Three Things Your Candidate Experience Says About Your Company Culture


Everybody knows it’s a tough recruitment market out there—a “buyer’s market” for jobs, so to speak—so I’m often confused by companies that pay so little attention to their candidate experience.

They’ve forgotten that candidates pick companies, not vice versa. Job “shopping” is the new normal. Whether your business provides a service to others or you are trying to sell a product, you always try to provide your customers and potential customers the best experience, don’t you?

Your candidates are customers, too. They’re shopping for the kind of work experience in which their career will thrive. And that makes marketing your corporate employment culture one of the most important things a company can do.

The role of corporate employment brand ambassador lands squarely in Human Resource’s control. And it’s a very important role! According to the Talent Board Candidate Experience Research report, 41 percent of global candidates who believe they’ve had a negative (1-star) experience say they’ll take their alliance, product purchases, and relationship elsewhere.

How do top companies market their opportunities? Download our study "The State of Recruitment Marketing."  

Your Actions Speak Volumes

41 percentFor seven years, Talent Board, the non-profit organization behind the candidate experience (CandE) awards, has been researching, measuring, and sharing the business value of the candidate experience. Their annual study of the recruitment practices of hiring organizations and their job seekers’ reactions and preferences gives us a great picture into what job seekers really want out of your candidate experience.

Again and again, these job seekers say they want most in their hiring journey has to do with communication. The way we communicate our brand culture tells candidates a number of things about the way they’ll be treated as an employee:

  1. If they’ll be respected: The number one frustration in the candidate experience is that candidates have little or no idea where they stand in the hiring process at any given time. Therefore, the first step towards improvement is adding communication touchpoints throughout the candidate experience. There are a number of AI technologies that companies are now experimenting with in an effort to provide more timely updates regarding a candidate’s status in the overall hiring process. But while they may seem “experience-elevating” on their own, they alone can’t provide candidates the customer-centric experience they’re looking for. At some point, especially for candidates at the top end of the funnel, that will take a more personal touch.
  1. If you’ll invest in them as employees: Nothing differentiates a candidate experience as best-in-class like the quality of candidate communication throughout the process. Keeping candidates updated on whether they’ve been unsuccessful or are on to the next stage is critical in building trust in your organization.  According to Talent Board’s 2017 report, “even a small percentage of going above and beyond can improve overall candidate sentiment.” Nearly two-thirds of candidates dispositioned by their award-winning companies said they were encouraged to apply for another job.
  1. If you are looking for a contributing team member, or just want to fill an open spot: High-quality job candidates are attracted to companies that align with who they are and encourage them to do what they do best. That’s why one of the most valuable commodities in any candidate experience is a hiring team equipped with highly knowledgeable recruiters that can articulate your company’s goals, mission and purpose and how each role contributes to it.

    Top recruiters know how to leave their candidate with a clear picture of the company’s mission and purpose, and how the role they’re trying to fill fits in with that purpose. In employment marketplaces where candidates have a choice of companies where they’ll essentially perform the same work – whether they’re managing accounting, writing code, or providing customer service – they will gravitate to cultures where they feel their work has impact and value. And that’s what a company’s purpose provides.


Revealing your culture more effectively

When candidates apply to your organization, you are taking them on a journey. The overriding question is –what will they remember about you as an organization because of it?

If you keep these three points in mind when creating your candidate communication strategy, you will reveal more about your culture and make your hiring process a much more positive and rewarding experience:

The first point, provide more transparency:

Candidates want to know more about what the job entails than the job description provides. Ensure your recruiters can describe the management style of that specific hiring manager; the collaboration styles of the other people who work there; examples of other employees who have progressed in their careers; and how long someone on average stays in the job. Most importantly, make sure recruiters can convey how the candidates’ role contributes to the company’s purpose and goals.

Secondly, ask for feedback:

Nothing says “we value you” like asking your candidate for feedback. According to Talent Board, the simple act of asking candidates to weigh in on their hiring experience can elevate it tremendously in their eyes. Surveying post-interview applicants and final stage candidates can also reveal strengths and weaknesses in each stage of your hiring process, so you can continue to refine and improve your recruiting strategy.

Finally, offer authenticity.

There are a lot of ways you can help candidates understand the true “you” – your culture, what you do in the community, and how your employees see the importance of their contribution to the company’s success. Videos, employee and customer testimonials and photographs all serve to educate candidates on what purpose the company fulfills. By sharing stories socially and on your website that let prospective employees see how their work will contribute to the whole, you’ll help create an attachment to your brand and what it stands for and make your organization an “employer of choice” for top talent.

Ultimately, It’s About Building Relationships

A successful candidate experience is to build upon your reputation equity in the marketplace for present and future applicants as you expand your company’s talent reach. It improves the quality of your applicants and the value of your employer brand. But most importantly, it reveals your culture and builds the kind of relationships that will cause candidates to want to stay in an extended hiring process, refer others, and even love your employer brand. Consider every interaction, from job posting to the first day, as an opportunity to communicate the value of your opportunity and reinforce your candidate’s excitement to join your team.

Your candidates expect more. We think you should, too. Learn how, with every touchpoint, Newton Talent can totally transform your hiring journey into the engaging experience your candidates and hiring managers deserve. Connect with us.


Written by Patty Silbert

President of Newton Talent since 2018, Patty Silbert has over 30 years of experience developing the innovative solutions that help HR professionals just like you meet their most pressing recruitment challenges and their companies achieve their talent acquisition goals. She is a regular writer and speaker on the subjects of recruitment strategy, employment branding, HR technology, and leadership.