Candidate Experience Is User Experience

Candidate Experience Is User Experience

Mike Roberts

“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” – Hans Hofmann

With HCI’s annual Strategic Talent Acquisition Conference set to get underway this week in Boston, we’ve got candidate experience on our minds even more so than usual. It will surely be a big topic throughout the conference, and it will be the focus of the panel that Jibe is hosting. We’re honored to have some of the best and brightest thought leaders (and Jibe clients) on the subject – Heather Tinguely from Microsoft, Semi Trotto from Bristol-Myers Squibb, and analyst Madeline Laurano from the Brandon Hall Group – join us to discuss the important role technology plays in improving and optimizing the candidate experience.

Thanks to a concentrated, industry-wide effort over the last several years, led by groups like HCI, the Talent Board’s Candidate Experience Awards program, and the practitioners themselves, improving the candidate experience has become a top priority for talent acquisition professionals the world over. Jibe’s own Talent Acquisition Survey from last fall revealed that 80% of recruiters feel an optimized candidate experience is crucial to their hiring efforts, and that percentage has most certainly increased even more since.

All this awareness and attention towards improving the candidate experience is a welcome and needed shift, but what about the experience on the other side of the equation? Who is working to improve the user experience for the folks in the trenches, the recruiters and hiring managers responsible for attracting the best talent to their organizations? Shouldn’t some effort be put into improving their experience so they can more efficiently and successfully achieve their goals?

Taking a look at and working to improve the experiences by all players in the recruiting equation, not just the job seekers, is an essential ingredient to success. It is often said that a company is only as good as the people it hires, so why should those responsible for doing the hiring be saddled with complicated, legacy tools that make their jobs more difficult? It just doesn’t make sense, and it certainly doesn’t have to be this way.


Thanks in large part to advancements in software development, today’s enterprise business technology market – HR and otherwise – is seeing a long overdue and extremely welcome influx of solutions that put user experience first. Taking a nod from consumer technology, new entrants into the enterprise software market are focused on not just solving whatever process the solution is designed for, but doing so in a manner that emphasizes usability, customization and intuitive design.

As it always has been, the end goal is to maximize efficiencies to achieve better results. In talent acquisition, that means hiring the absolute best to fill those positions most in need. The difference today is the means to make that happen. Instead of heavy, complex systems that require massive investments in both time and money to learn and manage, today’s HR and recruiting technologies should embrace the cloud and emphasize user experience to offer lightweight, intuitive solutions that can be easily learned, managed and drive success from day one.

This shift is certainly happening in recruiting and HR, but it’s still early going. The tangle of systems in place in most organizations is a major hurdle, and the fact that many are deeply entrenched legacy systems makes for further complications. But the day is coming when technology will put the user responsible for the process first, not the process itself.

User experience should be first and foremost in the minds of all enterprise solution providers serving the HR and talent acquisition market these days. An improved user experience will greatly enhance an organization’s overall ability to improve the candidate experience. And that’s the name of the game, isn’t it?

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