3 must-haves when considering Candidate Experience

Pillars of Engagement


While the facets of digitisation continue to evolve and proliferate every aspect of human behaviour, communication remains the one constant in how people define and rate ‘experience’. Think about it, the right engagement creates understanding, understanding drives resonance and when that happens therein lies the metaphorical ‘ jackpot’.   

Whether it’s sharing, posting or just branding - being able to effectively communicate the what, when, why and how online, has completely transformed not only human-to-human conversations, but also brand-to-user engagement.

There are a lot of consumer-centric buzzwords:  ‘meaningful-engagement’, ‘personalisation’, ‘omnichannel journeys’, ‘experiential marketing’ etc constantly thrown into strategy and marketing conversations when the topic of communicating occurs.

 If you really analyse brands that actually deliver on communication e..g Amazon, Netflix, Paypal and Google…  Fundamentally you’ll see a commonality thread across three operating principles:  

Brands that win in the new digital era pay attention to these new rules of engagement. They're redefining what it means to be customer-focused. Everything is built around what "you" as a customer want, how "you" want to engage with them as a business. This is the new normal.

What does this have to do with HR?  

People have come to expect personalised experiences and services. Oftentimes, in HR we try to build processes for ‘candidates’ and in doing so forget that they are really just ‘people’, with the exact same motivations as ‘consumers’ 

Candidates are people, Candidates are consumers. Let that resonate. As consumers we expect to be able to track a parcel, receive live updates and even chat with the driver before we receive an order. 

Candidates approach the transaction of an application in exactly the same fashion they would any purchasing decision. Consumer behaviour principles demand that this interaction should 

And, what's more, they're approaching job applications in the same way they would any purchasing decision. They expect the experience to look and feel the same or at least similar. They have less patience for companies that are slow to respond or don't focus on building a relationship.


Misconceptions in Talent Acquisition and HR 

Every Google search on candidate experience shows content inundated with generalised process and product focused approaches. Pitches about optimising workflows that do not really touch on ‘experience’. What we  found is that almost all suggested methodologies are generalised and reactive at best: 

  1. A focus on static content: 

A well designed careers page, job description etc can only go so far regardless of how many filters, pictures or forms are implemented in its design. The average candidate spends 3-4 hours searching for and submitting a single application, while 70% companies think it takes them less than an hour.  

  1. The conundrum and disregard of choice:

‘Choice’ as a variable in hiring should consider both internal and external competition. In any buying decision, people are looking for the best option and can be swayed by proactive actions (think how many recommendations you’ve bought into whilst shopping for a particular product). Now, consider how your candidate experience could be transformed based if you introduced tailored on-demand job-recommendations.     

  1. Automatic, unpersonalised communications: 

Sending an automatic email acknowledging a candidate’s application or rejecting an application is simply not enough. What happens when a candidate has questions or wants to know the status of their application? How is this being managed?  


Why does this matter?


A great candidate experience is no longer a ‘nice to have’. In today’s competitive job market, timely follow-ups, clear communications and personalised interactions all have a big impact on your revenue, hiring costs and your ability to attract the best talent. 

49% of all job seekers have turned down an offer because of a bad candidate experience according to a  PwC survey. Meaning that the cost of hiring increases within a fragmented HR process , coupled with the increased competition for talent means companies lose time, money and effort in the hiring process. 

If we analyse the gaps between candidate expectations and HR practices the obvious problem becomes even more apparent. 

Manual systems, repetitive and time consuming tasks means that HR teams miss out on the opportunities to nurture relationships with candidates which has a direct impact 

Even more stats  

  • 60% of candidates go through a bad experience when applying to a new job

  • 72% of them choose to share that experience with others.

  • Only 59 of the Fortune 500 companies score higher than 80% on “Would recommend to a Friend’’ on Glassdoor.

  • Talent shortage is a real issue in the current market. Almost 75% of employers are having a difficult time finding skilled candidates and 45% of employers are concerned about finding employees with the necessary talents.

  • Employer response time is what 69% of candidates would most like to see improved, whilst 25% demand for  a simpler application process

The reasons why companies like Amazon, Google and Netflix are so lauded comes down to user experience. Every touchpoint is engineered to drive meaningful impact by building deep, meaningful relationships with every consumer. 

The more you use their services, the smarter and more personalised they become. Your hiring and HR processes should be no different. You should facilitate real-time insight into the status of every application and also that give candidates access to their information, your company on-demand. 

Consistent, relevant communication is what builds the most impactful relationships and helps companies morph candidates into brand followers, advocates, applicants and great hires. All good news for your EVP. 


Meet EVA 

EVA delivers customised, intelligent and ‘conversation-driven’ automations to help that help hiring teams scale. EVA turns every conversation into experiences that count, and insights that optimise. Our award-winning methodology delivers value  by converging Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Chatbots, Machine Learning and Analytics. EVA helps forward-thinking recruitment functions reduce waste and optimise service delivery. 

To be successful and meet the changing expectations of candidates, candidates need to communicate on their terms.  Here’s how we help you win by facilitating on-demand, transparent and accessible technologies for both your hiring teams and your candidates. 

Hiring teams 

We build automated and RPA driven workflows managed by our NLP chatbot - EVABot. This reduces the time that hiring teams spend on top of the funnel tasks and refocuses their energies on building relationships with candidates. Our engineering principles consider:


All candidate information, marketing analytics, and documents are available anytime, anywhere. All data within EVA is integrated into your existing HR systems allowing your team to query for information across multiple  systems from a single source of truth. 


All data entered within is accurate in real-time. Once our chatbot or a member of your team talks to a candidate the information is immediately available to everyone and can be shared with hiring managers. This ensures that every recruiter has the right information, marketing teams can optimise their efforts and people managers can measure their efforts and  provide coaching where needed based on real-time analytics. 


EVA’s communication hub that houses the history of interactions between every member of your team and a candidate. Transforming how you talent relationship management from stagnant databases and reactive methodologies to data-driven, efficient and productive processes. This means any member of your team can make the best decision for any candidate based on a common shared knowledge.  


We help hiring teams create seamless candidate experiences by facilitating an always-on system that is: 


EVA’s candidate self-serve portal gives candidates everything the with they need to support their careers: View, accept and decline recommended jobs, They can request to speak with a human, update , wok  experience, domains of expertise, regional focus, and more


EVABot’s Omni-channel capacity spans across social channels, internal mobility systems, talent communities, websites and SMS. Allowing candidates to add/update their profile: contact information, education as soon as they have built up some new work experience/qualification. 


Candidates can Apply, and track the progress of current applications Add/update their profile: contact information, education, Track progress of current/previous applications, and easily express interest in others or deregister from others

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What do job applications and Tinder have in common?

After a particularly horrible day at work, I like to spend my train ride home applying to 27 job adverts using the handy 1-click apply tool on LinkedIn. Even if I’m not the perfect fit for the job, I apply anyway. It’s stress relieving and pretty fun, sort of like swiping on Tinder. I’m not serious about the jobs I apply for–or the guys I swipe right on–but if it were to lead to something, I wouldn’t turn down a new opportunity.

But let’s be honest, when is the last time that actually happened?

Sure, now we can 1-click apply on LinkedIn. And express interest in a local 'boo' with just one swipe. We have access to thousands of roles at our fingertips across hundreds of job boards. And thousands of potential new suitors on dating apps. Yet somehow, neither make it easier or bring us closer to achieving our goals.

Because our ‘applications’ end up in a pile with hundreds of others, leaving us ghosted and wondering where we went wrong.

All joking aside, applying for a job is a daunting, time-consuming and monotonous process. Typical form-based applications are outdated and of little value to both employers and potential employees. It’s no surprise that 80% of candidates drop off before completing a job application, 48% of which drop off due to a complicated ATS system (Glassdoor). On the contrary, conversations with chatbots in relevant channels–rather than one-way data exchanges in application forms–lead to a candidate application completion rates of over 60%.

Is your technology helping or hindering your candidate experience?

Meanwhile, the candidate journey experience–every interaction between company and candidate that happens during the hiring process–is growing in impact.

But terrible application experiences can’t possibly be the norm, right?

Wrong. We submitted job applications to over 124 companies across five verticals and 36 industries, while measuring a number of factors to give each company a candidate experience and create a benchmark for each vertical. What we learned only confirmed our suspicions: applying for a job sucks. Even when you go to a company’s website and apply through the proper channels. Here are our results:

Average number of clicks to apply: 73 clicks (up to 189)

There are self-driving cars, yet, most companies (100% in our study) use traditional form-based applications that collect the same information found on a candidate's CV. Keep in mind that 59% of candidates apply for a job through a career site (Potentialpark). And around50% of candidates decide not to apply after visiting a company’s career website, often because of how poor it is. Even the most innovative companies claim to be different in their job descriptions and company profiles but fail to differentiate themselves where it really matters.

Average time to apply: 17 to 40 minutes

Time is money. This is why recruiters take an average of 6 seconds to scan a resume (Ladders). Which is why it feels so cruel when companies require candidates to invest up to 40 minutes to apply to a position.

85% of companies sent an automated email to acknowledge our job application

It’s the year 2020. There are a plethora of communication methods at our disposal to create meaningful connections (with the exception of Tinder). Even Telegram has made a come-back. Hiring companies force job seekers through complicated career sites but fail to acknowledge their applications with a simple email or letter (the most antiquated communication methods). We feel lucky about our results here because according to Talent Board, this figure is most likely under 70%.

70% of companies didn't respond to our application

Talk about being ghosted. This whopping 30% even trumps the 25% of people that have been ghosted on Tinder (BuzzFeed). While a catch-and-release on Tinder may or may not leave a little emotional scarring, poor communication has a direct impact on future applications and whether candidates will consider a company in their future job searches and respond to other job postings from a company: 80% of job seekers say they would not reapply to a company that didn’t notify them of their application status (Lever).

The good news is, a simple rejection will not have the same impact. Those same candidates said they would be 3.5 times more likely to reapply in the future if the company followed up with a simple email or phone call to notify them that they were declined.

Companies that did respond took an average of 22 days

Kudos to the 30% of companies that did respond, however, the responses all consisted of un-personalised, disingenuous and templated emails that only slightly alleviated the bitter taste in our mouths. During those twenty-two days, we applied to over 100 other companies. And chances are, your applicants are doing the same. Isn’t it time for companies to differentiate themselves by their candidate experience? 

Whether you accept it or not, candidate experience has a dramatic effect on every metric that matters: cost per hire, job-offer acceptance, and even revenue generation. IBM found that applicants who were satisfied with the recruiting process were 38% more likely to accept a job offer than those who were dissatisfied.

While recruiting can be expensive, having a broken candidate experience can be more costly. Great candidate experience isn't a “nice to have.” In a competitive job market, timely follow-ups, clear communication, and personalised interactions all have a big impact on revenue, hiring costs, and your ability to attract the best talent.

Before you leave work today, apply to an open job on your company’s career website.

Throughout the process ask yourself: Is this a company I would swipe for?

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