KeldairHR Application Grader

How strong is your Applicant Experience?

There’s a critical moment in which each potential applicant who comes across your job posting decides whether to take the next step. Do they want to learn more? Are they going to apply? Can they see themselves working at your company? The applicant’s decision has many contributing variables, but there’s one concept that encompasses them all: the Applicant Experience.

There are many different segments in the entire recruiting, hiring, and employing lifecycle. It starts with the Applicant Experience, then the Candidate Experience, then the Onboarding Experience, and finally the Employee Experience. 

But the Applicant Experience is the first step in the cycle and is an employer’s first chance to make the right impression. It’s where everything starts, and, since it is critical to getting applicants for your job postings, it deserves your attention. First, what is the Applicant Experience? The Applicant Experience is the perception that a job seeker has about the hiring company during the entire application process: from searching through applying for a job. 

If your company provides a poor Applicant Experience, will you still receive applicants? Probably. But will some applicants decide not to continue based on this experience? Of course. If you have abandoned an online shopping cart because you were frustrated, or hung up after listening to fifteen minutes of hold music while trying to place an order, you know that providing a sub-optimal first impression lowers your chances of success.

There are four main areas you can examine when evaluating your Applicant Experience:

Your Careers Site

The Careers Site on your website is often where interested applicants will go to learn more about your company, and it helps form their impressions of what it might be like to work for you. Some variables to consider include: 

  • Do you have a clearly labeled Careers Site? 
  • Is it easy to find on your website or is it buried under levels of menus? 
  • Are the job postings on your Careers Site up to date or are they dated? 
  • Can applicants learn about your culture and benefits to help them make decisions?

Job Posting Details

The structure of the Job Posting itself, including where applicants can find them, is vitally important. If the applicant doesn’t know what the job is and what you are looking for in an employee, there could be a mismatch from the start. Some areas to analyze: 

  • To which sites are you posting your open jobs? 
  • Are your job titles direct, clear, and universally understood? 
  • Are the main components and expectations of the job clear? 
  • Are you overwhelming applicants with too much information or too many nitpicky details about the job, or do you provide the most important information needed to make an informed decision?


Job applicants aren’t going mobile–they are already there. Your application process must be as mobile friendly as possible.

  • Are your job postings fully mobile-responsive?
  • Can you apply from a mobile device with ease?
  • Do your postings leverage mobile-first extensions, such as Indeed Apply?

Your Application Process

At this point, applicants may be ready to apply. Don’t give them any reason to drop out!

  • Are you forcing applicants to create a username / password before applying?
  • How long does your typical application take? 
  • Are you asking for too much information? 
  • Are you communicating with applicants immediately upon submission?

In order to hire the best people, you should do whatever you can to maximize your odds of receiving the best applicants. 

Performing this evaluation will not only lead to increased applicant satisfaction, it will spark new ways to think about how you recruit and hire, improve your employer brand, and even help improve your company’s reputation. 

One last tip: put yourself in the shoes of an applicant. Search for your jobs as though you are looking for a position such as those offered at your company. Go through the process of applying to various job applications you have posted. Consider all of the above steps from the vantage point of an applicant. You may be surprised at what you find. 

If you’d like to receive a complimentary report on your Applicant Experience, you can get started here