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Candidate Experience

Definition: Candidate experience is a job seeker’s overall perception and feelings about an organization’s recruiting process.

From the job application to the interview process, and all the way through to onboarding, every interaction shapes the candidate’s experience.

A positive candidate experience can make a candidate more likely to accept a job offer, reapply in the future, or refer others to the organization. Conversely, a negative experience can deter candidates and harm the company’s reputation.

For more in-depth information on candidate experience, check out our Candidate Experience Guide — If you just want to grab quick info, keep reading!

Factors that impact candidate experience

  • Job descriptions: Clear, accurate, and enticing job descriptions attract the right candidates and set proper expectations.
  • Application process: A simple, intuitive, and mobile-friendly application process reduces hurdles for candidates.
  • Communication: Prompt and transparent communication keeps candidates informed and engaged.
  • Interview process: Respectful, organized, and efficient interviews demonstrate a company’s professionalism.
  • Feedback: Constructive feedback leaves a lasting positive impression, whether the candidate is successful or not.
  • Onboarding: A smooth, welcoming onboarding process ensures the positive candidate experience continues beyond the hiring phase.

Candidate experience best practices

  • Simplify the application process: Make the application process easy and user-friendly. Keep the form straightforward and the application steps clear.
  • Maintain transparency: Be open about the job role, expectations, company culture, and the hiring process. Clear communication reduces misunderstandings and frustrations.
  • Respond timely: Quick responses keep candidates interested and engaged. Even if there’s no update, periodic check-ins can be reassuring.
  • Prepare for interviews: Thorough interview preparation shows respect for the candidate’s time and can lead to more productive discussions.
  • Provide feedback: Candidates appreciate feedback, even if they aren’t selected. It helps them improve for future opportunities.

Measuring candidate experience

Metrics for measuring candidate experience are:

  • Application abandonment rate: This metric shows how many candidates start but do not complete the application process. A high rate might indicate a complicated or lengthy process.
  • Candidate satisfaction scores: Surveys can gauge how candidates feel about various aspects of the recruitment process, providing valuable insights.
  • Offer acceptance rate: If many candidates decline job offers, it could suggest issues with the candidate experience.
  • Re-application rate: If previously rejected candidates reapply, it often signifies a positive candidate experience.

Candidate experience FAQs

What is a candidate experience survey?

A candidate experience survey is a tool used by employers to gather feedback from candidates about their experience during the recruitment process. It can include questions about the application process, communication, interview experience, and overall impressions.

How do you calculate candidate experience?

Candidate experience isn’t typically calculated as a numerical value, but rather assessed qualitatively through candidate feedback, survey responses, and metrics like those mentioned above. Analyzing this data helps organizations identify areas for improvement.

What are the questions for candidate experience?

Questions in a candidate experience survey might include:

  • Was the job description accurate and clear?
  • How easy was the application process?
  • Were your interactions with the recruiter/employer positive?
  • Did you feel respected during the interview process?
  • Were you kept informed about your status in a timely manner?
  • Would you apply for another position at our company in the future?


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