Resources Hiring Research

2020 Candidate Experience Report

Does candidate experience matter?

In recent years, we’ve seen a positive trend emerging in recruitment strategies — a focus on candidate experience, which can be defined as the experience a candidate has with a potential employer throughout the hiring process, from job posting to job offer.

We surveyed 250 people who’ve applied for jobs within the last year and analyzed their answers about their experience during the hiring process to answer one basic question: Does candidate experience actually matter? 

The bottom line: yes. The experience a candidate has with a company’s hiring process ultimately impacts a candidate’s decision to accept or decline a job offer. 

To learn more about what job seekers want out of a hiring process, download our Candidate Experience Report.

What are the impacts of negative candidate experiences?

We found that half of all job seekers surveyed have had a negative experience during a hiring process within the past year and 50% of respondents had declined a job offer due to poor experience.

Consider that when an offer is made, if you’ve created a negative candidate experience, half of your offers will be declined. Because of this, employers must often settle for their second or third choice for a role. What results is a team that isn’t nearly as strong as it could be — but the solution can be found in simply improving your candidate experience.

What makes a negative candidate experience?

When we looked at the reasons job seekers classified those experiences as being negative, here’s what we found:

Infographic - what makes a bad candidate experience

What are the impacts of positive candidate experiences?

While negative candidate experiences influence job seekers to decline offers, the good news is that the inverse is also true — positive candidate experiences directly result in more offers being accepted. The majority of people we surveyed are currently working at companies where they had a positive candidate experience during the hiring process and 75% reported that it influenced their decision to accept the offer. 

How does candidate experience impact your employer brand?

The impact of poor candidate experience extends beyond the disappointment of a rejected job offer — it has serious implications for your employer brand, or your business’ reputation as a place to work. 

  • 24% of candidates said they’ve left a negative review online after having a negative experience.
  • 44% of candidates said they’ve left a positive review online after having a positive experience.

This is significant because over half of job seekers abandon their pursuit of a company after reading negative reviews. 

How to improve candidate experience

Here’s what we found when we asked our job seeker respondents to identify what employers could do to improve the hiring process that would have the most impact on candidate experience. 

1. Provide clear information upfront about job responsibilities and expectations, as well as compensation and benefits. 

Job seekers want to know more information about the job sooner in the hiring process so they can make informed decisions. For example, 32% of respondents expected to be informed about compensation in the initial job post

Infographic - how to improve candidate experience

2. Respond quickly to applicants after they apply and continue to be responsive throughout the hiring process. 

30% of job seeker respondents ranked responsiveness after they apply as most important to them when it comes to candidate experience. Candidates are looking for prompt and clear communication as they evaluate their interest in a position. Using applicant tracking software can help you manage correspondence and ensure you respond quickly.

Infographic - why candidates accept a job offer

3. Create positive interactions between candidates and interviewers. 

After compensation or responsibilities not meeting expectations, having a negative experience with the people in the hiring process was the second most cited reason for turning down a job offer. Job seekers who turned down a job offer cited interviewers who were rude or distracted or a hiring process that seemed disorganized. Candidates took these as reflections of the company as a whole.

Candidate experience goes beyond the job offer

The candidate experience doesn’t end with the hiring process. 28% of new hires quit in the first 90 days, which means that your onboarding experience should be every bit as exceptional as your candidate experience.

However, with many teams going fully or partially remote during the COVID-19 pandemic, this can present a challenge. Melissa Morse from HR Daily Advisor says, “The candidate experience is so important for talent retention purposes (and for your company’s bottom line), but given the current state of remote work, it may be difficult to provide the same experience you were offering pre-pandemic. To create a great experience, you must use the tools and technology at your disposal to help unify new hires with existing teams.”

Morse recommends getting creative by hosting remote “meet and greets” with new hires or selecting one of your most outgoing employees to act as a “company ambassador” to help your new hire feel welcomed right away.

The time you spend creating exceptional candidate and onboarding experiences will pay off dividends in the form of camaraderie and team-building for new hires and existing employees alike.

Related resources

Craving more hiring insights? Check out these guides created by the hiring experts at CareerPlug.

Share this content

Recent Posts

  • How to Hire Outside Sales Representatives (Webinar)
  • If You Want More Applicants in 2021, Change the Way You Hire
  • 5 Easy Ways to Get Started with Recruitment Marketing