Employer Branding Talent Acquisition

Where Does Candidate Experience Start and Where Does it End?

Is there such a thing as candidate experience starting and ending? Our panel of experts are divided on this. Some say it doesn’t really start so it can’t possibly end but others are pretty sure when it starts and when it ends.

Why don’t you read on to see which of our panelists you agree with, if at all?

Katrina Kibben

I don’t know that candidate experience has a tangible start and end because we have to start thinking about our audience more broadly. The potential for boomerang employees or recruiting customers for example are two key areas to why we need to broaden our candidate definition. We need to create more touch points to create a true experience.

Katrina Kibben is the CEO and Principal Consultant at Three Ears Media.

Kevin Grossman

Candidate experience is 24/7. It never ends. It encompasses every single candidate interaction with an employer – from pre-application to onboarding and beyond. In fact, even once employed, the employee experience is the candidate experience, because we’ll all perpetual candidates at any given time, whether we’re actively looking or not. In fact, those employed have to be constantly re-recruited to be retained, so the employee experience is synonymous with candidate experience.

Kevin Grossman is President of Global Programs at The Talent Board.

Lori Sylvia

The candidate experience starts at awareness, not at application, and ends in my opinion on their first day of work. Then employee experience kicks in.




Lori Sylvia is the Founder and CEO of Rally Recruitment Marketing.

Manuel Heichlinger

Candidate experience starts with a potential candidate’s very first exposure or interaction with a new potential employer. That might be an online job advert, the careers section of a company website, or it might even be a candidate researching target companies to apply to. Every touchpoint is important in shaping a candidate’s perception of an organisation.

Similarly, in some instances, the candidate experience is never truly over, even if the candidate doesn’t get the job. A rejected candidate should remain a prospective candidate. For example, if they follow the company’s LinkedIn page or are a customer of a company, their experience of the company should remain positive, if that individual is to consider applying for future roles.

Manuel Heichlinger is LinkedIn’s Senior Manager for Talent Acquisition.

Jeanette Maister

The experience can start when a candidate isn’t even looking. That’s why you have to start with a compelling attraction strategy and work on engaging processes end-to-end to retain vested interests and win the best talent. For example, most college students go to recruiting events for the free food and cinch-bags but the impression they may get from employers there is what sticks with them. Is your employer brand getting noticed at events? A candidate experience never ends because the relationship-building process is constantly in motion.

Jeanette Maister, is Head of Americas at Oleeo (formerly WCN).

Josh Tolan

It starts when the candidate does research on your company. This is before they even apply to your organization. Therefore, you need to control the content that’s out there and optimize your recruiting content strategy to make sure your best information is easy for a candidate to find. In my opinion, candidate experience ends once someone has completed their onboarding.

Josh Tolan is the CEO of Sparkhire.

Aida Fazylova

Candidate experience begins the moment they click on a job post and ends when they leave the company. Applicants should be treated as customers because in a way they are internal customers. You want a candidate to always associate good thoughts with your company, regardless if they get the job or not. If they do continue on with the company, you want them to use that candidate experience to refer others for open positions and be an advocate for your company’s work environment.

Aida Fazylova, CEO and Founder, of

Benjamin Gledhill

For me it doesn’t really start and end and such. Orgs should be continually looking to engage with people with the target or converting them to candidates and applications through open comms, engaging content and a continual journey once they start in an organisation.

Benjamin Gledhill is the Head of Resourcing at Yodel.

Jill Shabelman

The candidate experience begins when someone has awareness of your organization and has an interest in exploring opportunities, whether that’s just browsing your website or actually applying for a role. I’m not sure the experience ever really ends – if someone does join your organization, they could be a candidate for a new internal opportunity. And if they don’t join, they could always re-engage down the road as a potential client or candidate, and a consistent experience across time and interactions is important.

Jill Shabelman is the Employer Brand & Marketing Manager at Deloitte Services LP.

Chris Murdock

Candidate experience starts before you even make the first connection with your candidate. Just like you want your candidates to be searchable to you in the sourcing process, your candidates want you, as a company and employer, to be researchable. Candidates conduct at least an hour of research on your company before they even consider a position with you. Creating a representable employer brand online is your first step. Where candidate experience ends and employee engagement starts is kind of a fuzzy line that fades out of the offering stage and into the onboarding stage. Essentially, constant connection and information is your finest asset during all of these stages.

Chris Murdock is Senior Partner and Co-Founder at IQTalent Partners.


By Ushma Mistry

Editor & Content Strategist at Link Humans, download our new eBook now: Measuring Employer Brand: The Ultimate Guide and check out our latest product The Employer Brand Index.