The Case For Providing A Positive Candidate Experience

“Can I quit and rejoin the company?”

You’re sitting there wondering what the employee means and they respond, “I joined the company 4 years ago and back then we didn’t have the onboarding process that we have today. Every new member of the office is talking about how transformational of an experience it was in their lives.”

Can you imagine having such a great onboarding process that your employees want to quit just to re-experience it?

The story above is what happened at one of John Deere’s offices in Beijing, and is what they call the “First Day Experience.”  We will talk about that a bit later.

The onboarding process at this location resulted in massive employee engagement and implementation of the “First Day Experience” in the company’s other global offices.

Candidate experience matters greatly when it comes to engagement and turnover. The company needs to invest in its hiring and onboarding processes to provide a great employee experience.

Positive experiences increase employee-to-employer relationships while negative experiences hurt referral networks, brand, and can cause a potential revenue loss.

And employees talk about the experience— according to the 2020 Talent Board study, 77% of candidates shared positive candidate experiences with their inner circles, while 52% shared negative experiences.

So let’s see how we can improve our candidate experience.

Recruiting process

Many elements in the recruiting process can create a meaningful candidate experience. The three main ones are the search process, application process, and selection process.

The search process involves the company’s brand and communication, the application process its standards of excellence, while the selection part can be used to assess attitude and culture-fit.

Zappos, a shoe company based in Las Vegas, has an interesting way of assessing the candidate’s attitude and culture-fit.

During their 4-week new hire training process, they give you “the Offer.” The company offers to pay for the amount of time worked plus a $2,000 bonus to quit. Zappos does this because they are obsessed with customer support and they know it’s not for everyone and they want to know that sooner rather than later.

Around 2 to 3% of the new hires take the offer and quit.

But this isn’t about the money. It’s about how Zappos perceives the candidates who apply. They want to create the best possible experience for them and if they’re not a match, they say thank you in a way that makes the candidates feel grateful.

Contrast this with the experience candidates get in many other companies. Most candidates don’t receive any feedback on their applications or get a generic “thank you for your time” email. It’s no wonder Zappos enjoys such brand credibility.

While you don’t need to give out a $2,000 check to everyone who starts to work at your company, you do need to learn from the Zappos example of how to create a great candidate experience.

Invest in improving the candidate experience to benefit your employer brand and the future quality of candidates.

Onboarding process

Here is what they do at John Deere to have such an amazing First Day Experience.

Once you join the company, you get a welcoming email that tells you the basics: dress code, where to park, and where to eat.
And the woman that sent you the email, let’s call her Kate, informs you that she will be waiting for you in the lobby at 9 a.m. on your first day.

When your first day arrives, you park in the right place and walk inside the lobby. You immediately see Kate because you recognize her from the picture she sent you in the email. They even have a massive monitor that says “Welcome, ______” (your name).

Kate shows you your desk and right next to it is a giant six-foot-tall banner that says “new employee— come and greet” so that everyone can see it.

As soon as you turn on your computer, you have your first email and it’s from the CEO, John C.May. It’s a short video where he explains a bit about John Deere’s mission and closes off with “Enjoy the rest of your first day, and I hope you’ll enjoy a long, successful, fulfilling career as part of the John Deere team.”

On top of that, you even get a stainless steel replica of the original “self-polishing plow” created all the way back in 1837.

At midday, Kate comes along and picks you up to have lunch offsite with a small group. They ask about your background and introduce the projects they are working on in the company, all in an informal way during lunch.

Later that day, the department manager introduces himself and makes plans for lunch next week.

And once the employee leaves the office that day, the only message resonating in their head is:

“I belong here. The work I’m doing matters. And I matter to them.”


Consider investing in the candidate experience during your entire hiring process. The investment will improve your employer brand and you will gain an increase in the quality of candidates.

You can improve the recruiting process by working on your search, application, and selection processes. Additionally, you can improve the candidate experience by working on your onboarding process through transparent and timely communication.

You will learn the true nature of the seeker experience and why static company career pages most often lead to potential applicants not applying to your jobs.

Contact Us

Schedule a consultation

Schedule a consultation