Improving the candidate experience is and has been high on the HR agenda for some time now. However, trying to track down when the term was first coined will only send you down a rabbit hole.

What is clear is the term Candidate Experience (CX) is consistently bandied around in meetings and HR departments everywhere. HR teams are constantly looking for ways to improve the interaction with both passive and active candidates, desperately trying to influence the calibre of talent they attract.

However, before you start to evaluate your process it is important to understand why the Candidate Experience is so important in the first place. A good candidate experience is a marketing tool, it drives referrals and can enhance your employer brand even if the candidates aren’t ultimately hired. Getting it right helps to drive a kind of loyalty that isn’t easily achievable through other interactions.

Research undertaken by Harris Interactive across 3,991 workers in full-time employment found a negative application experience can impact an employer’s ability to recruit or sell products:

  • 42% would never seek employment at the company again
  • 22% would tell others not to work there
  • 9% would tell others not to purchase products or services from the company

Virgin Media conducted their own research on the impact of candidate experience and the results were shocking.

They discovered that 18% of Virgin Media’s candidates were also their customers. Due to poor brand experience as a candidate, approximately 7,500 of Virgin Media applicants switched to a direct competitor, leading to almost £4.5m in lost revenue. This equated to losing two customers for every person hired.

Improving the candidate experience is a process of small improvements and margin gains. Which just like compound interest ends up making a huge difference over time.

The outcomes of an improved candidate experience have a much broader impact than first meets the eye. Here are the 7 key benefits of providing a better candidate experience:

1. A stronger employer brand

A positive candidate experience will strengthen your organisation’s reputation as an employer and will help reinforce your value proposition to employees.

2. Reduced cost per hire

Focusing on the parts of the process that matter and using technology as an enabler can improve efficiencies and reduce cost. However don’t underestimate the power of the human touch in attracting the right people to your organisation.

3. Reduced time to hire

A well thought out process can make decision making easier and quicker. Not understanding this means you will find yourself consoling hiring managers more often than necessary when you lose a key potential hire to a competitor and have to start the process all over again.

4. More successful onboarding rates

Attracting the right people to your organisation is one thing, getting them over the line, and moving them from offer to hire is easier if they have had a positive experience throughout. This also leaves you less susceptible to candidates taking counter offers or accepting offers from competitors.

5. Increased retention of good people

Once you find people with the right cultural fit don’t underestimate how a positive experience builds loyalty and trust within your organisation.

6. Increased employee referral response

If you cultivate the right culture and provide employees with the tools to be able to easily recommend and refer you can make considerable cost savings and find those scares skills more easily.

7. Increased talent pool growth

The knock on effect from all of the above is increased growth of your talent pool allowing you to form strategies to engage and stay front of mind with passive and active talent.

Author: Gordon McQuoid, Recruit Specialist, Kallidus.


Harris Interactive Survey -

Virgin Media Candidate Experience Project -

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