Customers as Job Seekers: Business Impact of the Candidate Experience #thecandidate

It’s Candidate Experience week on Blogging4Jobs powered by the cool folks at Talent Circles. Check back this week to follow 25+ blogs published on Candidate Experience and follow the conversation on twitter at #thecandidate

Are you a recruiter for a B2C company? If so, this theme-week post on the candidate experience is for you. As you may have noted, I work for a large, B2C organization. Consistently for many years, we’ve been rapidly growing and actively hiring to keep up with that growth.

What is the connection between business growth and employee hiring?

As HR professionals, we must begin to realize that our candidates are also potential customers, and our customers are also potential new hires. The experiences job seekers have with our HR teams not only impact our ability to reach hiring goals, they can also impact consumer buying decisions and our companies’ bottom lines.

On October 24, I saw this tweet by Lars Schmidt at NPR, “Recruiters customers are not just the hiring managers, they’re the candidates.” I would also add that customers are not just hiring managers and candidates, but for B2C corporate recruiters, your customers are also, well, your customers.


If you ran an ATS report on your YTD referral sources, can you see how many of your job applicants list “I’m a customer” (or something to that effect) as their referral source?  This is telling information. If a significant percentage of your applications or hires are also identified as customers, you will have data to support the power of your consumer brand and customer experience, and the impact your business has on your hiring.

If a consumer had a terrible experience with your company, would they want to work there?


Retailers. Insurance companies. Electronics. Consumer products. Automotive. Pharmaceuticals. These all come to mind when I think about employers that are hiring and industries that have large customer bases.

Let’s say you are a recruiter for the corporate office of a large retailer located in small to mid-size city. Chances are people shop at your retail locations and that some of those shoppers are also job seekers. Now, if these job-seeking shoppers have a poor experience in one of your stores, they could:

  • Share on Facebook about their negative experience, thereby influencing other friends and would-be job seekers.
  • Have been the perfect fit for one of your open reqs, but won’t apply now because of their negative experience and perception of your company.

Now, let’s look at the flipside. Let’s imagine that you’re a B2C recruiter for a large, national retailer and you’re ramping up for the holiday season. Each resume that you receive, phone screen you conduct, and interview you conduct is a potential customer. If you’re interactions with those job seekers are unprofessional in any way, you could impact whether or not these individuals choose to shop at your stores come Black Friday.


Have you ever been to a job fair in which a job seeker said they are a customer? Thank them. Did you see “I’m a customer” on their application? Thank them. Let them know that you appreciate their business. And, then ask if they are looking for a new career.

Each interaction, each experience, between HR and job seekers is important. It’s not just about filling a job. It’s bigger than that. It’s about your company’s reputation, and the buying power and influence of consumers.

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Shannon Smedstad

Shannon Smedstad has nearly 20 years of recruitment, employer branding, and communications experience. Currently, she serves as the Principal Employer Brand Strategist at exaqueo. Previously, she held employer branding and recruiting leadership roles at CEB and GEICO. She’s a work at home mom raising two awesome girls who also enjoys reading, running, leading a Girl Scout troop, and her morning coffee. You can connect with Shannon on LinkedIn and Twitter.


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