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The Candidate Experience as a Success Factor in Recruiting

The shift in power on the job market to the benefit of applicants is having a significant impact on the application process. Terms such as Candidate Journey and Candidate Experience are becoming more and more important. The Candidate Journey refers to the path applicants take from the first point of contact with a company to the conclusion of the application process. The Candidate Experience describes the positive and negative experiences of applicants during the application process from the candidate's point of view and how they experienced their potential employer during this time. The candidate experience is not necessarily related to the outcome of the process, i.e., whether the applicant has been accepted or rejected.

In this article, you will learn what is especially important for applicants during the hiring process and what you as a company can do to ensure this:

Why is a good candidate experience so important?

Qualified workers, whether they are actively looking for a job or not, quite often have more than one position to choose from. Due to the lack of suitable applicants, employers are forced to compete for future employees. If the candidate journey takes too long, or if applicants don't feel valued, they abandon the hiring process prematurely. 

The first impression you get of the company is what counts. After all, insofar as a positive initial contact has taken place, potential applicants now have a wide range of options for forming an idea of the company in advance, in which online portals such as kununu, for instance, play an important role.  

According to a study by the Human Capital Institute on the Candidate Experience, applicants read an average of six reviews about companies on applicant portals to learn about the company. And around 55 percent say they avoid companies that have predominantly bad reviews. 

But in the meanwhile, not only the employers themselves can be rated in various portals, some platforms also offer the possibility to rate the application process at the company. 72 percent of those surveyed state that they have shared negative experiences during the candidate journey in the digital network. For companies, this means that a negative candidate experience can result in a lower number of applications.

How to inspire candidates for your business

To ensure that candidates feel comfortable on their journey and don't abandon the hiring process prematurely, employers should focus on the following points:

1. Proper communication of the corporate culture

The meta HR examined, among other things, the communication of corporate culture in a survey. According to the study, only 40 percent of the companies are successful in communicating their own culture to the candidates. 25 percent said that the company culture after admission was actually better than expected. However, a good third of those questioned perceived the corporate culture to be less positive.

The objective should therefore be for employers to address their own corporate culture. In this way, it can also be clearly and authentically communicated to the public. Relevant corporate culture aspects and exciting employee benefits increase the employer branding and, in connection with that, the number of job applications.

2. Transparency and duration of the recruitment process

From modern employer applicants are expecting the process of application to be as short and fast as possible. One rule of the thumb is for the application process to take no more than six weeks. If the procedure takes too long, there is a very high likelihood that candidates will abandon the application themselves. Being transparent during the entire application process is particularly crucial. Candidates like knowing where they are at. Companies gain a competitive advantage if they keep their candidates informed of how the process has progressed and where they stand. Employers gain more points by providing candidates a personal representative to whom they can also contact at any time with questions.

3. Appreciation

A very important point, but one which is often overlooked: Candidates must be treated with respect and appreciation at all times. This may include, as already done in the context of a personal contact, providing timely updates on the status of the recruitment process, and the progress of the process. Applicants should be treated by the employer as equal and with respect. As companies have to compete for qualified staff, they can no longer be treated "from above". 

It is recommended to take time for the applicants. This brings many benefits. The company as well as the applicants get to know each other this way. Additionally, the employer and employee build trust in each other during the application process. This makes the onboarding easier for the employer and reduces the drop-out rate for the employees. Both these factors are especially useful for the next recommendation.

4. Smooth onboarding

However, once the hiring process is complete, employers should continue to avoid disruptions. Particularly in the on-boarding of the new employees. A Positive candidate experience is the basis for a good personnel loyalty, as a candidate experience is not a perfect one when it fails during the on-boarding phase. One reason for the failure could be a lack of interest from the supervisor, or even an unfriendly manager.

2021 conducted the Haufe on-boarding study, the findings of which showed that there is frequently a lack of ressources for a modern on-boarding. Already in the pre-boarding stage, digital infrastructures, employee interviews and required budgets are very often missing. It is recommended to establish contact between the executive and the candidate at an an early stage and to create the necessary foundations.

5. Establishment of an experience design

Irrespective of industry, it makes sense for employers to strive for a user-friendly simplification of the application process. Based on the results of several studies, the need for a good candidate journey is very important for employee loyalty after the recruitment procedure. Targeted measures during the application process can establish and strengthen the loyalty and retention of new employees. 


In the battle for the best candidates, companies should not only focus on adjusting the corporate culture to the new requirements, but also on ensuring that the application process does not already scare off many qualified candidates. A positive and honest external image, quicker procedures, respect, transparency and a good candidate journey are essential components of this process.. Positive candidate journeys give organizations a competitive advantage, which is particularly evident in the low bounce rates of applicants.

Learn more about the challenges of attracting new staff in our article:


About Vality One

We support companies in the pharmaceutical, biotech and medical technology sectors in their search for highly qualified personnel on a permanent basis and via contracting. In doing so, we cover the entire value chain of your company and the entire product life cycle of your drug or medical product.

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