A negative candidate experience can cause a company to lose top talent. 

Why it’s essential to think about the candidate experience in recruitment

A company can post vacancies on every possible platform, boast about benefits and funnel significant resources into recruitment strategies. However, if it's not considering the candidate experience, then all that time and effort may be a waste. 

The perception that job seekers form of your company when applying to open positions can make or break whether a candidate finishes submitting his application as well as whether he accepts an offer. If an organization has an application process that is drawn-out and complicated, it may lose potentially top talent to competitors with more streamlined systems.

Fortunately, the HR industry and hiring managers alike are becoming more aware of the importance of creating a positive candidate experience. In fact, this theme is one of the main recruitment trends of 2017, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.

All these elements together can help companies design application processes that create more positive perceptions.

Here are some tips for organizations wishing to improve their candidate experiences:

Enable greater transparency and interaction
Applying for a job should not be a one-way street, where the company calls all the shots and the candidate has no opportunity to give feedback. Talent Board's 2016 North American Candidate Experience Awards Research Report found that nearly 30 percent of job candidates who rated their application experience with a company as "five-star" were asked to provide feedback on the process. Conversely, 88 percent of candidates who rated their experience as "one-star" were never asked for any type of feedback.

When an organization shows interest in candidates' thoughts during the application process, it creates a sense of trust, respect and transparency that reflects positively on the company and positions it as an attractive place to work.

Applying for a job should not be a one-way street, where the candidate has no opportunity to give feedback."

Take an honest look at the process
Applicant tracking systems can help HR professionals more quickly process scores of resumes, but they can also be tedious and frustrating for candidates.

Companies should review their application processes from the perspective of the candidate, and identify sore spots that could cause frustration, such as having to re-enter resume data multiple times or having to click through 10 pages before being able to submit an application. 

In the same vein, allow candidates to apply via mobile. For those companies with existing mobile processes, they should ensure the system is streamlined and easy to read. 

Communicate better and more often
A major source of frustration is that applicants hardly – or never – hear back from companies on the status of their applications. A survey by AskAManager found that nearly half of job-seekers say their biggest complaint about the candidate experience is that they do not receive any type of response from the company.

And the Talent Board report found that 47 percent of candidates still haven't heard a response after two months, while just 20 percent receive an email letting them know that they were not being considered for the role. Companies should establish systems for regularly communicating with all applicants, whether or not they are being considered. 

Partner with a high-quality recruitment firm 
Working with a recruitment firm that's focused on the power of human capital as well as the importance of a streamlined, transparent and productive talent-sourcing process can help companies more closely align their hiring processes with their business goals while creating positive experiences that attract top talent.