One of the key components to organizational survival or prosperity is the ability to attract and engage talent on a consistent basis. Over the years, organisations have geared up their talent teams with state of the art sourcing tools and capabilities, as a way to hunt down top tier talent. In more recent times, organisations have shifted their focus forming better relationships with Candidates.
The candidate, who once was a number, is now a vital cog to successful branding. Why is this so? Research conducted by Career Builder in 2015 found that 82% of employers felt there was no negative impact to the business if a candidate had a less than stellar experience going for a vacancy. But in fact 69% of candidates said they were less than likely to buy from an organisation where they had a bad experience. Nine per cent said they would inform others not to buy. 
Virgin Media did a study and found that poor candidate experience cost them over $5m a year because out of 123,000 candidate rejections they made in one year, 6% canceled their membership.
Global jobs site Glassdoor, provides some alarming statistics that further highlight how closely aligned candidate experience and employer brand attraction are.
In one candidate survey, 69% said they would not take a job with a company that had a bad reputation, even if they were unemployed.
84% would consider leaving their current jobs if offered another role with a company that had an excellent reputation.
46% of Glassdoor members are reading review when they have just started their job search and have not yet spoken with a company recruiting or hiring manager.
The majority of job seekers read at least six reviews before forming an opinion of a company.
Glassdoor has 33million users and 10million company reviews. 
Organisations that haven’t improved their candidate experience channels are missing out massive opportunities. Whilst many have targeted an uplift in their careers page, there is still greater work to be done if organisations truly want to improve their candidate experience.
There are a growing number of new ATS players in the market today than ever before. With each new ATS, there is a greater focus on automating the candidate experience. Companies such as Lever, have developed a streamlined integrated recruitment workflow, which includes candidate nurturing. The nurturing process allows for Candidates to enter the organization’s talent brand funnel earlier and thus, develop an affiliation with the company. Customized automated emails provide touch points that can only improve and enhance experience, even if the candidate is not actively looking for work.
If you don’t have the luxury of a nifty ATS, then there are other means to improve experience for candidates. It starts with listening and understanding more about who your candidates actually are. I recommend utilizing a design thinking approach to uncover hidden methods to attract and engage the candidates that your organisation demands. Design thinking starts with applying empathy and understanding what the problems are. I recommend hosting sample groups and work shopping how many points of interactions there actually is with potential candidates.
You’ll find better ways to connect with candidates and increase employer-branding opportunities than ever before. Depending upon your budget, you may not be able to address all areas, but you can be more strategic about how you spend the money and be confident about what will work and what won’t work.
Candidates can be current and future customers of the business. Just like with customers, seeing the process through the lens of a candidate can help provide a broader branding opportunity for any organisation and can have a positive impact on the bottom line.
Ken is the Founder of a Global Talent Management consultancy, called Career Prophets. He specializes in designing better experiences for organisations and optimizes the end-to-end recruitment process.