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Why Candidate Experience Affects Your Recruitment Marketing

SmartDreamers Team
5 min. read

Recruitment marketing is about attracting passive job seekers and making them want to search for openings at your company. What role does candidate experience (CX) play in that? Well, since CX refers to each and every touchpoint a potential applicant encounters on their way from audience member to employee, and those touchpoints are created by your recruitment marketing efforts, we’d say quite a bit, wouldn’t you? After all, 80–90% of talent say a positive or negative candidate experience can change their minds about a role or company (https://talentadore.com).

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Sure, maybe it’s not quite as straightforward as all that. There is give and take, with a feedback loop developing where RM and CX interact and play off each other. Let’s look at a simplified example of a candidate’s journey from audience to employee, so we can get a better handle on those touchpoints and see this interaction at work:

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  • • Your social media posts initially attract the person to your EB and EVP.

  • • They begin following your presence on several outlets and subscribe to your blog.

  • • Since they’re a passive job hunter, this may be the extent of the interaction for a while, but then one day they get the itch to check you out on review sites like Glassdoor and LinkedIn to see what people are saying.

  • • Now they’re hooked by your glowing reviews and the employee testimonial videos you post and decide it’s time to check out your openings on the company careers page. This is crucial, given that 62% of candidates list career sites as the top channel for researching jobs (according to LinkedIn).

  • • This stage may also last a while, during which time they’re still following your social media accounts, liking posts and commenting on blog articles.

  • • Then, one day, the right position pops up and they get an application in. Now they’re firmly in the applicant funnel. 60% of job seekers report they have quit an application due to its length or complexity (Recruiting Brief), so at this stage it's important to make sure your application is user friendly.

Each of these steps (and many more we left out for brevity) is a touchpoint where you and your RM team have the ability to affect the candidate’s experience, and in turn, their experience provides you with information about things you’re doing well, and areas where you can improve.

There’s a lot of information mixed into each touchpoint, some of which you can discover simply by asking applicants what they thought of their experience. The rest is discoverable with some advanced planning and use of appropriate metrics. Some of the key areas to take into account when digging into how your candidate’s experiences can help you fine-tune your recruitment marketing efforts are wait times, the fact that people trust other people more than companies, and the fact that RM is a long game. Each of these concepts provides more room for development and ways to tweak your campaigns to better impact CX.


Nobody likes waiting


Yet in the recruiting world, waits are inevitable. Whether it’s the candidate waiting to hear back about an interview, or the recruiter waiting to hear back from a hiring manager about any number of things, there will be waiting. What can you be doing to ensure that your candidate doesn’t get fed up with all this waiting? Stay in constant contact. Still, it's important to make sure that the waits don't get out of hand or become indefinite. Why? Because 80% of job seekers say they would not reapply to a company that didn’t notify them of their application status (Lever).


What can you be doing to ensure that your candidate doesn’t get fed up with all this waiting? Stay in constant contact.


Use RM automation software to automatically send email updates and reach out on the candidate’s preferred channel to keep them up-to-date on their status. The emails don’t have to be directly related to this one candidate, they can be general company updates, interesting news stories that relate to your industry, anything that lets the person know that you remember them and want to stay in touch.


In today’s candidate-focused job market, people report being willing to wait no longer than 2 weeks before they move on. If you don’t deliver something to let them know they matter and where things stand with their application, your quality candidates will walk. Right down the road to your competitor in all likelihood. So stay in touch.


People trust people


And people talk. On social media, on review sites, and on job boards. If someone has a negative experience with your application process, the first thing they’re going to do is let everyone they can think of know about it. That means they’ll be posting on Facebook and Twitter and leaving scathing reviews on Glassdoor. In fact, nearly 60% of job seekers have had a poor candidate experience, and 72% of them shared their experience on online employer review sites like Glassdoor (LinkedIn).


This should affect your RM in two main ways. First, tweak your process to eliminate the pain points that caused this person’s experience. If it was the length or complexity of the online application form, shorten it. If they got lost in the ATS black hole and just never heard back from anyone, find the process gap that they fell through and plug it. And second, respond to their comments, tweets, and reviews. Remember to stay in brand voice, but also remember that empathy rules the day when it comes to calming upset and working to ensure this person doesn’t harbor lasting bad feelings toward your company.


Furthermore, social proof goes a long way in the battle for people’s trust. Remember, humans trust other humans. Post testimonials from current employees, bonus points for videos so viewers have a face to put to the words. And as for those reviews that may not be so stellar, respond with kindness, stay in voice, and remember the power of empathy.


Recruitment marketing is a long game


You already know you’re in it for the long haul, as RM can produce amazing results and help drive your company’s recruiting efforts well into the future. But those results don’t appear as if by magic overnight. Candidates who are sourced by RM or referrals are more likely to be happy with their jobs and are more likely to stick around longer. In fact, 47% stay longer than 3 years.


Knowing this should help you adjust your content, better targeting those quality candidates you want to attract and who will stick around, and doing that will also impact the CX of your candidates as they become applicants. It’s the content you design for this long game that provides the first, and often second and third, of those all-important touchpoints that color people’s opinions of your recruiting department and by extension your company from the very beginning of their journey with you.


And that’s the real bottom line here, the candidate experience affects your RM efforts by informing the decisions you make going forward. You can’t always undo past missteps or repair damage done when someone has a bad experience. What you can do is use your RM and your social media presence to reach out to those folks with empathy, then make changes and adjustments to your processes to avoid the same missteps with future candidates.

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