Experience Is Everything: Tips for Improving Your Candidate Experience

According to the 2017 CareerBuilder Candidate Experience Study, nearly four in five (78%) candidates say the overall candidate experience they receive is an indicator of how a company values its people. But when does the “experience” start? Is it when a candidate first applies for an open position? Or, is it after the candidate has gone through the first round of interviews?


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Most employers believe the candidate experience starts when an applicant applies to an opening at your company, but that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. According to, “The candidate experience starts with a job candidate’s very first exposure to a potential employer. It encompasses the entire journey from first touch to final point of rejection or job offer and hire.”
With websites like Glassdoor and Indeed and their respective lists of “Best Places to Work,” a candidate’s real experience starts the minute he or she first hears about your company. And as the saying goes, “First impressions are the most lasting,” which is why you should start treating your candidate experience the same way you would treat your customers.

Your Employees Are Your Customers

Recently, Gail Houston and Leslie Mason—Executive Recruiters for Intuit—presented the session Experience is Everything: How to Treat Candidates Like Customers to Close the Deal at RecruitCon 2018 in Nashville. In the session, Houston and Mason explained how your employees are your brand ambassadors and how they directly impact your brand and bottom line with the reviews they leave on sites like Glassdoor.
The proof is in the pudding, according to the 2016 Talent Board’s Candidate Experience Benchmark Research: When a candidate has a bad experience with your company, he or she is more likely to invest his or her consumer dollars into your competition.
“41 percent of global candidates who believe they have had a ‘negative’ overall one‐star job seeker experience (based on a 1‐5 Likert Scale rating) say they will take their alliance, product purchases, and relationship somewhere else.”
Houston and Mason say in order to avoid a bad experience, keep it going—meaning, the experience doesn’t have to end with a declined job offer or no contact at all.

Creating Talent Communities

In order to keep the candidate experience going, and going positively, Intuit organized “talent communities.” Houston and Mason say:
“We believe there is engagement after the typical ‘final step.’ To that end, we have created talent communities based on specific skills. Recruiters continue engagement strategies for top applicants with intent to convert—now or in the future.”
The speakers explain that these communities allow Intuit recruiters to stay in touch with potential candidates who were not good for a particular role at the time but may be a good fit for a different role in the future. The speakers further explain how the talent community works:
“A community hire is a candidate that we have engaged on more than one occasion. They did not get hired for the first requisition we considered them for (doesn’t necessarily mean they interviewed with the Hiring Manager [the] first go ‘round).”
Houston and Mason add, “As we get new openings, we do ‘community pulls’ and reengage [past candidates]. We also are experimenting with re‐engagement strategies to include skill surveys.” And these talent communities have paid off for Intuit.
According to Houston and Mason, in 2017, 33% of Intuit hires came from one of its talent community. This particular talent community also helped reduce the time to fill by 20 days. Before 2017, it used to take Intuit 65 days to fill a position, but once it implemented this particular talent community, the time decreased to 45 days. Another positive impact talent communities had on Intuit’s hiring: The quality of the candidate also improved.
While talent communities have proven to benefit Intuit greatly, that wasn’t the only way the company improved its candidate experience. Houston and Mason noted that social media also helped play a role in engaging the candidates.

Leveraging Social Media

By using social media “groups,” Intuit was able to connect with candidates outside of its personal talent community. By leveraging Facebook, as well as LinkedIn® Groups, Intuit was able to engage with potential candidates who hadn’t yet applied to the company.
Have you considered using Snapchat to recruit potential candidates? In order to attract all types of candidates, you should consider using all types of social media. According to Houston and Mason, one of the recruiters at Intuit was able to tap potential candidates before they even graduated from college by going around the Silicon Valley-area colleges and connecting with students on Snapchat.
The recruiter was able to amass quite the following and appeal to the next generation of workers. If you’ve ever used Snapchat before, you know that the stories disappear after a certain amount of time, which may seem counterintuitive when you’re trying to get your job opening out there.
However, Workable suggests that you should think of what you’d like to tell your applicants outside the more formal context of an official job description. Using engaging stories to accompany your job description will help you stand out and get candidates to remember you.
These are just a few of the ways you can ensure your potential job candidates have a great experience before they even apply. In part two of this article, I’ll uncover a few more ways to ensure a good candidate experience based on Houston’s and Mason’s RecruitCon 2018 session.

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