Why a Poor Candidate Experience Destroys Your Brand


The day before Heather was supposed to start her new job, she still hadn’t received any information from the company with details regarding her first day. She had reached out to the company recruiter several times and did not receive a response.

The next day, on the morning of her expected start date, she received an email from the recruiter that the company was rescinding the offer. They had offered Heather’s position to an internal candidate instead.

She had been kept in the dark for an entire week!

As a single mother, she panicked. This was her livelihood. She had been laid off from her last position unexpectedly and felt so lucky to have found this new job so quickly. She had lost valuable time not applying to other jobs because she thought she had one lined up. She couldn’t sleep. She couldn’t eat.

She will never recommend that company’s product after being treated with such disregard.


Josh and his family planned to relocate to Colorado. He had been applying to jobs in CO for over a year with no luck. The employers he heard back from expressed hesitation about him living out of state even though he planned to relocate for personal reasons.

He made it to the final round of interviews with a Colorado-based company which entailed flying out for in-person interviews. Afterwards, the recruiter told him they would get back to him right away. When he didn’t hear back a week later, he emailed and called. He never got a response and never heard back from the company.

The failure to communicate made the recruitment process feel cold and impersonal. He will never recommend that company’s services.

Josh and Heather’s stories are based on actual events. They both found new employment and a significant factor in the decision to join their next company was based on how they were treated during the recruitment process. The effective and responsive communication throughout the process spoke volumes about the company’s culture and respect for their employees.

A 2021 survey conducted by Indeed revealed that 77% of US job seekers have been ghosted by an employer, meaning the employer abruptly cut off contact with the candidate without explanation. Additionally, the survey reported that 10% of job seekers were ghosted after receiving a verbal offer.

Currently in the state of Colorado, there are 1.99 job openings per job seeker. In today’s incredibly tight talent market, it’s more important than ever for employers to improve the candidate experience if they want to attract and hire top talent.

Further, your candidates are your customers. If you treat candidates poorly, it’s a direct reflection of your company brand. Candidates treated well will become your brand ambassadors even if they don’t get the job. As shared on Talent Works, Should the Candidate Experience be Synonymous with the Customer Experience (August 2021):

"Candidates can damage your reputation as an employer in the process of sharing their experience on social media. We’ve seen throughout the last year many examples of staff being mistreated and brands being called out for it, which damages their reputation amongst candidates and consumers. Thanks to social media, your employer brand and consumer brand are becoming more intrinsically linked than ever before."

To elevate the candidate experience, consider looking at it through the lens of the customer lifecycle phases.
Phase Customer Lifecycle Candidate Lifecycle Elevate the Candidate Experience
Initial contact; customer is exploring different potential solutions.
Candidate explores job opportunities at the company.
Make it easy for candidates to find your job openings and explore more about the company.
Engaging and educating the prospective customer on your brand and product/services.
Candidate learns more about the company and considers if it’s a fit with their interests. They continue educating themselves in future steps.
Create an engaging “Careers” section on your website. Describe what it’s like to work at your company, your values and include links to relevant company information.
A prospective customer decides to purchase the product/service.
Candidate applies to position at the company.
Ensure it’s a streamlined process to apply that takes less than 15 minutes. Candidates can get deterred when the application is too long.
Post Purchase Engagement
Ongoing relationship building and follow-up after a purchase.
Candidate is engaged during the interview process.
Timely and consistent communication is critical to keep candidates engaged. Communicate during each step the recruitment process. Close the loop with all candidates.
Those loyal to your brand and are committed to sharing your brand with others.
Candidates become brand advocates when they have positive experiences (whether or not they got the position).
Keep a database of candidates. Stay in touch when there are future opportunities.
  • Design a thoughtful and intentional candidate strategy.
  • Consider your candidate experience from an emotional perspective. How do you want candidates to feel throughout the process?
  • Update the recruitment process to enhance the candidate experience.
  • Define the standards you can commit to throughout the recruitment process. When you have an SLA, everyone participating in the recruitment process, from the recruiter to the hiring manager, are held accountable to the same expectations throughout the process.
  • Center your SLA around communication. Go above and beyond to communicate in a timely manner and stay connected throughout the process.
  • We recommend the following communication touchpoints for all applicants: Upon receipt of application
  • Keep informed of next steps during interview process
  • Confirm either way if the candidate is moving to the next round interview When closing the position (whether or not they were interviewed or hired.
  • Provide an expected timeframe for the recruitment process.
  • Be thoughtful and intentional at each step of the recruitment process.
  • Before making a job offer, ensure you have done your due diligence: Are all key stakeholders in agreement? Have internal applicants been considered? Are you 100% committed to offering the position to the candidate?
  • When there is an influx of candidates applying to open positions, a manual process can be challenging and cumbersome. It’s hard to keep up with communications to applicants or even keep track of applicants.
  • Consider utilizing technology (such as an applicant tracking system) to help streamline the process and standardize communications.
  • Posting on job boards like Indeed or LinkedIn (who have built-in applicant portals) is an alternative option to streamline your process without making a technology investment.


Solvere HR Consulting provides practical HR solutions that optimize your organizational capability and profitability through your most valuable asset — your employees. Learn more about us at www.solverehr.com.