The phrase “candidate experience” might not mean much to the average job seeker, but it keeps good hiring managers and recruiters up at night. They’re worried about alienating you and your many talents — as they should be, considering how many job seekers drop out during the hiring process.
What does “candidate experience” mean for you?
It’s everything that happens to you after you make contact with a company during your efforts to get a job. Your experience as a candidate for a position is the sum total of how well you’re treated and how pleasant you find the organization’s hiring process. But should it affect whether you accept a job offer?
Yes. The difference between a positive negative candidate experience can — and should — have a big influence where you decide to work. After all, how well a company (or person within that company) treats you as a potential employee can say much about how you can expect to be treated after being hired. The best companies and managers know this and prioritize making the application process as pleasant as possible.
As you proceed through your job search, consider these three aspects of an organization’s hiring experience before you accept a job offer:
Employers regard it as a red flag if you don’t ask questions during a job interview. But if the employer didn’t offer you the chance to ask questions, it could also indicate that they don’t value your input or perspective.
Inconsistencies like this can be a warning sign that the organization’s leadership doesn’t hold themselves accountable to the same expectations they place on employees, which can lead to headaches down the road. Imagine how frustrated you’d be in a workplace where your boss makes no time to understand how they’re doing as a manager, while at the same time often harping on what you could have done better or different.
If, during the hiring process you get a sense that you’re bringing a level of professionalism that isn’t reciprocated on the other side of the interview desk, this could be a potentially serious sign of a flawed work culture.
You wouldn’t expect — or trust — an employer to extend a job offer the instant you send them a resume. But you can, and should, expect a signal indicating that they received your resume and timely follow-ups after interviews or discussions.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen. There are plenty of organizations and application platforms that have no apparent communication plan — personal, automated, or otherwise — for dealing with applicants.
You can decide what level of communication you consider to be the baseline for what’s adequate, and hold the organizations you interact with accountable to it. Some expectations (such as a daily phone call) might be a little high, but the very least you can expect is a simple confirmation message after having filled out a form, just to assure you that you haven’t uploaded your contact info into a giant black hole.
Depending on the nature of the position, multiple rounds of interviews can seem frustrating and unnecessary, but they do at least show that the company takes its culture seriously.
Alternatively, if a hiring manager or an intermediary was the only person you talked to between submitting your application and receiving a job offer, and if they didn’t ask plenty of questions about how well you work with others, you can expect that you also won’t have much of a say in who the company hires once you become an employee.
Throughout the hiring process, learn what you can about a company’s culture from your experience as a candidate. This includes any intel our recruiters might have from their firsthand experience understanding what hiring managers require from their employees. An advantage you have from our proximity to the hiring process is an inside look at workplace culture, job environment and more.
If your job experience leaves something to be desired, and you’re ready to explore your options, contact Aerotek. Visit our job board to find your next great opportunity. Create a free career account today to customize your search. And consider contacting an expert career advisor: Our recruiters are available to provide advice you can use.