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Physician and Healthcare Job Board

Providing a Better Candidate Experience in Healthcare Recruitment

The best recruitment outcomes begin with candidate experience
Tommaso Altamura/

The buzz around the HR Department has been “candidate experience” for quite a while, and with good reason. As talent pools continue to shrink with unemployment rates, institutions that work harder to create a positive candidate experience for job seekers have a distinct advantage.

In addition to attracting and hiring the best available talent, a positive candidate experience reflects well on the institution. In an era of online reviews that can be scathing, good candidate experiences can either translate into positive online reviews, or at least not result in negative ones. As each institution works to promote and protect its brand, a keen eye of online reviews is necessary.

Eyes on Reputation

Not everyone is creating a positive candidate experience. In a survey of over 1,000 employers and job seekers, CareerArc reveals nearly 60% of job seekers reported a negative candidate experience; of those, 72% posted their grievances online. For employers, almost 60% have read a negative online review about their application process.

Negative reviews are costly. Data reveals 55% of candidates will not apply if an institution has negative online reviews. In fact, bad online reviews can cost employers up to 10% more per hire to recruit. Assuring the best candidate experience does more than make the process easier for job seekers; it nets the best applicants for institutions.

Where are employers missing the mark, and what can they do to maximize a positive candidate experience? We’ll go through some of the steps in the process.

Application Frustration

For candidates, upwards of 3 hours to submit an application is common and infuriating. LinkedIn reports 60% of job seekers will abandon the application process if it’s too long or complex. A career page where applicants can easily find and quickly apply for jobs is critical. Allow them to upload their resume in a format that doesn’t require reworking more than just a font. Many employers require candidates to fill out an application and submit a resume. This redundancy could be sending job seekers elsewhere.

Is your career page smartphone optimized? About half of job seekers look for positions via their smartphone, and about 20% apply with their phone. In fact, Pew Research Center data revealed 7% of Americans don’t have access to an Internet connection other than their smartphone. For these primarily entry-level candidates, mobile-optimized applications are the only option.

Do your social/professional media pages make applying easy? Quick links from each of these pages directly to your career/application pages capture job seekers quickly and in the venues they frequent.


HR should take a spin through their application process from all sides to see where it can be streamlined, what redundancies can be eliminated, and how it can be improved and optimized.

Left Hanging

Never receiving a response to an application, particularly one you’ve spent hours submitting, is frustrating. In a survey of over 1,000 employers and job seekers by CareerArc, 65% of job seekers rarely or never receive a response about their application, and for those who do, 51% say it takes 30 days or more.

In total, the survey revealed 85% of job seekers believe no human ever reviewed their application, yet only 40% of employers report using technology to screen applicants. Of those, 62% believe qualified candidates are sometimes eliminated by the tech in error.


Review your process and make sure a response is given and in a timely manner. For tech-based applications, an immediate automated response should be the norm. Even if you accept applications manually, an immediate response is courteous and expected.

Tracking Time to Hire

Streamlining the time to hire is becoming mission-critical for most institutions. The faster you can get top candidates on the payroll, the fewer competitors you’ll have to best. In most cases, if you’re not planning to review resumes and start setting interviews within a week or so following the posting, don’t advertise yet. Wait until you have the time to devote to the position so you can start responding and scheduling right away. If you don’t, the competition will.


A quick review of your time to hire ratios per job classification can be an eye-opener. Determining time to hire (not including references, testing or verifications) by category, then reviewing if/when you’ve lost candidates along the way can be a good first step in streamlining the process.

How valuable is the candidate experience? Glassdoor reports that an investment in candidate experience has an immediate return: organizations with a strong candidate experience improve the quality of their hires by 70%. How much could your institution benefit?

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About Riia O'Donnell

Riia O’Donnell has over 20 year’s hands-on experience in all aspects of the Human Resource function. Beginning as a recruiter, she grew to lead in all areas of HR, including employee training and development, legal compliance, benefits administration, compensation evaluation, and staff management. She has been a contributing writer for a wealth of HR, training, and small business websites for the past 7 years. Connect with Riia on Twitter at @RiiaOD.