Why having a good candidate experience is equally important

A positive candidate experience is a seed sown today to obtain rich fruits later

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The journey of a prospective employee who has applied for a role in a company is referred to as the candidate experience. While organisations today have realised how essential it is to create a good candidate experience, do they really work to provide an excellent candidate experience?

The hiring process in all companies has several stages — sourcing of resumes, filtering, conducting interviews and evaluation. At every stage, the candidate goes through a certain experience in the company, which will likely be a key factor in building an opinion about the employer brand in the mind of the candidate.

Airbnb is a company that emphasises on providing a good candidate experience. The talent-acquisition team at Airbnb has actually storyboarded the entire candidate experience of a candidate. Just like how one storyboards the experience of a guest in a hotel.

“If big brands leave their potential employees disgruntled, it will hurt them in the long run because brand positioning doesn’t always remain the same. The number one brands today may lose that position in the future if things do not go right for them. That is when their poor track record, in terms of candidate experience, will return to haunt them”

Mahipal Nair, VP-HR, APAC, Trellix

The Company has managed to identify all the touch points where it needs to give feedback to the candidates and employees to ensure a better relationship.

However, India Inc. is still not doing enough in this area.

Talking to HRKatha, Anil Mohanty, head of people, Medikabazaar, admits that in his two decades of experience, he hasn’t seen many companies in India putting any real effort to ensure a better candidate experience. “I do not think even half of the companies in India take candidate experience seriously,” says Mohanty.

Very often companies refrain from giving any feedback to the candidate after the interview or evaluation process in the company. That explains the innumerable social-media posts from disgruntled candidates.

Sometimes, these candidates are upset about receiving no feedback at all from the employer or they are disappointed because the company never got back to them despite exhibiting an intent to hire. What seems to be wrong?

Mohanty feels that companies do not have a solid process in place to even measure their candidate experience. “We do have thousands of ways of measuring the onboarding experience, but what about the candidates who are rejected? Companies never get back to them to ask them to share their candidate experience,” observes Mohanty.

He rightly points out that companies do manage to gauge the experience of employees who join the company, but not the ones who get rejected. Therefore, the true picture of the candidate experience is not obtained.

As per a research by CEB, a global advisory firm, 70 per cent of HR professionals feel that candidate experience is important, but only 40 per cent of them actually have some processes in place to measure it.

Companies who have a very high brand value or are amongst the pioneers in their field are the ones where people actually aspire to work. A job with them is the dream of every job seeker. Do such companies also require to provide a great candidate experience?

It is natural for one to wonder why a Google or a Microsoft may need to focus on candidate experience. After all, these are big brands people anyway aspire to work for.

“I do not think even half of the companies in India take candidate experience seriously”

Anil Mohanty, head of people, Medikabazaar

“If big brands leave their potential employees disgruntled, it will hurt them in the long run because brand positioning doesn’t always remain the same. The number one brands today may lose that position in the future if things do not go right for them. That is when their poor track record, in terms of candidate experience, will return to haunt them,” explains Mahipal Nair, VP-HR, APAC, Trellix.

As a Deloitte study reveals that 83 per cent people are certain that a negative experience during the hiring process would change their perception about the role and company. On the other hand, 87 per cent say that a positive experience will positively influence their perception about the role and the company. That means, a positive candidate experience does manage to win many hearts, while the vice-versa makes one vulnerable. Further, an IBM research also reveals that 80 per cent of people will likely apply again to a company where they have had a good candidate experience.

“These days, if people go on to write ill about a company on social media, it tarnishes the employer brand,” says Mukul Chopra, CHRO, ConveGenius.

Many HR leaders believe that while employers do make efforts to ensure a great onboarding experience, they tend to lag behind when it comes to candidate experience.

A bad candidate experience not only hampers the employee value proposition or the employer brand of the company, but can also impact customer sentiments and revenue.

To conclude, here is an example of a known media company that learned the hard way. The firm found that 18 per cent of the candidates it rejected were also its customers. Six per cent of them discontinued their subscription to the brand because of a poor recruitment process. As a result, the company lost about $5.6 million in revenue.

“These days, if people go on to write ill about a company on social media, it tarnishes the employer brand”

Mukul Chopra, CHRO, ConveGenius

Small gestures such as an automated feedback to all the candidates after the hiring process can go a long way in ensuring a good candidate experience. Even a token of thanks in some way can help. While it is hard to reach out to all the applicants or candidates, some effort can be made, considering the long-term benefits.

1 COMMENT

  1. My view is feedback to unsuccessful candidates is a must. But in reality majority employers feel they don’t have the time to do this ‘ no-value addition’ chore. I remember decades ago, a public sector organization notifying in leading newspapers to note to the effect that candidates who haven’t received offer letters as not selected for the position they were interviewed for. That was an era when human relations and relationships in general had a different characteristic.
    I find it relevant to share a new indispline WFH policy has brought among some employers. They don’t believe in onboarding the new hire due to logistic issues. The new hire is left to himself to fend his way to learn about organization’s culture and values. This has far reaching effect on the performance of the individual not having clarity on culture and values. But, we continue to debate the importance of grooming new hires into individual organization’s culture and values. Between feedback and onboarding since both have a certain amount of inter – connection, I feel onboarding should be a priority. Ideal is employers should give importance to both.

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