Candidate Experience RallyFwd™

The Business Impact of a Poor Candidate Experience, and What You Can Do About It

poor candidate experience
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Written by Kevin Grossman
The Business Impact of a Poor Candidate Experience, and What You Can Do About It
4.6 (91.11%) 9 votes

Like it or not, the candidate experience you provide plays a major role in the success of your organization’s recruiting function.

The quality of your candidate experience influences whether a candidate will decide to apply to your organization or accept an offer at the end of your process. It will also impact whether candidates recommend that their friends or professional network consider going through your process in the future.

Beyond these talent acquisition outcomes though, did you know that a poor candidate experience has major implications for the rest of your business too, especially if you’re a consumer-based business? 

At the Talent Board, we’ve spent the last 9 years focused on all things candidate experience. Based on our research and learnings over this time, here’s what I can share about the business outcomes you can anticipate if you have a poor candidate experience. Don’t stop reading now: these are risks you need to know! At the end, I share what you can do about it.

Talent Board Candidate Experience Awards

Over the past 9 years of the Talent Board CandE Benchmark Research program, there are clear competitive differentiators among employers.

Rally note: Look for more insights from Kevin and other outstanding speakers at RallyFwd Virtual Conference on December 4, 2019. We’ll be talking all things candidate experience so you can get the insights you need to enhance your candidate experience in 2020. Register for free.

What happens when an organization has a poor candidate experience?

There are 3 potential repercussions: 

  1. A poor candidate experience will result in candidates taking their alliance, product purchases and relationships elsewhere – resulting in significant losses over time.

If I’m treated terribly as a candidate, I will avoid purchasing your products or services in the future. I’ll also be sure to let other people know about the experience I had with your organization, which may turn them away from using your company’s products or services too.

And the number of candidates who will avoid relationships with your company if they have a bad experience is increasing. Since 2016, candidate resentment – defined as people who sever their relationships with a company because of a bad experience – has increased by 40% (Talent Board, 2019 North American Candidate Experience Benchmark Results).

If you have a decent volume of candidates applying and moving through your funnel, this potential aggregate can eat away at your business over time. After all, 9 out of 10 of the candidates who apply for a role with you are not getting hired. If you’re not paying attention to the experience that these 90% of candidates have, there can be serious consequences to your bottom line.

The negative outcomes can result in a loss of up to millions of dollars a year for business to consumer (B2C) companies in industries like hospitality, travel, retail or telecommunications.

You can use the Talent Board’s Candidate Experience Resentment Calculator to determine the kinds of losses your organization could be suffering as a result of your candidate experience. 

  1. A poor candidate experience can impact your organization’s ability to grow.

Now, of course the outcomes are a little different when it comes to business to business (B2B) companies. In many instances, if candidates are in a buying situation they will try to avoid purchasing your products or services in the future for their companies, too.

But if your organization sells products or services that can’t be purchased elsewhere – for example, one of our multiple time CandE award winners, Lockheed Martin, sells specialized military equipment – you may not see as direct of a revenue hit – candidates here aren’t going to not buy military equipment if they’re not hired. In this case, since there are fewer options on the market, candidates may be forced to continue to purchase your products and services. But that doesn’t mean you’ll earn their affinity.

In these instances, candidates will still steer clear of other associations with you, including referring their network to apply or consider job opportunities in the future. And, with the talent market as competitive as it is today, that can result in major implications that reduce your company’s ability to grow and address your customers’ needs.

Business impact of a poor candidate experience

The biggest complaint of candidates is employers that disrespect their time, according to the Talent Board Candidate Experience Benchmark Research.

  1. A poor candidate experience can damage your employer and product brand.

As you likely know, when people have poor experiences today, they speak out about them online. 

In the consumer world, this means that if I have a bad experience at a restaurant, I’m likely to leave a negative review on Yelp to deter people from making the same mistake.

And, of course in the candidate experience world, this means candidates will leave negative reviews on sites like Glassdoor, kununu or Fairygodboss, and share their experiences with their inner circle. 

This negative buzz in turn impacts your future recruiting and employee retention potential, and will impact prospective buyers’ perceptions of your overall brand too. 

This means, even if an individual hasn’t had a negative candidate experience firsthand, they may choose not to associate with you based on the poor candidate experiences that emerge front and center when they google your organization.

What happens when an organization has a positive candidate experience?

Now conversely, if you take the time to focus on creating a positive candidate experience, you will see positive outcomes for your business! 

Even if candidates do not receive an offer, if they perceive your process as fair and have an overall positive experience, they are likely to continue (or even increase!) their associations with your brand and refer others to apply in future.

An example of this is provided by Kimberly-Clark, one of our multiple time CandE award-winning companies. 

Kimberly-Clark turned their rejected candidates into another revenue stream because they not only treated their candidates very well, but they also offered them coupons to spend after the process was finished. The combination of being treated well and receiving discounts made candidates very keen to continue their associations with Kimberly-Clark – and resulted in a new $300 million revenue stream for the company.

You can download past Talent Board Reports to read more stories from organizations who are doing an outstanding job of providing a positive experience to their candidates.

What factors improve the candidate experience?

So how can you improve your candidate experience to avoid negative business outcomes? Here are 3 areas you can address to see results:

  1. Focus on consistent communications

The worst thing you can do is to leave candidates in a position where they are faced with the dreaded ‘black hole’ somewhere in your recruiting process. Make it a goal for your talent acquisition team and hiring team that everyone who enters your recruiting funnel will get some communications to acknowledge them, set expectations and let them know where they stand, even if it’s not the news they want to hear. Addressing this and improving communications will do wonders for your candidate experience.

  1. Implement technology thoughtfully

You can’t purchase and use every new recruiting technology on the market. So, when choosing which technologies to invest in to improve your candidate experience, consider which ones will help to improve your communications across the experience at scale. Ideally, these technologies should save your recruiting team time while helping them communicate in a personable way. At RallyFwd on December 4th, you’ll see some new technologies available that can help you modernize your candidates experience in 2020.

  1. Ask for feedback

Another area that will improve your candidate experience – quickly and relatively easily – is by implementing a candidate survey at various stages of your recruiting process. Talent Board research has uncovered that there’s a 72% increase in the candidate experience and willingness to increase relationships with an employer brand when a company asks for feedback starting even before they apply for a job. It also boosts the perception of fairness throughout the process when you allow candidates to provide anonymous feedback.

Of course, there are many more business outcomes and approaches to improving the candidate experience then can be covered in one blog. I hope this piece provides some indication of why it’s worth learning more and making a business case to modernize your company’s candidate experience in 2020. You’ll not only make a positive impact on your hiring process, but on your business’ growth as well.

Rally note: If you’d like more insights on the business impact of your candidate experience – and how you can improve your candidate experience – join us at RallyFwd Virtual Conference on December 4, 2019. As the closing keynote, Kevin will share the latest industry data on what’s working and not working when it comes to candidate experience. Register for free.

The Business Impact of a Poor Candidate Experience, and What You Can Do About It
4.6 (91.11%) 9 votes

About the Author

Profile photo of Kevin Grossman

Kevin Grossman

Kevin Grossman is the President and Board Member of the Talent Board and responsible for all aspects of the Candidate Experience Awards worldwide. Kevin also hosts the popular Talent Board #TheCandEs Shop Talk podcast that covers recruiting and the candidate experience.

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