An Introduction to Candidate Experience (CX)

Approximately 40 percent of job applicants leave the application process before they’ve completed it because they aren't offered a good candidate experience (CX).

By Tim Proehm, VP, Digital Product Development  |  May 17, 2017

If you owned an e-commerce store and you discovered that 40 percent of your customers opted out during the checkout process, what would you do?

You’d probably get your sales team to take a good, hard look at everything from your website design and social media to your blogs and ads to pinpoint where the problem was. You’d invest time and money in figuring out what needed to be done differently and how. And then you’d get the best UX and UI designers you could find to redesign all the components of your sales funnel to deliver an outstanding customer experience.

You’re probably wondering how this scenario is relevant to the recruiting industry. Well, approximately 40 percent of job applicants leave the application process before they’ve completed it. The reasons for this range from technological processes that are too lengthy or complex to a lack of functionality to a general misperception of how a specific candidate persona prefers to be engaged. In other words, job applicants bail because they aren’t offered a good candidate experience (CX).

The benefits of a good CX

Candidate experience, or CX, is how job applicants perceive, respond to, and feel about a company’s recruitment process. We use the term “CX” because the current job application process is almost completely technology driven, from the first touchpoint with a company to all the tools used in the application process. And just like an online e-commerce customer experience, when done correctly, a CX applies a user-centric view of leveraging technology in the application process.

Consider this: Today’s applicants have many potential touchpoints with an organization, including its Facebook and LinkedIn pages, Twitter accounts, and talent communities. The content of a company’s blog, social media pages, and other online conversations is carefully crafted to appeal to a target audience while its social media team keeps the dialogue open and informative. In fact, all these touchpoints play an invaluable role in attracting quality candidates and motivating them to apply for a job.

That’s why a good CX is first and foremost aligned with the company’s outward-facing messaging and employer brand. It makes the candidate feel valued and empowered. But it also delivers a seamless job application process powered by high quality technology that supports the candidate every step of the way.

A good CX is available on multiple platforms and allows for easy data input. It’s properly tailored to an ideal candidate persona, keeps job seekers informed about the status of their applications, and offers feedback on their qualifications.

Companies can benefit considerably from delivering a good CX. A first-choice candidate who feels valued and empowered by an employer is more likely to accept a job offer, which enhances the employer’s chances of attracting and retaining high quality talent. Furthermore, silver medalists and other rejected applicants will feel encouraged to apply for other positions with the same employer, share their positive experiences with others, and if applicable, keep purchasing the company’s products or services.

The potential cost of a poor CX

A poor CX is uniform, impersonal, and does not make candidates feel valued. Applicants don’t receive sufficient—or even any—information about the status of their application, let alone feedback about their qualifications. As a result, they’re unlikely to apply to the same company again and very likely to share their negative experiences on a site like In fact, a 2016 survey by Future Workplace and CareerArc titled “The Candidate Experience Study” revealed that just under 60 percent of job seekers reported having had a negative CX—and more than 70 percent shared it online or directly. The same survey also showed that the majority of candidates wanted timely updates on the status of their applications and improved communications during and after the application process.

In addition, a poor CX is built on subpar and/or uninspired technological processes. Examples include application processes that aren’t available on mobile devices, platforms that don’t correctly parse data from résumés to populate the input fields on an application page, or failure to confirm an application has been received. In some cases, user interfaces and process workflows simply aren’t designed to appeal to the candidate.

It’s important to note that it’s too easy to blame technology for a poor CX. Consider this: Amazon delivers a fantastic user experience every day to millions of customers around the world—and all those recommendations, order status updates, and specially-tailored offers are driven by technology. In short, the quality of a CX isn’t limited by technology, but by a lack of insight into what candidates really expect from an application process.

Delivering a good CX

Clearly, it’s in every employer’s best interest to deliver a good CX for every applicant. Fortunately, today’s technology offers all the capabilities to provide an efficient, seamless, and engaging CX. That’s why recruiters and hiring managers need to start thinking like marketers and focus on what’s really important about the recruitment process: the talented human beings on the other side of the screen.

To continue the conversation, connect with me on LinkedIn, and follow me on Twitter @tproehm

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