How to Repair the Candidate Experience Gone Bad

We in the recruiting space all talk about the importance of the candidate experience and how companies of all sizes are implementing technologies, best practices, and other measures to improve their existing experience, but what about those companies who already have a bad candidate experience perception? How do they repair their company's candidate experience when it's already gone bad? According to the Candidate Experience Awards by Talent Board, 47.7 percent of applicants have had no previous relationship with a company before applying for a job there. This means that, big brands aside, almost half of the candidates who funnel through your application process have never heard of your company and that their first impression of who you are as a brand is centered around their experience as an applicant.

While the figures behind the cost of a bad hire are astronomical – the cost of a bad candidate experience is much, much higher. A recent report from Career Builder states that 72 percent of candidates who don't hear back from employers say they would not be likely to recommend that employer's product or service, while 58 percent say they're unlikely to buy a product or service from the company. On the same note, 80 percent of candidates who experience an unsatisfactory recruitment process revealed that they openly tell people about their experience, and a third of those will do it proactively.

So how does one repair a candidate experience that's gone bad? Here are a few things that employers and practitioners can start today that'll help improve their candidate experience and hopefully get them back on track to hiring better and more talented candidates.

Get back to the basics


This will be the easiest and cheapest to implement. Get back to the basics when it comes to rejection letters, mobility, and being social. The rejection letter is the easiest thing to fix when it comes to building a better candidate experience. Automated emails are built into almost every ATS and when a candidate applies for ajob and is no longer being considered for a position – send an email. The same features that sends them an email saying that they've applied for a job can almost always be configured to let a candidate know about their pending status. It doesn't need to be personalized to every candidate, but having that email and status update helps a candidate move on more efficiently and does wonders for candidate experience.

Make your career sites mobile. Over 70 percent of candidates are using mobile to search and apply for jobs. There is absolutely no reason companies aren't investing in mobile technology. If you haven't already done this, start today. Lastly, use social media to tell the story of those who work for you. If your brand has taken a hit because of either the public opinion of your consumer brand or you haven't invested enough in building an exceptional employer brand, you can use social media to tell your story. Stay engaged and make candidates feel important by responding and being active on these social channels. Being inactive on social can be a red flag for candidates who are looking to apply and work for a company who are technology-forward thinkers.

Be a champion for your candidates


Any chance you're able to give real feedback during the application process do it. But when companies can't give individual feedback due to volume it's important to champion and help candidates out. Whether its putting out content that helps job seekers prepare more effectively for interviews or tips on building a resume, find a way to champion your candidates. It doesn't have to be huge, but any amount helps and it goes a long way when improving your candidate experience. As a brand that has 'gone bad' providing resources and information to candidates will help soften the harsh perspective your company has when it comes to the experience of candidates that go through your application cycle.

Cut down the time it takes to apply for a job


If you don't want candidates to get lost in the process of applying for a job at your company and eventually ditching the opportunity altogether cut down on the time it takes for them to actually apply for the job. Whether this means cutting out assessments that don't actually tell you anything real about a candidate or adding a LinkedIn Apply feature to your process – these small fixes go a long way.

When a company has a bad reputation with the handling of candidates it can sometimes take awhile to repair bad feelings and negative reviews. Starting with the basics and branching out into different ways can help improve the experience over time. Remember to always be a champion for your candidates and then make it easy for them to apply while staying in constant contact with them. These few tactics are a sure way to improve candidate experience and get your bad brand back on track. 

Will Staney

Will is the Founder and Principal Consultant at Proactive Talent Strategies, LLC and the former Head of Global Talent Acquisition at rapidly-growing startups Twilio andGlassdoor. Prior to that he held recruiting leadership roles at enterprise software leaders VMwareSuccessFactors and SAPwhere he lead strategic programs includingemployer brandingsourcing strategy, recruiting operations and systems process design.

During his over 7 years as a recruiting practitioner, after 10 years in sales and marketing, he developed a passion for building what he calls "modern recruiting machines". He would push innovation from the inside, execute on his vision, and once it was realized he would pass the torch on to those he had mentored and move on to his next challenge. He was destined to start a consultancy so he could help as many companies as possible adopt a more proactive recruiting strategy with community in mind.

In his free time, Will enjoys riding his motorcycle, trying out the newest gadgets, and spending time with his two kids, Foster and Felicity.