In today’s business world, the company that manages to be the first to secure top talent has the best chances of winning. But when you combine that with the ever-increasing number of job applications, it’s not uncommon for candidate experience to suffer as a result.

Below we will cover what candidate experience is, why it matters to your bottom line, and the steps you can take to improve it.

What Is Candidate Experience?

We can define candidate experience as the impression of your company a candidate develops during the hiring process. This includes every step of the hiring funnel, from application to onboarding.

Candidate experience can begin even before the job application stage. If a candidate is aware of your company, chances are they already have an opinion on it. Because of this, it’s in your best interest to design a candidate experience that will create a positive perception of your business.

How Candidate Experience Affects Your Bottom Line

In today’s hyper-connected business world, candidates can and will share their opinions on potential employers. Because of this, designing a positive candidate experience is becoming essential for improving your brand image and increasing profit.

Attract and Retain Top Talent

Having a poor candidate experience will significantly reduce the chances of the candidate reapplying in the future. However, the only way you can really determine the quality of your candidate experience is to ask for feedback.

And if you ask them, most of the candidates would be more than happy to provide it. With this valuable insight at your disposal, you can take the first step with leveraging candidate experience to increase your profits.

The way to approach this is to make the candidate experience so good, potential hires will actually seek you out if you have a future job opening. This will not only help save time and money you need for headhunting but will also prevent the pool of potential candidates from shrinking.

Another benefit of this approach comes from candidate referrals. Candidates who are happy with their experience will most likely refer your company to any friends and family also looking for a job. This makes attracting talent even easier.

Finally, when the time comes to choose the most promising candidate and fill out the job position, you will have a wide and varied pool to choose from. This ensures that whenever you have a new position open, you’re likely to have a candidate with just the right qualifications waiting to hear from you.

Improve Your Brand Image

Like we mentioned above, potential candidates are likely to have an opinion of your company even before they apply for a position. And this opinion will vary depending on the efforts you took to build your brand image.

Having a positive candidate experience leads to candidates referring your company to their friends and colleagues, which has an impact on your brand image. This, in turn, leads to even more interested candidates.

A recent LinkedIn study found that even if rejected for a job position, 64% of the candidates were willing to stay in touch with the company after a positive hiring experience. These companies also suffered 28% lower employee turnover rates.

Create Brand Ambassadors

If you’ve taken the steps to create a compelling candidate experience and improve your employer brand, chances are you’ll end up with candidates that will go on to be ambassadors for your brand.

These ambassadors will not only refer others to your company, as we already mentioned but are also likely to engage with you products and leave positive reviews of your company. This can, in turn, both directly and indirectly increase your bottom line.

How to Create a Positive Candidate Experience

Now that we’ve covered the importance of candidate experience and how it can affect your business, here are some ways you can take your candidate experience to the next level:

Candidates as Customers

Think about it: if you think that running a good business means using speed, transparency, and clear communication when dealing with customers, why not extend that to potential hires?

Be candid and upfront about your candidate experience. Tell the candidates how long the process will take and what they can expect each step of the way. This way your candidates aren’t left in the dark, waiting for feedback.

More Convenience

On that note, make sure that your hiring process is convenient and streamlined. For instance, don’t ask candidates to send in their resume if you’re going to make them fill out employment history forms later.

Cut as many unnecessary steps out of the recruitment process as you can and you’ll significantly increase both the number of applications and their completion rate. The less work they have to do, the more likely it is candidates will enjoy the hiring experience.

Ask for Feedback

Of course, in order to know exactly what to cut and what to improve, you’ll need feedback. Don’t be afraid to ask your candidates to share their thoughts about the hiring process.

Ask them how long it took to fill out the application and what they did or didn’t enjoy about the process. This way you can determine the candidates’ overall satisfaction and find out exactly how good your candidate experience really is.

Finally, ask if they would refer your company to a friend or family member. If the answer is yes, you know you’re on the right track.

Better Communication

Even if you think a candidate isn’t a good fit for the position, never fall into the trap of neglecting to reach out to them. Doing so is sure to leave a bad impression and lower your brand image.

If possible, reach out to a candidate within 48 hours of receiving their application. Even if your message is a rejection, they’ll be glad to avoid the uncertainty that comes from a lack of communication.

There are multiple ways a positive candidate experience can impact your bottom line. Attracting and retaining the most qualified candidates, building your employer brand, and turning prospective hires into brand ambassadors are just some of them.

To ensure your candidate experience is up to par, model it after your customer experience. Make the hiring process more convenient and focus on communicating with your candidates, and watch as your bottom line begins to grow.