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How Candidate Experience Affects Recruitment and Retention Efforts

Elizabeth Woodard

Elizabeth Woodard

some companies use a personality test to help plan employee onboarding


Recruitment and retention is all about keeping the life blood of your company healthy. Negative candidate experience can undermine your recruitment efforts before you can even focus on retention.

Have you ever considered going to a new restaurant, then decided not to go because your friend had a terrible experience or you read a bad Yelp review?

If your potential employees have a bad candidate experience while applying and interviewing for a job at your company, you’re the restaurant in this metaphor and you’re in trouble.

Candidate experience is unbelievably important to your company’s future. Disgruntled potential candidates could post impactful negative reviews on Google, Yelp, Glassdoor, etc. warning others not to apply at your company. These reviews are seen by thousands of people and can even go viral in some cases, getting millions of views. Additionally, you could lose important word-of-mouth referrals because qualified industry professionals will tell their colleagues about their bad candidate experience.

Because you’re reading this article, it’s obvious that you want your future employees to have a good candidate experience. Here are a few things you can do to make sure that happens.

Provide an appropriate salary range upfront before candidates commit to an interview


There is nothing more infuriating for a job candidate than spending hours preparing for a high level interview only to find out that the company is offering a salary of $25,000.00 for a job that should pay $125,000.00 plus employee benefits such as health insurance. Employees will also feel cheated if they find out your range was something like $70,000.00 – $80,000.00 but they started at $60,000.00 due to sneaky negotiating tactics on your company’s part.

The bottom line is that candidates these days are suspicious when a salary range is not posted upfront for a job advertisement. Be honest, and you’ll attract the right people who are ready to work for what you can offer.

Provide an accurate and comprehensive job description when recruiting

Employees need to know what they will actually be doing for your job in order to decide if it’s a good fit. If an employee discovers their duties are much more difficult than advertised, they will inevitably quit due to frustration. The same is true for if a job is less interesting/challenging than posted – good people will walk before employee onboarding can even begin.

It’s understandable that defining job duties is difficult, especially for a complex technical job. You can use websites such as to get a good idea of how to write job descriptions. Another option is to look at similar company’s job postings, or consult with an expert who has that job already. After all – you don’t want to be like the company who said that candidates needed ten years of experience in a programming language that was only three years old at the time.

Be sure candidates have an email or phone number they can use to contact your company

This is an area where many companies fall short on how to provide a good candidate experience. After all, if your perfect candidate has an issue with the job application or questions about the job, how will they contact you? Desirable candidates will simply move on to a company that makes applying more accessible, and your recruitment and retention plans fall apart.

One reason that companies don’t post email addresses is concerns about spam. A common workaround for this is to put something in your job posting or website that says ‘make your email subject line “dark chocolate frogs” so I know you read the full ad.’ This will help you weed out those who don’t have an eye for detail and provide great people a way to get in touch.

Communicate with both successful and unsuccessful applicants throughout the process

Employee candidates can often feel like their time isn’t respected by companies. Because most job applications are online these days, candidates can spend hours filling out endless forms just to be ignored, which is demoralizing. Your company will stand out if you contact both successful and unsuccessful applicants within a week or two to let them know the status of their application.

People are so grateful for this little bit of courtesy that even unsuccessful job applicants will praise you widely. Whether you contact candidates through digital communications or with an old-fashioned phone call, a little respect goes a long way.

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