5 Employers who are Winning at Candidate Experience

This summer, we wrote about the most common mistakes made by recruiting teams when engaging candidates. That was the downside. Now it’s time even things up by revealing the employers getting their candidate experience absolutely right.

Why now? Because in today’s candidate-driven market, those in demand are making informed choices between multiple offers. So when you see the thought, effort and innovation some employers put into their candidate experience, you’ll know where you might need to improve for your offer to be the chosen one. (Unless you work at one of the companies below, in which case: keep it up!)

We’ve found big-name employers across sectors raising the bar at different stages of the candidate journey, plus one tech giant that hit upon a unique way to revamp a failing process.

Here’s what you’re up against:

1. T-Mobile: Winning at the attraction/research stage

In this instance, T is for transparency. T-Mobile’s careers site is a crystal-clear window into the company’s employer brand, hiring process and individual vacancies. As well as displaying Glassdoor reviews, each role page tells candidates how long the vacancy has been open and how many people have so far applied. Elsewhere on the site, infographics and videos explain the hiring process to the nth degree.

The result? Candidates approach their application 100% informed and enthused about T-Mobile, without hesitation or reservations. They’re several steps closer to the company before they’ve even filled in the first application field.

via https://tmobile.careers

2. AT&T: Winning at the application stage

That last point leads us neatly to AT&T. The telecoms giant had serious issues with its applications. They took too long and applicants disliked the process so much that over 70% of mobile applicants gave up before the end.

AT&T’s solution was bold, beautifully simple and devastatingly effective. Cutting the number of application fields from 75 to 31 resulted in an overall completion rate of 79%, with mobile completions leaping from below 30% to 65%. Based on a cost per application of $6.50, AT&T estimates that this one slick move saved them $1m in a single year.

3. Hootsuite: Winning at the screening stage

Rejection is the part of the process that hurts candidates the most, but arguably the one many employers are least engaged in. Not so Hootsuite, exemplar of our earlier candidate experience post.

Rejection is the part of Hootsuite process we loved the most. As they put it, “how a company handles that delicate situation says a lot about their character… We are dedicated to ensuring applicants who do not move forward get as much resource towards getting a positive experience as the applicants who do.”

How? By revamping their rejection emails to let candidates down gently, invite them to keep in touch and provide a curated suite of job search resources. Engagement at its thoughtful, meaningful best.

4. Humana: Winning at interviewing and onboarding

You’d expect a major U.S. health and wellbeing company to be people-focused. Two key elements of Humana’s candidate experience certainly are.

First, adopting video and automated telephone interviews has aided candidates as much as recruiters. Given time to plan and record responses at their leisure, applicants are far more likely to rate the interview experience as positive. Better still, the system’s efficiency means applicants learn their fate significantly faster. Without even being in the same room as an interviewer, candidates are more engaged in the process.

Meanwhile, as an active recruiter from the U.S. military, Humana goes to great lengths to help veterans transition to corporate life. Innovative onboarding initiatives include relocation concierge services, setting up accommodation for new hires ahead of their start date.

5. Airbnb: Winning at candidate perspective

Last but not least, when Airbnb realised the chasm between its growth trajectory and arcane hiring practices, the company came up with a leftfield way to reinvent its candidate journey. The recruiting team storyboarded the experience end to end, on a wall, with post-its, to earn deeper insights into candidates’ needs, motivations and pain points at each stage.

As people who know a thing or two about gaining richer insights from delving deeper, we couldn’t help but love this slice of fresh thinking.


No employer serious about hiring great talent can afford to ignore the value of candidate experience. Fortunately, few do. But there are some companies taking candidate engagement to another level and reaping the rewards for doing so. We hope these stories help inspire you to join their ranks.

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