Candidate Experience is defined by all contact points that a candidate collects during the application phase with a company. The term Candidate Experience comprises all experiences that an applicant has with a company over the course of their application process – from the job listing all the way through to Onboarding. The positive nature of these experiences should encourage the applicant to accept a contract offer at the end of the process and become part of the team. In the competition for the best employees, it is therefore not only important for companies to retain current employees, but also to provide candidates with a positive Candidate Experience through a targeted process.
The application process is divided into six phases. The candidate will collect experiences in every phase that either lead them to continue with the next step of the application process or to withdraw from it.
In phase one, the attention phase, first contact between the company and the applicant is established. You never get a second chance to leave a first impression. This principle applies here as well. First contact, for example, takes place via a job listing or a conversation at a job fair. The first experience should be so positive that the candidate gathers more information about the company and continues on to the second phase – the information phase.
The applicant mainly collects information from the company homepage. This is why the website should be appealing, look professional and should include the job listing. If the company meets the applicant’s expectations, it is time to move on to phase number three.
The applicant now looks into the terms of the application and starts putting together their application. The company should pay extra attention to clear online forms as well as an easy upload of the documents, in order to ensure a positive experience for the applicant.
Phase four includes the job interview. This is where personal contact between representatives of the company and the applicant takes place. The representatives of the company should be well-prepared for the interview, should have studied the application documents and, above all else, should be on time for the interview. But a good job interview is not the only thing that plays an important role in creating a positive perception of the company in the applicant’s mind. How the company conducts itself after the interview is also crucial for a positive Candidate Experience. Applicants often criticise that it takes too long for them to receive feedback on the interview and express their desire to receive feedback sooner.
Once the company has decided to hire the applicant, the Onboarding phase begins, in which the candidate is integrated into the company as a new employee.
If the Onboarding phase is a success, the employee now moves into phase six – becoming an integral part of the company.
Apart from long breaks in communication between the individual phases, standard letters are also repeatedly mentioned by applicants as part of a negative Candidate Experience. Applicants want to be noticed and appreciated. Therefore, anonymous standard letters are a negative experience both as an acknowledgement of receipt, but even more so as rejection letters. The applicant has put a lot of time and effort into their application and wants to know that their efforts are appreciated by being addressed individually and responded to promptly. Additionally, standard rejection letters do not positively contribute to the development of the applicant.
If a candidate decides to reject a contract offer, this is often due to a negative Candidate Experience. An appreciative and professional approach to the candidate, on the other hand, can even lead to the salary no longer being the only factor for accepting the contract.