Hi everyone,

I'm currently looking into how recruiters, HR departments and companies are approaching their candidate experience.

How important do you feel it is?

How are you measuring the impression that your experience has on candidates and the impact this has upon the company?

What are you/the company you work for, doing to improve the candidate experience? 

It would be great to hear all your thoughts on the topic. Please feel free to expand on these questions in your comments.

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In about two weeks we'll be supplying [free] at thecandes.org a new whitepaper offering data around company practices related to the questions you posed above. The data was gathered last year from the firms that applied to the Candidate Experience Awards by describing what they did in each of several recruiting stages AND 17,500 of THEIR candidates who completed a 40 minute survey description of how they were treated. Some of the firms involved in 2012 are now correlating that data [their own] with performance measures like conversion rates, retention etc. and we hope to encourage them to publish. 

The candidate experience is very important. Most importantly, you want candidates to perform at their best so you can determine if they are appropriate for this position at your company.  Set the stage to allow for this.  You'll make better decisions and so will the candidate. 

Everything that happens from the first phone call to shaking hands at the initial in-person meeting creates an impression - good or bad.  This can become immediate PR to the marketplace about your company and/or you - and you can't do a thing about it once word is out there!  However, you can control the interview process.  Have a well thought out interview plan including a friendly welcome, prepared interviewers, intriguing and appropriate interview questions/case studies, and time for candidate questions.  Be respectful, informative, focused and engaging.  Even if the candidate is not chosen to move forward in the interview process, hopefully they had a good experience and may tell others about your company and this position.

The candidate experience is almost more important than hiring someone.  They have to feel like the experience they had meeting people and learning about the company was valuable - enough so that even if the answer is "no" to hiring them - they leave with good feelings.  This is important on many levels.  How many people do you think they will tell if they had a good experience? (maybe a few) how many people will they tell if they had a negative experience (probably a lot more).  If they had a good experience - even if the answer was no - they are more likely to stay in touch with you and also refer others to you. The good experience we give candidates - starts with the initial phone call and is backed up by talking with people who are transparent, honest, and generally want to get to know the person.

Thanks for all your comments so far. It's really interesting to hear your different approaches.

Gerry - I look forward to reading your research. Thanks for telling us about it.

Michele - I completely agree that every stage of the interview process must leave the candidate with a positive impression, after all candidates will be customers too! Considering this further, what are your thoughts on the experience candidates receive prior to their application? For instance, on a careers website or through social media efforts. It'd be really interesting to know how you approach this? 

Malia - Research has definitely shown that candidates are more likely to share a negative experience than a positive one, especially with the ease that opinions can be spread over social media sites these days! Does your company have any procedures in place to gather candidate feedback? What do you find candidates really respond to? 

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