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The True Cost of a Bad Candidate Experience

As the name suggests, a candidate experience encapsulates all of the interactions a job applicant has with a specific company throughout its recruitment process. While every part of this experience is integral to hiring top-tier candidates, one of the most important aspects is following up with an applicant after an interview.


Failing to touch base with job candidates after interviews is considered “ghosting,” and it’s incredibly damaging to overall employer brand if done on a regular basis.

It’s rather disheartening to learn that the ghosting of incredible talent marks some of the most stressful periods of individuals’ careers. A recent Tribepad study notes that 69% of UK job-seeking adults have been ghosted by a recruiter or prospective employer before. As a result, 86% of job ghosted applicants have reported feeling down or depressed. For approximately 43% of these candidates, it took weeks––even months––to recover from being ignored by prospective employers.

As it relates to the consequences employers face when ghosting candidates, the same Tribepad study notes that 94% of ghosted applicants are usually left with negative thoughts towards the company. In fact, a LinkedIn survey found 27% of candidates who had a negative experience would “actively discourage” others from applying for a job with that company.

As the data indicates, ghosting candidates has far-reaching implications, leaving a detrimental effect on both brands and those applying to work with them. In the same way that disgruntled customers are quick to share their negative perception of a specific company, an ignored candidate has the potential to spread damaging messages about brands that ghost them in the application process. As a result of ghosting applicants, companies run the risk of causing both reputational damage and/or alienating potential applicants and even customers.


Knowing the effects of ghosting candidates, this all begs the question: why would any company that cares about their employer brand deliberately ignore candidates who have spent time (6.4 hours on average) researching, preparing, and applying for the application process? With the understanding that a single job posting can welcome an influx of applications, it can be incredibly difficult to track, review, and respond to them all.

For companies that are looking to better organize and manage their application materials and processes, here are a few tips to keep track of each and every candidate.

  • Track the application

If there’s one thing recruitment managers can learn from online purchasing, is that applications are better managed when they’re tracked. Once received, we recommend establishing a method of organization and review to ensure that each application is being given an equal amount of time and attention. If an application doesn’t immediately catch your eye, be clear about marking it as such. On the other hand, be sure to appropriately categorize which candidates are moving forward in the process.

  • Establish frequent communication with applicants

Communication is always key. Throughout the entire process––from application to interview––candidates should be consistently informed throughout the hiring journey so that they know what to expect next. In case there is a delay in your recruitment process, follow up with the specific candidate to keep them in the loop.

  • Be honest and timely

If, upfront, you know that a candidate will not be a good fit, be transparent with it. While disappointing, a timely “no” comes nowhere close to having to wait for a hiring decision that will never arrive.


Believe it or not, these simple strategies have the power to impact the development of your business. It all comes back that a candidate views your company based on the experiences they had during the recruiting process. If a candidate remains disappointed by the way he or she was treated, they might be less likely to purchase products or services provided by your company. An unhappy candidate could also make negative remarks about your company, chasing away potential talent and clients.

In all, not providing feedback nor informing candidates of the outcome of an interview could directly cost your company a fortune. Yes, impact on your employer brand can be difficult to measure, but if candidates have an unsavory experience and word can spread, you will potentially face difficulties attracting candidates in the future and have the risk of your reputation being damaged.

Need some more tips on how to craft the next steps in your candidate journey? Click here to learn more on our blog, or contact us to learn more about how to strategize your own employer brand efforts!



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