Are candidates more likely to share a positive experience than a negative one?

We recently conducted a survey of people who had applied for a job in the previous six months and asked them to rate their experience as a candidate and more specifically how they shared this experience with people in their networks.

Applying for jobs can be an isolating experience and, as you would expect, people were likely to tell others about how they were being treated.

What was particularly interesting was that people were more likely to share a positive experience than a negative one. In the consumer world to have positive referrals is gold dust. We’re often more likely to voice an opinion when things have gone wrong or we’re dissatisfied with a product or service than comment on a positive experience, but these positive referrals are very powerful in creating new customers and brand advocacy as research such as Net Promoter has demonstrated.

As a candidate, sharing a good experience more than a bad one poses an interesting question because is this indicative of the norms that candidates have come to expect? Do candidates expect a mediocre or even poor experience and are they more likely to be surprised and delighted when treated above the standards they have come to expect? The most common gripe amongst candidate is that they don’t receive any feedback on their application. It is more common than uncommon for employers not to give any feedback that leaves candidates with uncertainty and morale sapping experiences that taint their views of companies and the job hunting process.

So perhaps it is not surprising when something as simple as receiving feedback will trigger a positive reaction that a candidate shares with their peers, family and friends. I’m interested to listen to views on whether this rings true with people who have been candidates as well as recruiters who recognise the value of delivering a positive candidate experience.

(This article was originally posted on