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Improve the Candidate Experience to Get Better Talent in the Door Faster

You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

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  • Kim Benedict, Strategic Talent Acquisition Advisor, Facilitator and Speaker, TalentMinded Inc.
  • Gerry Crispin, Board Member, and Principal & Chief Navigator, Talent Board & CareerXroads
  • Michelle Oryschak, Talent Acquisition Leader, TD

Your Challenge

  • Until recently it was an employer’s market, so recruiters and hiring managers were able to get good talent without courting top candidates.
  • Recruiting is stuck in the past with limited applicant tracking system (ATS) functionality, poor career sites, and outdated talent acquisition methodologies that limit the ability to “wow” talent.
  • Internal HR rarely has the opportunity to look at the candidate experience holistically so they might be unable to pinpoint their pains.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • The job market is shifting, and candidates now have more power to accept and reject jobs.
  • Organizations can’t afford to be lazy with their candidate experience. Candidates, especially top talent, will expect to be courted by employers instead of the other way around.
  • If you don’t treat your candidates like your customers, you will lose out financially. A CareerBuilder survey found that 58% of candidates are less likely to purchase a product from a company that didn’t respond to their job application.

Impact and Result

  • Organizations must offer an exceptional candidate experience that not only takes into account the organization’s talent needs, but also the experience from the candidate’s point of view.
  • Individuals from the organization that are responsible for bringing in new talent need to be accountable, empathetic, and capable of representing their organization and brand in a way that appeals to talent.
  • A holistic approach is required when improving the candidate experience, as so many processes within it affect all of the other parts. By looking at all of the processes and elements of the candidate experience at once, it is easy to identify the problem areas, create processes that flow logically from one segment into the next, and streamline internal capabilities for optimal efficiency and cost.

Research & Tools

1. Prepare to assess the candidate experience

Review the ACE (accuracy, communication, and empathy) elements, assess the organization's online career experience, ATS, and talent acquisition team, and gather feedback to develop action items to improve.

2. Assess the candidate experience

Decide on key project metrics and identify pain points to understand which candidate experience segments to focus on.

3. Develop an action plan

Identify action points for the candidate experience segments, document those action points, and determine the training accountabilities and timelines that are expected from hiring managers and talent acquisition specialists.

Guided Implementations

This guided implementation is a six call advisory process.

Guided Implementation #1 - Prepare to assess the candidate experience

Call #1 - Discuss the merits of improving your candidate experience and how to make the case to stakeholders in your organization.
Call #2 - Learn and understand the ACE elements and how they affect the candidate experience throughout.
Call #3 - Learn how to improve three critical candidate experience elements before proceeding.

Guided Implementation #2 - Assess the candidate experience

Call #1 - Walk through the Candidate Experience Assessment Tool, and learn how the assessment can help you to identify pain points within your current candidate experience.

Guided Implementation #3 - Develop an action plan

Call #1 - Review your action plan and ensure that you are set up for success.
Call #2 - Learn how to use the service-level agreements effectively and create guidelines that all stakeholders can commit to.

Onsite Workshop

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Onsite workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn't enough, we offer low-cost onsite delivery of our project workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a roadmap in place to complete your project successfully.

Module 1: Assess Current State and Establish Project Goals

The Purpose

  • Assess the organization’s current state for candidate experience.
  • Set baseline metrics to compare new initiatives to.
  • Establish goals to strengthen the candidate experience. 

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Gained understanding of where the organization is currently.
  • Established where the organization would like to be and goals to achieve the new state.
  • Set metrics to compare the organization’s initiatives.




Establish high-level objectives.

  • High-level objectives are set.

Assess the applicant tracking system (ATS), career site, and team structure.

  • Assessment of ATS, career site, and team structure is determined.

Select metrics and assess the current state.

  • Specific metrics are established, benchmark metrics are documented, and the current state of the candidate experience is assessed.

Module 2: Determine Activities Based on the Results of the Candidate Experience Assessment Tool

The Purpose

  • Determine which segments of the candidate experience need improvement.
  • Set expectations with hiring managers and talent acquisition specialists through a service-level agreement. 

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Segments with pain points have been identified and an action plan has been created for improvement.
  • Service-level agreement was completed and expectations have been collaboratively set.




Activities will vary per organization based on the segments of the candidate experience that require improvements.

  • Action plan created for candidate experience segments.

Establish a candidate experience service-level agreement.

  • Completion of the candidate experience service-level agreement.