Everything You Need to Know About the Sales Candidate Experience

Published on Aug 3, 2021

You hear a lot about customer experience in the sales world. Mountains of data and heaps of money are constantly being thrown at improving the customer experience. And rightfully so. It’s incredibly important. 

But another important experience that doesn’t receive anywhere near the same amount of attention is the sales candidate experience. It definitely should, however. 

In this post, I’ll explain what the sales candidate experience is, why it’s vital, the consequences of having a sub-par sales candidate experience, and how to improve your company’s approach in this area. Let’s jump right in. 

What Exactly is a Sales Candidate Experience?

It’s “the series of interactions that a job seeker has with your company throughout the recruiting process,” writes Toolbox. “These interactions include any communication that a candidate receives from your brand messaging, software systems, and/or employees.”

This can include everything from visiting your company website and filling out the job application to communication with HR team members and the actual interview. The sales candidate experience is what gives prospective salespeople their first impression of your company, heavily impacts how they perceive you, and factors into whether or not top candidates ultimately accept the offer. 

As a result, I can’t stress enough how important this aspect of sales recruiting is. 

Why You Need a Positive Sales Candidate Experience

Here are a few key stats that put things into perspective. 

  • “59% of candidates abandon a job application due to bugs, issues, or complexity of process.”
  • “42% of candidates with a negative experience won’t reapply to your company.”
  • “65% of candidates with a negative experience share them with their inner circles and publicly online.”
  • “38% of candidates who are satisfied with their candidate experience are more likely to accept a job offer.”

This data tells us that nearly 6 out of 10 sales candidates will ditch a job application if they encounter glitches or it’s too complicated. And that’s alarming given that 56% of sales candidates have encountered technical issues when applying for a job. 

That means you could potentially lose out on A+ salespeople because of issues with the job application process. 

It also shows that a negative experience will prevent more than 4 out of 10 candidates from ever reapplying and that 65% of people will share their poor experience with others. With the rapid rate at which negative publicity can spread on social media and other digital outlets, this can be a major blow to your brand equity. 

And if enough of it is spread around, it can erode the very foundation of your company where hardly anyone wants to work for you. 

On the other end of the spectrum, nearly 4 out of 10 sales candidates who have a positive experience will likely accept a job offer. So, if you have a smooth, streamlined job application, maintain good communication, respect the time of sales candidates, and so on, you’re far more likely to land the rockstars you really want. 

Besides that, 82.4% of those candidates are likely or very likely to share their positive experience with others. 

This is tangible proof of how critically important having a positive sales candidate experience is. Not only does it affect immediate hiring, it can directly impact the longevity of your business. 

For more details, I suggest reading this whitepaper by talent analytics platform, Talentgy. It features the data I’ve included, plus much more to really give you a sense of how crucial the sales candidate experience truly is. 

How to Improve in This Area

Here are some practical tips to start transforming your sales recruiting process today:

  • Optimize your website – This is often the first place sales candidates get a feel for your company and what you’re all about. So you want to ensure it looks great and they can easily find relevant information to assist them during the job application process. “Make it easy, and make it enticing! Ask yourself, ‘Is this something I’d want to take action on or find intriguing,” writes startup consultant Amy Volas.
  • Narrow down your list of candidates to the best of the best as soon as you can – This should ensure your HR team can devote more time to each candidate, not waste the time of those who don’t make the cut, and improve overall communication. A sales recruiting platform like HireDNA can help dramatically with this. 
  • Make your interview as simple and streamlined as possible – One of the most common points of friction is the interview. For example, asking extraneous questions, making it too long, or having multiple rounds of interviews when only one is necessary can be problematic. Make it a point to reduce complexities, and always look for ways to refine interviewing as you gain more insights. 
  • Be transparent throughout the entire process – Give sales candidates a timeline so they know what to expect when first reaching out to them, provide them with ongoing feedback (e.g. “You’ve been shortlisted to our list of top candidates”), and let them know upfront if you’ve chosen to move on with someone else. 
  • Equip new hires with the tools for success – Make onboarding simple and intuitive so new sales reps can get up-to-speed quickly without unnecessary headaches. This other post I wrote about new salesperson onboarding should be helpful here. 

Getting Your Sales Candidate Experience Where it Needs to Be

I see a lot of brands treating the sales candidate experience as an afterthought. But that’s a grave mistake. As we’ve just learned, it factors heavily into whether or not candidates complete the job application, the perception they have of your company, how likely qualified candidates are to accept a job offer, and your overall brand equity. 

So, the sales candidate experience is something you’ll want to be diligent about continually improving. 

Want to hire better sales talent, faster? See how HireDNA can help. 92% of recommended candidates are top achievers within their first year. 

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