How can Employers Avoid the Cost of a Bad Candidate Experience?

January 1, 20168:49 am1785 views

Most employers understand that bad hires come at a steep cost. A single bad hire can cost an employer up to $50,000, not to mention hours of lost productivity. However, employers can pay a hefty price for another recruitment misstep: providing a poor candidate experience.

The candidate experience refers to an employer’s interactions with an applicant throughout the recruitment process, and is defined by how well these interactions accommodate the candidate. Though we know it’s important to provide those we wish to hire with an exceptional candidate experience, what about all of the others that apply? You know, the ones that either:

  • Aren’t eligible for hire
  • Lack experience
  • Didn’t interview well
  • Simply lost out to a more qualified candidate

…and don’t receive a job offer. Does it really matter if these candidates have a stellar experience? After all, your company isn’t interested in hiring them.

The answer is that yes, it’s important to provide a great candidate experience to every applicant—even those that never make it past the first round of screening. This is because a bad candidate experience can cost employers a valuable recruitment resource: their employer reputation.

Let’s take a step back. According to ERE Media, the average job posting solicits 1,000 views from job seekers, 100 of whom will complete an application.

Of those 100 applications, 75 will make it past the first round of screening, 25 will be viewed by a hiring manager and four to six candidates will be invited for an interview. Between one and three candidates will be asked back for a second interview, and from there, a job offer will be made.

In other words, your company ends up with just one top-notch new hire, but about 1,000 applicants have interacted with your company in the process. That’s a lot of applicant interactions.

When employers have poor interactions with candidates at any one of these stages, whether by not responding to applications, never calling candidates back, or making it too difficult to find the right information, employers can pay the price.

See: The Key to Better Hires: Better Candidate Experience

The Cost Factor

72 percent of candidates who don’t hear back from employers say they would not be likely to recommend that employer’s product or services, while 58 percent say they’re unlikely to buy a product or service from the company.

According to, 80 percent of candidates who experience an unsatisfactory recruitment process revealed that they openly tell people about their experience, and a third of these candidates will do so proactively.

When candidates are unhappy with the application process as a result of poor communication, research from CareerBuilder finds that 42 percent won’t apply for a position with the organization again.

Ultimately, a poor candidate experience means an organization can lose out on future customers, future product recommendations, and future job applicants, all of which hinder its reputation and success.

So, how can you ensure all applicants have a positive candidate experience?

1. Thank You Email: After a candidate submits an application, send a “thank you for applying” email that expresses gratitude for their interest, and provides information about how they’ll be contacted regarding whether or not they’ve made it to the next round. Thank you emails can be sent automatically after application submission. Eighty-six percent of candidates say that not receiving a confirmation email creates a bad candidate experience.

2. Personalized Correspondence: Nobody likes to feel like they’re unimportant, yet when employers send out impersonal emails that’s the exact message job applicants receive. That’s why employers should send emails that address applicants by name, and refer to the specific position for which they applied.

As candidates move through the application process, automated applicant tracking system makes personalized correspondence easy by giving employers the ability to house standard emails, yet customize them as needed.

3. Intuitive Digital Platforms: Today, a significant portion of candidate interactions happen online, via your website and more specifically, your career portal, where 75 percent of job seekers still prefer to apply. These platforms should not only offer a user-friendly application process, but should be a place where candidates can learn more about your company, link to your social media profiles, and find ways to stay connected.

4. A Mobile-Responsive Experience: To that same point, candidate experiences increasingly occur on mobile devices, too. Glassdoor finds that about 90 percent of job seekers are likely to use mobile during their job search process.

If employers wish to attract top talent on mobile, they need  websites and career portals optimized for a mobile experience. In addition to a mobile-responsive design, employers can allow candidates to auto-fill the resume section of an application by sourcing LinkedIn, Dropbox, or Google Drive to expedite the mobile application process. These are just some of the many factors that contribute to a positive candidate experience.

Also read: Best Employer Branding Strategies of Singapore’s Top Companies

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