An applicant’s experience during the pre-employment stage can truly make or break their decision to join an organization. According to a survey, around 83 percent of talent say that a negative experience has changed how they feel about working for the job they once liked. Similarly, around 87% of talent report that a positive pre-employment experience can truly change their perception about a job position in a company they once were very uncertain about. These stats show how vital the applicant experience is, particularly during the pre-employment stage. 

The Applicant Experience: What Is It?  

An applicant experience is how an applicant perceives their interactions with any of your company’s employment brand touchpoints. This applicant experience begins when the applicant first becomes aware of your company and continues until they are either hired or rejected. Applicant experience extends beyond just the applicant’s interaction with the job listing on your career site; it includes any communication that the applicant has with your company via email, phone, application, and more. 

Applicant experience is critically linked to applicant quality, applicant recruitment value, and overall employment brand strength. Applicant experience can be managed through the applicant-friendly design of employment brand touchpoints. However, if you wish to hire the best talent that enters your hiring process, then you must try to create a game-changing applicant experience, so they don’t all run away. Here are a few tips and tricks that might help you along the road. 

1) Applicant-friendly experience 

An applicant-friendly experience starts with an online application where the content is easy to read, hear, and understand for everyone applying. Applicants must be able to find the information they need as quickly as possible, and they must be able to easily navigate through the experience. Your application should project your company’s culture. Use the application as a resource to share valuable information on your team as well as the culture of the office. This way, an applicant will be able to sense if your organization is a good fit for them or not.  

This will affect how the applicant perceives your company.  Having an application that is applicant-friendly will help them have a good experience from the moment they show any interest in joining your company and start the application process.   

An average applicant who just found out about the opportunity might read through the available jobs and other descriptions posted on your career site if it is short and simple to find. Applicants are not likely to want to spend too much time reviewing your content if it is difficult for them to find and narrow down to what’s of most interest to them.  Applicants then make the decision to apply for one of the positions by filling out an online application via your career site. Since an applicant will not spend a considerable amount of time on your website, an applicant-friendly and very informational application are essential.  

2) Social media and job listing sites 

Nowadays, an applicant will browse through the internet to find their next job. Applicants will most likely look at your company’s social media accounts or do a quick google search on your company. Either way, you must take into consideration that Applicant Experience begins on the internet itself, not just when an applicant visits your career site. Applicant experience extends throughout the applicant’s entire journey on the web. Applicants might read a review or see something about your company while looking for employment opportunities online, and this single piece of information will shape their opinion of your company. So, make sure that all the front-facing information of your company reflects what your organization stands for and is all positive, informative, and appealing to the applicant. 

But more importantly, a negative applicant experience will be shared on social media and cause considerable damage by reducing the number of candidates willing to apply for your company’s jobs.  Conversely, a positive applicant experience will also be shared and will increase your talent pool without any incremental costs since the “advertisement” is from applicants on their social media accounts. 

3) Get creative 

Hiring someone talented is all about demonstrating your corporate culture and ensuring those candidates understand what your employee value proposition is based on their individual motivators and needs.  It is powerful to allow each individual to make a determination early in the hiring process that you are their employer of choice. To attract talent and showcase your organization’s culture, you must get creative. Getting creative also includes all the small details. For example, making sure video is used most effectively to engage your candidates, presenting information back to the candidate before you ask them too many questions, provide a short and interactive application process, etc.   

4) Video interview 

We live in a technologically advanced world and today’s generation of applicants consider themselves very technologically savvy.  Therefore, your company should project that it is innovative and flexible when it comes to adapting to the latest technology. The best way to accomplish this is to have an interactive application and interview process online. Have your pre-screening and application tools be video-based applications. This gives you a chance to stand out as an organization and teach your applicants a little bit about you.  Along with this be open to video or virtual interviews via zoom or other video platforms.  This shows that your company is not a regular company that simply calls a candidate for a physical interview, but you are a company that is willing to go the extra mile by utilizing the latest technological inventions. Your applicants will see this, and this will positively impact their Applicant experience.  


Applicant experience must be a positive one from the very first experience all candidates have to the end of the hiring process no matter the outcome of the applicant. Applicant experience applies to all stages of the hiring process and becomes critical for helping hire top talent but also for candidates that won’t be hired.  Those candidates that are not a fit should be communicated to in a timely and friendly manner.  In other words, applicant experience is not only important for those you hire but equally important to those you don’t hire.  

Applicants are looking for signs that you will hire them and support their growth within your organization from the first minute they decide to apply for one of your jobs. Therefore, applicant experience is central in building strong relationships between companies and potential hires over time. 

Hopefully, this article will help you understand the importance of applicant experience and the best ways to create a game-changing applicant experience so that no candidate will want to reject your offer.  Treat your applicants like you would treat all your customers and you will increase your applicant flow, have the pick of talent you want, reduce your time to hire metrics, and improve the quality of your talent pool to choose from. 

Related Blog Post: Your Guide to Shortlisting Job Applicants 

Related Resource: The Ultimate Guide to Pre-employment Screening