Candidate Experience Sucks in Spite of it Being Well Designed?


A very sweet voice informed me that I was short-listed for the position. I had heard good things about the company and my research including a quick check on Glassdoor looked all positive. I was greeted by a warm smile and was asked if I cared for a coffee as I waited for a few minutes.

The interview started on time. The interviewer was a senior professional who made me comfortable by starting the interview with a bit of small-talk about weather and traffic. I could answer most of the technical questions, but I was very impressed by the technical knowledge of the interviewer. Most of the questions were open ended and tested my approach and analytical abilities rather than specific language or syntax. The interview ended with a handshake and warm smile accompanied by “Thank you for your valuable time”. After the interview, a lady from HR offered lunch and showed me around the facility.  I felt like a VIP and it was obvious to me that the entire experience was a perfect enactment of a well thought out script. The sweetness of the words, the warmth of the smiles and the firmness of the hand-shake had nothing to do with me or my performance in the interview. I am sure that every candidate before and after me would have the same experience.

To add to my discomfort was the long silence that followed. Finally, I called the company using their board number. HR couldn’t give me proper feedback. I was told that the process was on and there were no offers made yet. Finally I asked the operator to connect me to the interviewer. I got through after several attempts. He didn’t remember my name, but promised to revert back. Several days passed without any communication. Finally I decided to accept another offer.

Does it sound like a familiar story? I wouldn’t have minded if I was told on my face that I was rejected. I would rather have candid feedback – which could add to my learning. Total silence that followed the interview was a professional insult. I had several questions. Did I stand a chance? Was I among the top few? Did the company really have the job? Was it still open? What part of my resume impressed them enough to call me for the interview? What was the caliber of other candidates? Was I off the mark? If so why was I short-listed ? The company owed me some feedback which I never got.

There are some other companies who do give feedback – but that too is picked from this list of well scripted stock answers –

  • “Looking at your achievements and the job profile we feel that you would be a better match for another profile. We don’t currently have any positions open in that area. We will let you know in case it happens.”
  • “We are quite impressed by you and your accomplishments. But we were lucky to have many others with equally good track records. It was a tough decision. Finally we had to pick one. We have decided to hire another candidate. However we will keep your resume on our record for future openings.”
  • “ You were in fact way overqualified for this position. We had to hire someone else to maintain balance in the team.”
  • “Unfortunately the position you applied for was filled up by a current employee who was willing to get transferred.”
  • “There were recent changes in our management leading to a total change of current priorities. We have put this position on hold. We will let you know if we decide to re-open it.”

So many words – but no constructive feedback for the candidate to learn or improve.

As an HR professional there is one thing I can say with confidence – job interview is a two way process and it’s stressful. Candidate is putting all her talent and future career on the line. The company is also investing their time and resources in search of that “best fit” candidate.

Candidate experience is a very broad spectrum. It starts from your office receptionist, junior recruiter to the company’s CEO. Everyone needs to put their sincere efforts to create it.

Nowadays automation allows you to screen almost all the applications you receive; it’s also possible to reply to all of them. We should at least acknowledge all the candidate applications and keep the candidates updated on the further steps.

In line with my views I would also like to share some facts received from 2017 Talent Board Research Report which clearly express the importance of candidate experience.

  • 33% of candidates with a negative experience intended to share the news publically via social media,
  • 86% of candidates report that not receiving a basic application confirmation email creates a bad candidate experience,
  • 73% reported never having received a communication at all.

Whereas there is healthy influence as well which a positive candidate experience can bring in, here are few more stats from the above mentioned report-

  • 62% candidates with positive candidate experience says they will increase their relationship with a brands, products and networks,
  • 78% said they would refer someone in the future,
  • 62% were interested to apply again.

I strongly believe a great candidate experience is about good communication. Keep the candidate updated at every stage of the selection process. It’s very much doable with the use of technology (whatsapp, messaging apps, scheduler). We all have been job seekers at some point in our career – so we know it very well how it feels when you do not get any feedback/update on your candidature. Hiring is definitely about closing the position but the more we understand and design our hiring process from the job applicant’s point of view, the more productive it will be.

Thank You!

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I hope you enjoyed this article. Don’t forget to share your views. You can also tweet your comments to @Rezoomex and @Dinesh_Gokhale with #TechHiringBlog


Dinesh Gokhale is a seasoned professional with more than a decade of diversified experience into IT recruitment along with B2B sales, marketing, artificial intelligence and lean hiring technology. He is admired for his soft-skills.

Dinesh also is an enthusiastic sportsperson, reader, traveller and a die hard foodie. Currently, he is working in the capacity of Intrapreneur with Rezoomex.


One thought on “Candidate Experience Sucks in Spite of it Being Well Designed?

  1. Pingback: Transparency is the foundation of good candidate experience- Part 1 | Vinayak Joglekar

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