• Justin Hillier

The candidate experience is not...?

I think for the best part of my 20 years in recruitment (in different forms and fashions) the candidate experience has been a topic of debate, intrigue, interest and a problem thats needed solving. It got to a tipping point for me personally 4 years ago when I started Recruiter Insider on the back of a poor candidate experience, oh the irony!

Four years later and the biggest problem with the candidate experience, I feel, is not just the experience being provided to candidates itself, but how people classify what "candidate experience" is.

You see to solve a problem, you need to truly define what the problem is, and the candidate experience is one that has had everything thrown at it to try and make it stick. All it has done is complicate and confuse the issue, further making solving it even harder.

I think we can all agree on the following, that simple is best, don't over-complicate it and solve one problem at a time.

So firstly, lets define what a candidate is, this might seem silly to some, but in order to better define the candidate experience, we need to define what a candidate is.

As the image below shows, the candidate is represented after an applicant and before they become an employee. When you think about your job ads, they are typically classified and called, applicants, not yet screened, spoken too or even looked at. The large majority will be rejected, that's just the nature of the process and those who aren't, you shortlisted and phone interviewed.

Applicants have applied to become a candidate, to become an employee.

But here is what the candidate experience currently for some includes but is NOT:

  1. The attraction experience

  2. Your website experience

  3. The job ad experience

  4. The application process experience

  5. The onboarding experience

The candidate experience actually sits within these, but is a single element all to itself and would be between 4 and 5 above. Each of these elements all have a different and important role to play, with many moving parts, some intertwine, some don't.

The point of differentiating though is to have a laser like focus on defining exactly what the problem is that you are tying to solve.

So it would look something like this:

If we were to take a look at the Application Experience vs the Candidate Experience for example, it might look something like this:

Looking at both of these stages in isolation, are they the same? Would the exact same solution and approach work for both? Possibly, in areas, to a degree...But would a more defined and focused mind-set and approach provide a better outcomes to solve both, tackling each of the issues with greater efficiency and effectiveness.

For mine, everyone is trying to solve everything at once, giving it one big label, talking about it and talking about it, without really having isolated the problem specifically. Are we surprised then that it is still a hot topic year after year?

I'm focusing on solving and improving candidate experience, those that you engage with, bring into a hiring process and can provide you with constructive feedback having seen behind the curtain. Maybe after I have solved the candidate experience problem I will move onto the others, they all need solving too.

To put it into another perspective, "If I'm selling a house and my front gate needs fixing, I don't mow the backyard and think that it will solve all my problems".




Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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