Best of TLNT 2017: How You Treat Rejected Candidates Can Have A Big Impact

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Feb 9, 2017

Editor’s Note: It’s an annual tradition for TLNT to count down the most popular posts of the previous 12 months. We’re reposting each of the top 30 articles through January 2nd. This is No. 11 of 2017. You can find the complete list here.


Candidate experience will continue to be a major topic for companies and organizations for many years to come. Ensuring job candidates have a great experience starts with the job post and the ease of applying and continues straight through to onboarding.

Your employer brand goes hand-in-hand with candidate experience. According to LinkedIn, “One of the best ways to improve your organization’s employer brand as a recruiter is to provide a great experience for your candidates whether they are offered a job or not.”

Every candidate interaction reflects your employer brand. Think about a terrible customer service experience you’ve had. You’re less likely to support an organization if you were treated poorly when you needed assistance, right? Employer relationships are no exception.

Benefits of a positive candidate experience

When most employers think about the benefits of a positive candidate experience, they’re focused on retention, efficiency, productivity and even company culture, most of which is only going to impact their organization if the candidate is hired.

But what about the applicants they turn away? Sure, a rejected candidate isn’t going to help you grow revenue or contribute to the office culture, but there are still plenty of reasons to consider the experience for the folks who don’t get the gig.

The Talent Board’s UK survey reported that 70% of applicants would share negative application experiences with close friends and family; 31% would speak out publicly about a bad experience.

In today’s world, an impressionable experience (good or bad) can go viral in no time, so creating a positive experience for rejected candidates is more than just thoughtful, but also an investment in protecting your employer brand reputation.

LinkedIn survey found that 83% of professionals say a negative interview experience can change their mind about a role. The way that a company treats candidates is going to have the most lasting impact on the way they view the company; 87% of job candidates say a positive interview can change their mind about a company.

Positive feedback matters

Candidates want to grow but need to know how. The same LinkedIn survey found that 94% of professionals want interview feedback if they are rejected. Just as feedback can help shape better performance within the walls of your organization, appropriate and constructive criticism can help job seekers improve themselves too. Whether it’s a botched interview, a huge hole in their resume or flaky follow-up, the candidates who don’t make the cut may not realize where they can and should improve without some careful insights.

LinkedIn found that candidates were four-times more likely to consider a job with a company in the future if they were given constructive feedback after being rejected from them the first time.

Onboarding is part of the candidate experience

One final aspect of the candidate experience is onboarding, especially during a new employee’s first few weeks at a new job. The right employee onboarding process will make a company stand out to potential candidates. There are many companies, such as REI, Google and Zappos, that are masters of onboarding.

Solid new employee onboarding programs will have a positive impact on a business’s bottom line. It will also help an organization attract and retain the best talent and empowers an HR team to focus on finding, recruiting and securing the best talent for a company.

This article was originally published on the Sterling Talent Solutions blog.

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