The Candidate Experience Lie (Part 1)

By The Jerk Recruiter

I love discussions in the corporate environment around candidate experience.

HR folk and recruiters alike will tell you how important a good candidate experience is. They’ll put it at the centre of arguments to take or not take a particular course of action. They’ll justify the most bizarre things based on hoping it’s mere mention will act as a shield to their tenuously linked action.
However for a group of people who care about it so much their actions, and companies actions as a whole, seem to contradict their words.


They (typically) don’t measure candidate experience

First off most companies do not measure candidate experience. They measure new hires experience (satisfaction). The sad truth is the majority of candidates who never get to an interview, let alone an offer to become a new starter, never get asked about their experience.

Most companies measure these experiences through some sort of Candidate Satisfaction Survey that only go to newbies just after they’ve started. If you can’t score high at this point with a new starter, your process must be seriously flawed – this is especially true if they are surveyed after being offered but before starting.


Tip 1 – really want to know your candidate satisfaction, measure all candidates not just the ones that suit but be ready for relatively low % of satisfaction. Be also ready to admit that that’s okay once you are trying to improve the trend.


Bonus tip – when was last time you mystery shopped your own process? How long does it take to apply? Are there drop out points? (analytics of your system system/process should help here)


What is a good experience anyway?

What a person considers a good experience can be very subjective.

A simple application process followed by a timely response (either way) is what I believe to be good, but if I apply and get a timely “NO” response with no explanation (for a job I feel a perfect match for), how will I feel?
If after a 10 min application I get a mail saying “we’ll only be in touch if we’re interested” is that ok? What about after a 30 min application? Or if I’ve invested over an hour applying?

If the applicant is clearly, unquestionably, unsuitable to the point of the candidate is wasting everyones time (e.g. applying to be a heart surgeon with no medical experience), should they get the same experience as a clearly suitable candidate?

This area needs serious consideration, and becomes even more relevant for consumer brands, who may be regretting customers or potential customers.


Tip 2 – you are never going to satisfy all applicants’ definition of a good experience, but you can tell them what experience to expect up front before they invest application time – that’s fair and allows them to decide if they want to follow your process!


Part 2 next week when we discuss why it goes wrong when everyone wants it to go right!