Candidate Experience 101: a two-sided issue

There is very little doubt that the candidate experience is becoming one of the hottest recruitment topics this year. Discussions have started and the debate is taking different formats: LinkedIn groups, Twitter streams, blogs and even competitions. But with so much noise around what needs to be done to improve the candidate experience, are we hearing what candidates actually have to say?

Whilst the following list of references is in no way exhaustive we thought it would be good to provide a few suggested blogs and sites that give relevant information about different aspects the candidate experience.

A survey we conducted on the candidate experience showed that candidates feel there is a definite lack of communication – feedback and updates on applications – on the recruiter side.

Early results from data collected with our Mystery Applicant online measurement tool back up these observations: it appears that more than half of candidates expect to receive regular updates and feedback on their applications. Our tool also helps our clients get detailed insights into candidate expectations and motivations.

Tales of badly treated candidates have also started to flood the internet. A couple of blogs are worth having a look at if you want to read about personal stories from candidates:


Earlier this year, Kathy Hagens (@Common_Courtesy) asked her readers whether they had already had a bad candidate experience, asking them to share the details and explain what happened. More details can be found on her blog – although we should warn you that some stories are not for the faint hearted!


If this is not enough to give you a taste of the candidate experience landscape, you should have a look at Ellie Simpson’s blog. Ellie (@GutsyGrad) is a recent graduate who has been writing about the difficulties of looking for a job. She gives details on various aspects of the process: from job-hunting, to the interview process and repeated trips to the job centre.


But the noise around candidate experience is not limited to candidate complaints and demands for change. On the employer side, the debate is also going and recruiters are actively discussing ways to improve their recruitment processes.

Recent conversations over the internet also emphasize certain issues with candidate experience. A weekly discussion on Twitter – #peoplechat – invites people on the Twittosphere to exchange ideas around the question “What’s right with recruiting?”. On the 10th of April, several comments revolved around the candidate experience. Here is a selection:

 “Jobseekers deserve closure (feedback) after investing time, effort & emotion on an opportunity”

“Job seekers get closure when they don’t get the job”

 “If candidates want feedback after an interview, can/should you give honest feedback?”

 “No I would not necessarily give feedback. Some of it would not be good for candidates to hear”


Additionally groups have recently appeared on LinkedIn. A good example is TribePad’s Candidate Experience Group which aims at “promoting discussion and debate around the area of attraction, application through to hiring and how brands are taking the candidate experience seriously”.


Our recent survey findings show that candidates value application feedback but that they are often disappointed by the lack of communication from recruiting organisations. Now that discussions about the candidate experience have started on both sides, the next step would be to create a conversation between employers and candidate, thus helping employers to improve their pratices and allowing candidates to have their voices truly heard.




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