Ideally, it's best to respond to all candidates, even those whose profile does not match immediate needs.

The challenges of the candidate experience

Impact on employment brand:

If the recruitment process is not appreciated by candidates or if they don't find it consistent with the company's image, the recruiter may face candidate rejections. However, the impact on the company's image extends beyond that. Indeed, if candidates are not satisfied with their experience, they may share their feelings with others and spread a negative image of the company.

Impact on brand image:

Each candidate can be a potential customer of the company. In some cases, they may even base their search on the company’s perceived image. If they feel they have had a negative experience, their brand loyalty could be affected.

Impact on candidates:

Obviously, a successful candidate experience often results in the candidate's decision to join the company. Furthermore, if the experience aligns with the company's employer brand, the candidate will be better able to represent it later on. If the job and the company environment ultimately do not meet the candidate's expectations, it is common for them to resign in the months following their onboarding.

Impact on future recruitments:

If a candidate's profile ultimately does not match the requirements of a job offer, it sometimes happens that this same profile could be suitable for another need within the company, either immediately or in the near future. One would expect that if the candidate has had a bad recruitment experience, they are unlikely to consider returning to the company. Another risk is the word-of-mouth. A candidate who did not have a positive experience may share their sentiments with their circle, potentially harming the recruiter and the company in their search for new talents.

Impact on the organization:

With an effective recruitment process, the recruiter must satisfy not only the candidate but also the employees within the company. Indeed, the more controlled and planned the process is, the fewer uncertainties there will be regarding the person responsible for recruitment, who will thus be the primary point of contact between the candidate and the company. A solid recruitment process, therefore, is time saving.

Customer experience and candidate experience: same work?

In marketing, customer experience (CX) is a concept that refers to a customer's perception of a brand or company, specifically encompassing all their emotions and feelings. Customer experience occurs during interactions with team members, stores, websites, advertisements, or even phone calls. To optimize customer experience, a company must prioritize customer satisfaction. According to the Journal Du Net, the CX concept encompasses all "interactions between the buyer and the seller (prospecting, sales, product use, after-sales service, etc.)".

Therefore, customer experience exists at every stage of the exchange process between buyer and seller. Companies often attempt to assess customer satisfaction through surveys. In the era of technological advancement and abundant online reviews, the impact of feedback (both positive and negative) on a company's e-reputation and turnover must not be neglected.

Candidates: Demanding Customers!

If a customer needs to be seduced to accept a service or product, the same is true between a candidate and a company. Because of skills and/or talent shortages, companies need more than ever to optimize the candidate experience. A negative candidate experience is detrimental to the company's image. A company seeking candidates must focus on its employment brand and its promotional display, with the aim of attracting the best profiles.

There is a wide range of software that gives recruiters the tools to highlight the candidate experience through quality services such as :

  • Assisting in developing an attractive career website; 
  • Assisting in multi-posting of job offers; 
  • Assisting in the quality and management of applications. 

To reach its target audiences, the company must optimize both the customer experience and the candidate experience, while adapting to social and/or technological changes.

"The candidate's affinity with the company, its values, its team, its approach, its vision will condition their ability to be one of the company’s energy providers. Therefore, they must be an aficionado of your brand. For that, you need to treat them like a customer" Hervé Solus, co-founder of DigitalRecruiters.

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