How much does candidate experience really matter?

If you really want to hire top talent in today's competitive market, candidate experience is extremely important.


Written by Robin Maitland, Associate Talent Director

When speaking to scaling companies where HR, recruitment and the business are stretched, I’m often asked ‘How much time and effort do I really need to put into a recruitment processes? Is it worth cutting corners to reduce our team's interaction with candidates?’

The short answer is no. It’s not worth it.

In the current talent market, candidates have more options and opportunities than ever. The balance of power is starting to shift once again, but if you’re looking to consistently hire the best people, you need to give them the best candidate experience possible.

Recruitment isn't just for you to assess who is the best fit for your role, but for the candidate to assess which business is the best fit for them. If you really want to hire top talent, you need to ensure they want to work for you too - that’s where candidate experience comes in.

What is candidate experience?

Candidate experience covers everything from a prospective employee's first impression of your business to their last touchpoint — whether that's after an initial interview, onboarding or day 1.

When a candidate thinks about working for a company, they consider more than how “nice” the people they met during the interview process were. Other factors include: How valued they will be at the company? What growth and development opportunities will there be? Will they fit into the organisation’s culture?

Why is it so important?

58% of candidates have turned down an offer because of poor Candidate Experience — showing how important it is to prioritise it in a high-performance talent acquisition team.

With the current challenges in attracting and retaining top talent, every touchpoint and step of the process needs to be considered and optimised to give the best impression of your business and, of course, provide the best experience for candidates. These steps are fundamental to maximising your chances of getting great candidates to the end of the interview process and joining your company.

Good recruiters employ many strategies to ensure the right candidates enter the hiring process and are kept engaged and interested throughout, but the desire and willingness to invest in creating the proper processes must come from the top.

While improving your candidate experience is often viewed as an expensive and time-consuming endeavour, better hiring helps you build a strong team and saves you time in the long run — bringing better candidates into process, reducing candidate dropout rates, and increasing your chance of having offers accepted!

Related read: 6 ways to compete for talent you can't afford