hamburguer menu

Candidate Experience and Beyond

Candidate Experience and Beyond

Candidate Experience and Beyond

Thoughts on recruiting, culture, talent, heaven and hell

Improving Candidate Experience is high up on the agenda of many organisations as they are struggling to find the right candidates.

From our discussions with candidates and own research on company job pages, we know that candidate experience is often dismal, so investing in improvements is certainly a good idea. However, it won’t help much, if a great candidate experience is followed by a poor experience as an employee. Otherwise, you’ll just shift the problem from lack of candidates and a very long time-to-fill to a high attrition rate and low engagement ratings.

Actually, even building a great candidate experience as well as a great employee experience is not necessarily enough. There needs to be a good fit between both. If candidates are led to expect flat hierarchies and a culture of low power distance, when the organisational reality is a very hierarchical one, you’ll disappoint new joiners, while missing out on candidates, who actually like hierarchies with their clear traditional career paths.

Candidate Experience must also Match your Employee Experience and Culture

So, yes, there are recruiting processes leading to a candidate experience that’s just bad – no matter what. Avoiding that is the first priority. Beyond that, you need to aim at a good fit between candidate experience and employee experience. The first step into this direction, is a more holistic view of the recruiting process. At Adessa Group, when we help organisations to improve the experience by properly utilising SAP SuccessFactors Recruiting and Qualtrics Employee Experience, we monitor

  • The experience candidates have considering the variety of journeys they go through (e.g. someone being rejected before an interview has a different experience from a candidate, who withdraws their application or one, who is hired).
  • The experience of new hires after their initial onboarding phase. This is a very good first check-point to see how expectations during the candidate journey are reflected in their first steps as an employee.
  • The hiring managers’ experience, not only, because they are important stakeholders for HR, but also because they are important in shaping the experience for candidates and new hires.

From there, you can extend it across the full employee life cycle to drive a positive and consistent employee experience and candidate experience. This may include learning, important life events, compensation and benefits, performance reviews, diversity & inclusion,… you name it. It´s important to understand that this is not a one-off project, but a mindset and process of continuous improvement and continuous change to adapt to changes in culture and context. Of course, there is a one-off project to set up your process and systems, but that is – whilst not trivial – the easy part. Maybe the most important point is to start somewhere and keep building on it, rather than trying to design the perfect process that covers everything: that usually just leads to paralysis. Experience Management is about a loop between feedback and actions to improve as you go along.

For help on building processes and systems that drive a better candidate experience and employee experience, and align both utilising Qualtrics, SAP SuccessFactors, and/or SAP HCM, please reach out to myself ( or get more information from our website.

A Tale of Heaven, Hell and Employer Branding

For some tongue-in-cheek inspiration about the importance of a matching employee experience and candidate experience, here is a little story. Allegedly, it is purely fictional, but who knows…:

“Once there was a young man, who lost his life in a tragic motoring accident. Quite unexpectedly, he suddenly found himself facing an old man telling him: ‘You have a choice, young man. Your training and experience qualify you for heaven as well as hell. Where do you want to go?’ The young man replied: ‘I don’t know either of them. There are conflicting stories. Is there some kind of try-before-you-buy option?’. The old man confirmed that this is possible and he was scheduled to spend a day in each place.

Hell came first. It was a surprisingly pleasant experience: the recruiter led him into a room, where people were dancing, singing, eating and drinking fancy cocktails all day to modern music. Exhausting, but good fun. He started his trial day in heaven with high expectations, but whilst it was agreeable enough, food and drink where a bit dull and decor and singing songs praising the Lord all a bit unexciting. He couldn’t quite see himself spending the rest of eternity there, so at the end of the day he told the old man his choice: ‘I’m going to hell’. ‘Very well.’ was the only reply he got.

Next morning he started his first day in hell. But he was led into a completely different room. It was terribly hot, the music had been replaced by a terrible noise and he was made to carry glowing hot, heavy metal bars up a steep slide all day, while little devils drove him on with whips. At the end of his first week he was completely desperate and then spotted his recruiter. He called him: ‘Hej, man! There must have been a mistake. The job I applied for looked very different last week on the trial day. Can you get this right for me?’. The recruiter just laughed ‘Haha. No mistake here. Last week, you were a candidate. Now, you are permanent staff ‘. “

Make some time and think about it: are your candidates facing a similar shock, when the expectations you create hit reality, leading to low engagement and high attrition? Or is it the other way round: are you under-selling your organisation by creating a poor candidate experience, so you are missing out on some great candidates?

Post by Sven Ringling – SAP HCM solutions expert


You might also enjoy