Why a bad candidate experience can ruin you and how to fix it

Sofia Lindman Candidate experience

People’s opinions spread like wildfire in a matter of seconds and experiences, whether a customer’s or a candidate’s, are most likely what is being discussed. Poor encounters with your employer brand are not only unappreciated, they are also conversation starters on Twitter or a reason for getting reviewed online. The point is these experiences matter and can either be used as an approach to help your brand glow or, in the worst case, ruin you.

Attractive candidates expect a seamless and customized candidate experience, all the way from the first interaction to hiring and beyond. How can you go about creating a flawless candidate experience that leaves them advocating in your favor?

We have listed our 3 most important actions on how to capitalize on future experiences and create a winning candidate experience that takes their breath away (maybe not the Whitney Houston-effect but close enough).

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1. Enchant them at first glance

It takes about 30 seconds for a candidate to decide whether they want to continue reading or not. Instead of a drawn-out job advert where the point is made at the end of the funnel, spend those few seconds well by creating a positive experience right from the start.

So, what’s the trick? Sell it to your candidate!

Customizing is the number one rule to create eye-catching adverts that spark the candidates’ interest. Let’s say that you’re hiring a developer. Highlight words and expressions that your candidate persona can easily identify with and involve the tech department to make it relevant and eye-catching. Make sure that the initial description of the job enables the reader to picture themselves working for you and that it’s crystal clear what impact this specific role has on the company and its vision at large. Essentially, the aim isn’t to attract as many talents as possible, but to attract actual qualified candidates who could be a good fit for the company.

This is what the HR council member Tasha Bell from Forbes had to say about it (and we couldn’t agree more!).

“Recruiting is selling. Identify your target audience and understand your organization’s selling points. What do you have to offer, and who would benefit from what you can offer? With these details, you can place your company brand in the center of your target audience. Advertise your organization’s culture, and echo your talent’s needs, skills and attitudes as they relate to your brand.” – Tasha Bell, Talbert House

2. Get more qualified applications by reducing the complexity of your application process

Too many required fields, unnecessary logins and complicated personality tests at the beginning of the application process might scare candidates away, especially the good ones. The application process should be personalized, mobile-friendly and make sense for the role they’re applying for. Delete all the extra clutter and required fields for information that it isn’t vitally important to know early on in order to simplify the process and make it go as smoothly and efficiently for the candidate as possible.

Apparently 60% of talents say that they have quit an application due to its length and complexity (source). Put yourself in your dream candidate’s shoes. Would you go through a complicated application process when there’s a ton of other opportunities waiting?

The best way to find out is by conducting use case testing, which allows you to walk through the process as if you were the candidate. This helps you to detect eventual loopholes and to identify the screening elements to test (reviewing how necessary each step is and if there’s any way to streamline or improve them). This will minimize the risk of qualified candidates dropping out and enhances the overall experience.

3. Change your communication style and you will make it rather than break it

Just like in dating, ghosting is never charming. Maybe you had a huge workload on your shoulders or you just simply lost one in the ocean of candidates. No matter how good your intentions might have been, poor communication will, unfortunately, affect your reputation.

A winning experience requires an impeccable communication style that never leaves anyone hanging. Let me give you an example from our own software. With Jobylon, recruiters can easily keep track and guarantee a ghosting-free experience by automating parts of the interaction with your candidate. This feature is especially useful for those of you who are juggling a great number of candidates and risk losing someone during the process that needs to be reached out to – find software that does the work for you!

However, the overall communication still needs to be personalized for candidates to feel like they’re valued and not just a number.

The same thing goes when rejecting candidates. Play your cards right and you’ll leave any candidate, whether they were rejected or not, with a positive experience. It’s mandatory to leave everyone feeling acknowledged and respected by always rejecting candidates over the phone. Many candidates also appreciate feedback to improve their chances next time around.


Evaluating and measuring also plays a huge role in creating a winning candidate experience and can be done by sending out feedback surveys to candidates that you recently had an encounter with. This gives you an immediate source of information to improve this work in the long term.

Delivering a high-quality candidate experience will not only leave you with a 5-star review but will also automatically gain you ambassadors (regardless of whether the candidate was hired or not). As many as 64% of all job seekers with a positive experience are willing to apply again and refer others, something that affects not only your employer brand but your overall brand reputation.

Another thing to take into consideration is that customers are more likely to turn into candidates, which again legitimizes the fact that it’s all aligned and that the work between marketing and HR is a two-way street. Unhappy experiences turn into dissatisfied customers and vice versa.

The effort you put into it will change the perception people have of your employer brand as well as your overall brand and in a world where opinions are spread like wildfire, there has never been a better time to start.

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Sofia Lindman

I'm Sofia! A peanut butter brownie lover, +4 years traveling digital nomad, and the Content & Brand Marketing manager at Jobylon. With an underlying passion to elevate from the industrial age thinking, I love to inspire companies to create a modern, more autonomous workspace that resonates with the future workforce and create a new narrivate around what it means to work.

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