10 March 2019

Calculate the cost of one single bad Candidate Experience

After reading this article you will know:

  • The 3 biggest candidate frustrations and why companies should be ashamed of that;
  • The cost of a bad Candidate Experience for both a B2C and B2B company;
  • How to fix this problem.


An example to warm you up

Let’s say that Brand X (B2C) has 100.000 job applicants every year. Due to a bad Candidate Experience, 20% of those applicants are so unhappy that they stop buying X’s products and convince 5 other people to stop buying products of Brand X as well.

The average annual expense for brand X is €100 per person.

(20.000 *6) *€100 = €12.000.000. That’s the revenue loss due to a lack of attention for your candidates — your company’s future. And now we’re just focusing on revenue, but the consequences are bigger than that. Ouch.

All companies talk about Candidate Experience. 50% of these companies try to improve it. And only 10% of all companies seems to succeed. Those are quite confronting statistics. So how do you ensure that you belong to that 10%?

In this article we will summarize the three biggest frustrations for candidates and explain the cost of one single bad Candidate Experience for both B2C and B2B companies.

The unbelievable top 3 candidate frustrations

I think everyone can guess this top 3 because it hasn’t quite changed over the years. Let’s mention it anyway, just to remind you about how insane it is that those three frustrations still exist:


1. Thanks for applying, but don’t expect a response.

It’s unbelievable and yet it happens all the time: not hearing anything back on your application. All companies that are guilty of this frustration should be ashamed, especially since we’re living in 2019. This is something you don’t even need human effort for.

2. What to expect when companies don’t tell you what to expect. 

Communication. That’s number two. We often see that candidates aren’t informed about the application process at all. This one is quite similar to problem 1: laziness. Just inform candidates like you would like to be informed and you’ve solved this problem. Within two minutes, and maybe two sentences of explanation. Even possible without human effort.

3. Feedback? You should be happy with a yes or no.

And last but not least, we still don’t seem to understand that it’s not more than normal to give candidates something in return for their effort. Feedback. Show them whether they meet the requirements/wishes. I admit, this is the toughest one, but also easily soluble by using technology. Again, no human effort (surprise surprise..).

The impact of these frustrations: Let’s calculate the cost of one bad experience.

In the intro of this article I already showed the possible impact of a bad Candidate Experience on your revenue and brand reputation. That’s just one category.

How to measure the impact for B2C companies

For B2C companies the impact is mostly revenue-based because people simply will stop buying your products after having a bad experience with your brand.

This is how to measure the impact of a bad candidate experience for B2C companies:

  • Step 1. What’s the total number of job applicants yearly?
  • Step 2. Calculate (or estimate) how many candidates won’t be happy. I think you know how many frustrations your company ticks. Let’s say that every category counts for 10% unhappy candidates. So if you fail in frustration 1 and 3, let’s say that 20% of all candidates will be frustrated and unhappy. These 20% will convince 5 other persons to boycot your brand as well.
  • Step 3. Calculate the average yearly revenue per person.
  • Step 4. You’re now ready to calculate the impact by using the following formula:
© Equalture, 2019

How to measure the impact for B2B companies

When it comes to B2B-companies, revenue isn’t the variable to worry about directly. Here it’s all about the company’s reputation for potential new employees.

Research has shown that 4 out of 10 people will share a bad experience with other people. Let’s say that those 4 out of 10 people share their story with 4 others, and these 4 others share this with 1 other person. This means that 1 unhappy candidate will result in 9people knowing about this experience. It’s highly unlikely that those 9 people will apply to a position in your company.

So this is how to measure the impact of a bad candidate experience for B2B companies:

  • Step 1. What’s the total number of job applicants yearly?
  • Step 2. Calculate (or estimate) how many candidates won’t be happy. I think you know how many frustrations your company ticks. Every category again counts for 10% unhappy candidates. So if you fail in frustration 1 and 3, let’s say that 20% of all candidates will be frustrated and unhappy.
  • Step 3. Now you know how many unhappy candidates you have on a yearly base that won’t ever apply again ánd share their experience with 4 other people (who also share this with 1 other person).
  • Step 4. You’re now ready to calculate the impact by using the following formula:


So let’s say company Y (B2B) has 50.000 job applicants yearly. 20% of these candidates is unhappy. This means that 10.000 job applicants have a bad experience, of which 40% will share it with other people (4.000 job applicants). Those 4.000 people share their story with 4 other people and they share it with 1other person. The conclusion: every bad experience will reach 9 people.

Now 36.000 potential candidates (4.000 * 9) won’t apply at your company again. That’s 72% of your whole candidate pool. Ouch.

Let’s fix it now that you still can

Many recruiters and HR Professionals seem to forget that Candidate Experience is not just about saving the company. The decision for people to search for a new job is one with a huge impact. Candidates earn some respect in return for taking this important, maybe even life-changing step. And it’s so damn easy to fix Candidate Experience.

  • Frustration 1 (lack of response): Automate this!
  • Frustration 2 (lack of expectation management): Just take one more minute to include this is in your job description. It really takes you just one minute.
  • Frustration 3 (lack of feedback): Automate this!

And that’s it. Some help from innovative recruitment technology will already fix 2 out of 3 problems for you, and the other one takes you one minute per job opening. I think it’s worth trying after reading about the statistics, right?

At Equalture we help companies improving their Candidate Experience by not only making applying fun, but moreover by engaging candidates. This includes automated responses, sharing automated feedback and being transparant about both the first application and the pipeline steps that might follow.

Curious to receive some more information? Just send us a message! Since the Equalture Crew is addicted to talking about recruitment, technology and Candidate Experience, we’re always in the mood for a chat!

Cheers, Charlotte