What is the “candidate experience” and why does it matter?

We’ve been talking a lot about the importance of outplacement for exiting employees, whether it’s a C-Suite exec or an hourly worker. It’s not only the right thing to do for employees who may have given years of their lives to your company, but it’s also the right thing to do for remaining employees (being compassionate and helping people who have been laid off does a lot to assuage survivors’ fears), and for your employer brand as well. We’ve built our business on providing outplacement services and career coaching for employees, but now we’re taking it one step further to provide coaching and outplacement support for job candidates as well.

Wait, what? Outplacement and coaching for people who don’t even work for you? Why should you even consider it? We get that it’s a new concept, but we believe there are powerful reasons to do it. It’s all about the candidate experience.

First, it was all about the customer experience (CX). If you’re new to the planet, CX refers to customer perceptions of the interactions between a business and a customer over the life of their relationship. It’s basically how well customers like you. A few years back, HR pros extrapolated that concept out and started focusing their efforts on the employee experience (EX). It’s about workplace culture fit, having the right tools to do the job, even career pathing and coaching. Basically, it’s how employees feel about their workplace and their day-to-day jobs. It’s important for hiring, retention, job satisfaction, your own company brand, and a whole host of other things. Now, there’s a new X that we need to be mindful of in HR: The candidate experience. It’s such a new concept, it doesn’t have an acronym yet. How about CanX?

CanX refers to the experience job candidates have from the beginning of their interaction with your company all the way through the hiring process. It covers the way they find out about a job opening, their initial contact with you whether it’s answering a posting on an online job board or networking their way to consideration for an interview, the interview process itself, and how you let them know they didn’t ultimately get the job.

Why should HR be focusing on people who aren’t yet employees? For many of the same reasons you focus on the employee experience.

Employer brand. We all know how important it is in the quest to recruit and hire top talent. A few savage reviews on Glassdoor about the way you ghosted candidates or sent canned rejection letters will impact the quality of your next candidates.

Bottom line impact. According to the Talent Board, a nonprofit organization focused on the elevation and promotion of a quality candidate experience, 41% of job seekers who give their candidate experience a (negative) 1-star rating will definitely take their alliances, product purchases, and relationships elsewhere. It also means that they won’t refer others to your company, and won’t apply again themselves. On the other hand, 64% of job seekers with 5-star candidate experiences will definitely increase their relationships with those employers.

So, how does candidate outplacement and coaching figure into CanX? Imagine if you’ve got a handful of finalists for the job, all of them qualified, all experienced, all great fits with your culture. How do you choose? It’s a little like being on “The Bachelor” reality show. You’re sold on them all, but only one can get the final rose. What about the others? They’ll surely be disappointed and feel like they’re back at square one. That’s not so different from how a laid-off employee feels.

It makes sense to keep those relationships with qualified people on the front burner as you say farewell. You’ll have job openings down the line and may want them to apply again and recommend that others do so. You want them to be champions of your company out in the world. You want them to say nice things about the process on Glassdoor.

Want to find out more about how we can help boost your CanX? Contact us and we’ll be happy to talk with you about it.

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