Candidate experience: the reliable way to consistently win top talent

The candidate experience is what recruiters in the human capital market value most. It is how recruiters build relationships with top-performing candidates and sell their organization during the hiring process.

Recruiters do their best to give prospective candidates a glimpse of what it will be like to work for their company and establish a great first impression of themselves. This is how companies lure talent away from their competitors – the better the experience and the more streamlined the process, the higher the chance of bringing in top talent faster.

Lengthy phone job interviews and survey type questions used to be the best practice for shortlisting candidates. This would lead into bringing shortlisted candidates onto the worksite to do in-person interviews and job previews. COVID-19 changed the landscape and balancing digital recruiting with the candidate experience is key.

In this article, I will be fleshing out what the candidate experience is, why it is important, and what talent acquisition teams can do to improve it.

What Is the Candidate Experience?

Sushman Biswas, an editor at the HR Technologist, defines the candidate experience as “the perception a job seeker has about an employer, based on the interaction during the complete recruitment process.”

The candidate experience consists of all areas of the recruiting life cycle but is not limited to: 

  • Employer Branding
  • Sourcing
  • Social Recruiting
  • Candidate CRM
  • Passive Candidate Nurturing
  • Applying
  • Qualifying
  • Evaluation
  • Selection
  • Hire
  • Onboarding

Establishing a positive candidate experience is under the responsibility of the organization. They bear the burden of making sure applicants feel like their time is valuable and that they have visibility into the application process with an open line of communication. Even if the candidate isn’t hired for the job, it is important to create a positive experience.

A positive candidate experience consists of:

  • Writing clear job descriptions that set realistic expectations for the job and work environment
  • Making it easy for candidates to apply to jobs with an easy and mobile-friendly process
  • Communicating employee value proposition
  • Giving candidates employment details and resources they need
  • Treating candidates with respect by communicating and thanking them at each step
  • Providing a streamlined interview experience
  • Communicating early and respectful when rejecting job applicants
  • Giving new employees everything they need to succeed in their role
  • Being open to giving and receiving feedback

Why Is It Important?

Talentegy conducted a study and found that 69% of candidates would share a negative experience on social media. This is important because a negative experience can deter other top performers from entering the pipeline. This negatively affects the brand and profitability as candidates are also consumers.

One of the main sources of negative candidate experiences is lack of communication. In a LinkedIn article by Bruce Anderson, he tells the story of a recruiter that is now on the hunt after losing her job to COVID-19. The candidate details her negative experiences and says “she was told that they are not moving forward” and that’s it. Her simple request was to give candidates some feedback.

In the same Talentegy study they found that 63% of candidates were not satisfied with communication from most employers and 75% were rarely or never asked for feedback. 4,000+ candidates found that 69% of candidates who had a negative experience in the recruitment process would “rarely” or “never” apply again. This is huge and will result in losing talent to competitors.

The flipside of this is that 82% would share a positive experience with their personal and professional networks. This network effect can passively source top candidates and reinforce employer brand experience.

In total 43% spend at least one to two hours researching a company before looking for jobs. 11.6% spend up to 5+ hours, according to Talentegy’s survey.

If attracting top talent, building first-class employer branding, and driving revenue is a priority then look no further than the candidate experience.

With a first-class candidate experience an organization can:

  • Attract more applicants
  • Win the war for talent
  • Improve the quality of hire
  • Increase brand awareness

How Knockri Uses AI to Provide a Solution

Knockri leverages explainable and evidence-based AI to automate tasks, scale assessments, and mitigate bias. As a social enterprise, the company’s mission is to empower candidates with fair and equal opportunity and provide organizations with diverse top talent.

Knockri is able to automate delivering assessments and interview scheduling, stack ranking top performers. This gives valuable time back to recruiters to connect with candidates. Recruiters can now build rapport, and create as many touch points as possible to be able to drive positive experiences.

“At least 75% of candidates drop off during the application stage of the experience, and the companies that prioritize how they brand that critical handoff from job page to an application will see that number decrease.”

The Knockri AI behavioural assessments is time-efficient and fun for candidates. A combination of video, audio, and written assessments can be completed within 15 minutes. Assessments are employer-branded and organizations are able to set the tone with warm, inviting videos and messaging. Hiring managers are able to pre-record questions to simulate in-person interviews. The assessments are convenient and low touch for candidates. Once completed, candidates are also able to complete a short review of the process.  Hiring managers and recruiters will have visibility into how candidates perceive and consume their assessments.

Knockri’s automated scoring technology does not account for race, gender, sexuality, physical appearance as determining factors for the candidate’s score on the assessment. The assessment bases a candidate’s eligibility on merit to drive impactful decreases in bias.

Our co-founder Jahanzaib experienced discrimination in the hiring processes where he received no callbacks on the initial application. When he anglicized his name he received job offers from the same organizations that ignored him. How many other candidates have shared a similar experience on their professional network with peers?


In the age of digital recruitment and automation, COVID-19 has forced those of us in the human capital industry to take a long look at our processes and ask the hard questions like “how does our process make candidates feel”? If the answer is not “valued” then the time is now to look for ways to transform it.

The way you build relationships with potential hires affects your ability to attract and keep top talent, build brand awareness, and win the war for talent. It has never been more critical than now to get the hiring decision right for all applicants.