Why Is Candidate Experience So Important?

There is a lot of talk about diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) these days and how candidate experience is a key piece of DEI strategy. But unfortunately the talk isn’t materializing into anything substantial when it comes to how employers treat their employees. While there are many organizations that have taken DEI on-board quite aggressively, there are others that are still discussing the implementation and consequences.

It is very important for organizations to realize that candidate experience at the hiring and on-boarding levels gives their future employees a fair idea of how serious they are in keeping up with their word on equitable treatment for all employees. This is why organizations should take candidate experience at this initial phase as a challenge. And they should direct their energies towards providing a consistently good experience to all the people that they may or may not hire or work with in the future.

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According to a research by Gartner, race, gender, and sexual orientation are key factors that result in organizations delivering different candidate experiences to different people. What this research has done is laid bare the claims that biases on the basis of gender, race, and sexual orientation don’t exist in the corporate world. Organizations along with their HR need to address this issue, in order to support their claims of how DEI is central to everything they are doing to create a better workplace for their employees. 

HR has a big role to play in all of this. The first and possibly the most important thing for HR to do is address that this issue exists. They need to figure out why some of the applicants are not happy with the hiring or on-boarding processes or why they are viewing these processes differently. Once the HR at organizations follow this way, they will be in a better position to find a solution to this problem.

Candidate experience is the first impression that an organization has been able to make on a candidate after their communication and interactions during the hiring process. It involves the response that a candidate received when they applied for a job, the interview, the result, and everything in between. This is where a candidate develops a perspective about an organization. And this is where an organization can make their mark and show their commitment towards DEI by treating all the candidates in a fair and equitable way. 

Before doing anything else, an organization needs to first evaluate their current standing when it comes to candidate experience. When they have a fair idea of where they stand and what areas they need to work on, organizations will be in a better position to plan ahead on improvement. HR can start by speaking to their existing employees and also candidates that didn’t make it about their experience of the whole process. This is how organizations will know about the areas where things are going wrong. 

It is important for HR to look closely on both sides of an average candidate experience. By doing this, they will know what they did to provide exceptional candidate experience and at the same time, learn about the things that went wrong that led to a bad candidate experience. Overlooking the importance of data in ensuring that issues are addressed and changes are installed faster can be a big mistake. 

What organizations can do is ask candidates about how satisfied they are with the whole process and if there are improvements that they would want to suggest through feedback forms. Another metric that can help is the number or percentage of candidates that didn’t complete the process due to any reason. What organizations need to do next is put their previous candidate experiences against performances that their new measures have been able to deliver for an extended period of time. This will help them in understanding the effectiveness of their new strategy and how DEI-friendly it is.

Organizations can work towards improving candidate experience by doing a lot of different things. The first thing to work on is improving the recruitment process for candidates. This is the stage that can make or break impressions. This can be done by ensuring that the job description for a particular role is not only easily accessible but devoid of any biases whatsoever. HR can also make sure that the selection criteria is properly defined and that all the candidates are asked the same questions at the interview. A very important point is to make the salary negotiation process equal for all. There are candidates that aren’t as good at negotiating as others but they have the same or better skills and experience.

The next stage where organizations can leave an impression is during on-boarding of selected candidates. Make the new employees feel at ease and get them accustomed to the organization’s rituals. Encourage them to learn about other employees and communicate with them. Ask for feedback to find out things that can be worked upon in the future. 

The experience that an employee has with an organization is mostly dependent on the relationship they share with their managers. It should be easy for employees to approach their managers in case of any issue related to work. Managers should also initiate one-to-one conversations with employees to discuss team and individual goals. Employees should have a say in these conversations. Managers can get the best out of each in their team as they are familiar with their strengths and weaknesses.

An organization’s DEI strategy says a lot about its commitment to an inclusive work culture. If candidate experience isn’t a part of it, then the strategy needs to be reconsidered and reworked.


  • Candidate Experience Is a Key Piece of DEI Strategy | Teresa Zuech | 24 February 2021
  • 4 Key Components of Building a Data-Driven DEI Strategy | Dawn Baron | 12 March 2021

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