Corporate Eye

The (In)Famous Candidate Experience


HR provocateur Gerry Crispin asked some good questions recently in The Candidate Experience: Is it just Smoke and Mirrors? The point of his post:  seems like people (on both sides of the process) would take the quality of the candidate experience more seriously if it were really important.  There followed an interesting exchange of opinions from commenters!

Summing up for the majority was recruiter Jerry Albright who puts it this way:  “Know what experience a candidate wants? To be hired. The rest is over-hyped.”

The main argument put forth by the minority:  Badly treated candidates will have a bad opinion of the company.  The majority response:  So what?

Looking over the discussion, I notice that it’s all pretty much about filling positions.  And several people point out that a badly treated candidate who doesn’t get the first job they apply for with Company X will very likely apply for another job at Company X if they think they might get it.  Which is probably true.

Someone notes that a good candidate experience will make for a better employee attitude on the part of the person who does get hired, which also is probably true—but how long will that difference last, and how much of an investment would it be worth?

Another person brings up the golden rule and common courtesy, but there’s not much support for that view either.

A different perspective can be found in Overcomplicating the Candidate Experience, an article posted on the Human Capital Institute blog by talent technology guru Peter DeVries.  His contention:  “Too often, companies create career websites that overcomplicate the candidate experience, making it difficult for candidates to complete one of the most critical activities on a company’s career website: applying for a job.”  DeVries points out several problems . . .

  1. Too many companies still bury the Careers link three or four clicks away from their corporate home page.
  2. Too many companies use unbranded third-party ATCs for the job search and application processes—which means the candidate effectively leaves the corporate site as soon as they start trying to find a job.
  3. Too many companies rarely update the information on their Careers site because the process is too cumbersome.
  4. Poorly designed applications discourage candidates—and don’t even gather good information.

DeVries has some good advice for dealing with these issues.  In fact the advice is so good that it’s worth another post.  So coming up soon, some alliterative alphabet magic:  from the potent potential of APIs for ATSs, to the powerful productivity of the CMS.

(Thanks to metoc for the hand-drawn maze.)

The following two tabs change content below.
Cynthia Giles has followed a serpentine career path from academia to publishing to marketing and design to information technology and corporate communications. There’s plenty of detail about this journey at, but briefly--the common theme has been ideas, and how to present them effectively. Along the way, she became an accidental expert on data warehousing and business intelligence, and for the past ten years she has combined corporate contracting with an independent consulting practice that focuses on marketing strategy for smaller businesses and non-profits. Having spent quite a bit of time looking for work, and anywhere from two weeks to two years inside a wide variety of American companies—she has given much thought to what works (and what doesn’t) when it comes to creating a great employment fit.