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[Expert Column] Winning the War for Talent by Enhancing the Candidate Experience

Written by Stella H. Kim

Published April 18, 2024

Driving Talent Attraction and Retention Through Candidate Experience

Interviews are a Two-Way Street, Candidates to Also Ask Questions

Stella H. Kim, SVP, Head of Americas & CMO at HRCap

We have entered an era where experience is essential.


Organizations invest significant time and resources in brand marketing, sales, and product development daily to improve Customer Experience (CX) and User Experience (UX) satisfaction levels. A positive customer and user experience is inevitably the critical key to survival in the rapidly evolving market today.


However, organizations need to invest in not only external stakeholders but also internal stakeholders, who are their employees and quite frankly, their biggest asset. By focusing both on the employee experience of current employees and the candidate experience of prospective employees, organizations can effectively attract and sustainably retain talent that will better unlock and drive customized CX and unmatched UX.


Then what is the candidate experience? How important is it and how can we enhance and improve it?


Candidate experience refers to a job applicant or candidate’s overall perceptions and emotions during the hiring process and their complete experience throughout the job posting review, application, interview process, ongoing communication, and even onboarding. Candidates can get a glimpse of the company culture, vision, and work philosophy through the interview experience.


In a CareerPlug candidate experience survey, 76% of candidates reported that the positive interview experience influenced their decision to accept an offer. 38% said that even if the offer was not as competitive, they would still accept the package as is given the positive interview experience and greater insight and trust gained in the organization through the process. On the other hand, 52% declined a highly competitive job offer due to the negative interview experience. 


Additionally, candidates with negative interview experiences share their experiences with their network and leave critical online reviews, which can negatively affect and influence other applicants to even withdraw their candidacies. In other words, negative candidate experience not only brings the risk of losing top talent to competitors but also impairs organizational productivity due to the extensive time and resources lost during the interviews. Ultimately, it damages the company’s brand and credibility, negatively affecting CX and UX satisfaction as well.


Focusing on enhancing the hiring process will certainly improve the candidate experience and satisfaction in various ways, but organizations must first prioritize conducting strong interviews. HRCap, a Top 10 Global Executive Search & HR Consulting firm, interviews 50,000 candidates globally each year and has advised over 1,500 clients on must-ask interview questions for effective screening and selection practices.

  • Please tell us about yourself.

  • What prompted you to apply for this position, and why should we hire you?

  • What relevant skills and transferable experiences do you have to be successful in this position?

  • What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?

  • How do you adapt to new environments and what is your learning style?

  • How have you resolved conflicts?

  • Why did you leave your previous jobs?

  • What are your career goals, and where do you see yourself in a year, 5 years, 10 years?

  • What is your desired salary?

  • What do you prioritize the most in your career right now? (salary, benefits, company culture, growth, etc.)

  • Do you have any questions for us?


Interviewers should be thoroughly trained on illegal and noncompliant interview questions and clearly understand the roles, responsibilities, and qualifications for the unique positions. During the interviews, it is most important to turn the table and allow the candidates to ask questions. Otherwise, they will miss out on gaining greater clarity and alignment on the role, walk away with even more questions on the opportunity, and become less satisfied and interested in the company. Interviews are a two-way street, and it is important to value the candidate’s interest.


On the battlefield of the modern Talent War, organizations can only equip and future-proof by investing in improving the candidate experience and employer brand awareness.


We must not only focus on the outcome but also truly invest in the process and enhance the experience.


Stella H. Kim, SPHR

HRCap – SVP, Head of Americas & Chief Marketing Officer


Adapted Into HRCap Instatoons


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