Written by Nathan Hewitt

A thought experiment: 65 of the best Candidate Experience Quotes

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Background to the ‘thought experiment’ on Candidate Experience

Search for “Candidate Experience” on Google and you will get in the region of 2.3M results. “Wow, that’s a lot!”

Yet do the same search for “Customer Experience” and you will 56x that amount – with a whopping 132,000,000 results delivered to you. Also, have a look at Google Search trends over the past 10 years and, this is what you will see. Overall, there is very little interest in “Candidate Experience” when compared to “Customer Experience”.

The same trend exists in books. Search Amazon for “Customer Experience” and there are over 1000 books written. However, if you do the same search for “Candidate Experience” and theres a pithy 20 books.

To borrow from our recent blog on The Two Big Reasons To Prioritise Improving Candidates’ Experience In 2020: Candidate experience is defined as the perception of a job seeker about an organisation and their brand based on their interactions during the recruiting process. Customer experience is the impression your customers have of your brand as a whole throughout all aspects of the buyer’s journey. Is there a difference?

It’s all about how the human feels when interacting with your brand. Thus, it’s all about the human and candidate experience. 

Let’s take the best famous quotes on “customer experience” and change them to “candidate experience”.

What could we learn from that ‘thought experiment”? We borrowed Blake Morgan’s article in Forbes as a source. Some of these quotes should be read as if your full-time role is in Talent Acquisition.

These could provide a source of inspiration for your next retrospective or “Lessons Learnt” on Candidate Experience.

  • Is there anything we’re doing well when it comes to candidate experience?
  • Can we be doing anything better?
  • What are we not doing that needs to start?
  • Is there anything we’re doing that must be stopped?

Candidate Experience Thinking

“We see our candidates as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the candidate experience a little bit better.” – Jeff Bezos

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” – Warren Buffett

“Candidate experience isn’t an expense. Managing candidate experience bolsters your brand.” – Stan Phelps

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

“The biggest risk is not taking any risk. In a world that is changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” – Mark Zuckerberg

“Make the candidate the hero of your story.” – Ann Handley

“Whatever you do, do it well. Do it so well that when people see you do it, they will want to come back and see you do it again, and they will want to bring others and show them how well you do what you do.” – Walt Disney

“If you don’t care, your candidate never will.” – Marlene Blaszczyk

“Loyal candidates, they don’t just come back, they don’t simply recommend you, they insist that their friends do business with you.” – Chip Bell

“Candidate experience better be at the top of your list when it comes to priorities in your organization. Candidate experience is the new marketing.” – Steve Cannon

“Building a good candidate experience does not happen by accident. It happens by design.” – Clare Muscutt

“Exceptional candidate experiences are the only sustainable platform for competitive differentiation.” – Kerry Bodine

Candidate-Focused Culture

“Innovation needs to be part of your culture. Candidates are transforming faster than we are, and if we don’t catch up, we’re in trouble.” – Ian Schafer

“Our attitude towards others determines their attitude towards us.” – Earl Nightingale

“Your mission statement may be on the wall, but your core values are displayed in the attitudes of your employees.” – Elle Clarke

“So, get to know your candidates. Humanize them. Humanize yourself. It’s worth it.” – Kristin Smaby

“Treat each candidate as if they are the only one!” – Laurice Leitao

“The key is to set realistic candidate expectations, and then not to just meet them, but to exceed them—preferably in unexpected and helpful ways.” – Richard Branson

“Revolve your world around the candidate and more candidates will revolve around you.” – Heather Williams

“To earn the respect (and eventually love) of your candidates, you first have to respect those candidates.” – Colleen Barrett

“How you think about your candidate influences how you respond to them.” – Marilyn Suttle

“If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand” – Howard Schultz

“You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.” – Zig Ziglar

“Ease your candidates’ pain.” – Hazel Edwards

Candidate Service

“Your most unhappy candidates are your greatest source of learning.” – Bill Gates

“Courteous treatment will make a candidate a walking advertisement.” – J.C. Penney

“Good candidate service costs less than bad candidate service.” – Sally Gronow

“Candidate service is an opportunity to exceed your candidate’s expectations.” – John Jantsch

“It is so much easier to be nice, to be respectful, to put yourself in your candidate’s’ shoes and try to understand how you might help them before they ask for help, than it is to try to mend a broken candidate relationship.” – Mark Cuban

“Only once candidate service has become habitual will a company realize its true potential.” — Than Merrill

“Candidates don’t care about your policies. Find and engage the need. Tell the candidate what you can” – Alice Sesay Pope

“Here is a powerful yet simple rule. Always give people more than they expect to get.” – Nelson Boswell

“A lot of people have fancy things to say about candidates service, but it’s just a day-in, day-out, ongoing, never-ending, persevering, compassionate kind of activity.” – Christopher McCormick

“We have entered the era of the candidates. Today, providing candidates with outstanding candidate service is essential to building loyal candidates and a long-lasting brand.” – Jerry Gregoire

“Great candidate service doesn’t mean that the candidate is always right, it means that the candidate is always honoured.” – Chris LoCurto


Candidate Focused Marketing

“The first step in exceeding your candidate’s expectations is to know those expectations.” – Roy H. Williams

“Satisfied candidate is the best source of advertisement” – G.S. Alag

“Making candidate evangelists is about creating experiences worth talking about.” – Valeria Maltoni

“No amount of advertising can repair the damage done by failing to properly address a candidate’s concern.” – Albert Schindler

“Candidates who love you will market for you more powerfully than you can possibly market yourself.” – Jeanne Bliss

“If you want to be a good brand and have a value exchange with the candidate… you’ve got to have the listening mechanisms that can catch up to the candidate as well.” – Kelly Soligon

“People don’t just buy your products that they can see; they buy your attitude that they can sense” – Roxanne Emmerich

“Just having satisfied candidates isn’t good enough anymore. If you really want a booming business, you have to create raving fans.” – Ken Blanchard

“Happy candidates are your biggest advocates and can become your most successful sales team.” – Lisa Masiello

Candidate-Focused Leadership

“Service, in short, is not what you do, but who you are. It is a way of living that you need to bring to everything you do, if you are to bring it to your candidate interactions.” – Betsy Sanders

“Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, ‘What’s in it for me?’ – Brian Tracy

“Your candidate doesn’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” – Damon Richards

“When you serve the candidate better, they always return on your investment.” – Kara Parlin

“People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.” – Teddy Roosevelt

“If you work just for money, you’ll never make it, but if you love what you’re doing and you always put the candidate first, success will be yours.” – Ray Kroc

“Being in a curiosity mindset means being fascinated by your candidates and their reactions.” – Jake Knapp

“Treat the candidate like you would want to be treated. Period!” – Brad Schweig

“Never lose sight of candidates. Always be focusing on meeting their needs and expectations.” – Sue Duris

Candidate Experience Playbook 2020: Hire with Heart

The good news is that for those organisations who genuinely want to improve candidate experience, it has become much easier to do so. It is now straightforward to give great experiences at scale while also driving down costs and improving efficiencies.

Alas, the win-win is easily attainable. In the Sapia Candidate Experience Playbook, read how organisations are hiring with heart. All done by creating positive experiences for candidates while also decreasing the workload for the hiring team.


Jeff Uden, Head of Talent, Iceland Foods & Sapia

On 26th August, our CEO Barb Hyman facilitated a webinar on “Hiring with Heart” in collaboration with The Recruitment Events Network.

To our surprise, Jeff Uden who is the Head of Talent and L&D for Iceland Foods also joined the webinar.

During the session, Jeff offered some wonderful comments. We took a transcript of Jeff’s input and have jotted it here. It offers insights on dealing with enormous volumes of candidates, offering positive candidate experience and communicating culture from a candidate’s first experience with a brand.

Thanks for your insights, Jeff. Incredibly valuable.

 In conversation with Jeff Uden Head of Talent, Iceland Group & Sapia

At Iceland Foods, we have started working with Sapia. That was as a result of a couple of things. One was the element of the mass recruitment that we were doing. Just to put it in perspective, in the first four months of this year, we received over five hundred thousand applications.

We wanted to find a way that delivered a level of fairness, a level of consistency around how we sift those applications that then enabled store managers to reduce that amount of time that they are spending on doing the recruitment.

The other thing that we wanted to do was significantly enhance our candidate experience. One of the challenges that I had around the experiences that we had within the business is that it felt like it was really standard. It felt like it was cold; it felt like it came from a computer. We wanted to change how we did that and more importantly give something back to the candidates.

Often nowadays people apply for jobs, and there’s the standard ‘bulk’ response that says if you haven’t heard anything from us in two weeks take it that you haven’t been successful.

As big companies or companies of any size we have a duty to help those individuals to understand why they haven’t been successful and to help them to be successful in the next role for which they apply.

The fact that they won’t be hired into your business is probably the right decision because they wouldn’t have been the right fit given the testing that they have gone through. However, that doesn’t mean they are a bad individual. What we need to do is to help them to understand where their strengths are and where their development needs are, and certainly, that was a massive appeal of working with Sapia.

Going through and reading some of the feedback that we’ve had from the candidates, it’s having a huge effect on the candidate experience.

I just had a very quick look at our figures with Sapia, we’ve got a 100% positive experience from our candidates. Bearing in mind 49,000 candidates have gone through Sapia. To have that figure is a superb figure.

We had a swift implementation planned. But probably one of the lengthiest parts of it was about actually getting the questions right and getting the language right. We really did spend a decent period doing that.

I just had a quick look at one of the pieces of feedback here, and this is completely unedited:

“I enjoyed the interview. It makes me believe Iceland as a company are people carers and their staff are more than just employees”.

That’s what’s coming over from the way in which we put the language across within the questions.

We are genuinely really chuffed about how they are engaging far more with us as a brand and how they are feeling like they are getting something back. They genuinely don’t feel like this is a computer process in any way whatsoever; they genuinely feel like they are talking to people. 

Join the movement

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You can try out Sapia’s FirstInterview right now, or leave us your details here to get a personalised demo.

Have you seen the 2020 Candidate Experience Playbook?

If there was ever a time for our profession to show humanity for the thousands that are looking for work, that time is now.

Download it here

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Nothing like a crisis to force change 

In AA there is a saying that you only wake up to the need for change when you hit rock bottom. Sometimes it feels like that is our lot in life, to not accept the facts of what’s happening until things get really dire (climate change anyone?).

COVID-19 has been a fabulous disruptor and dispeller of that old myth that people slack off when they work from home and the myth that unless you can see the worker how can you truly know if they are working? Both that old fashioned myth has been killed off but as many of us can feel and see form the experience, we are all working way longer. 

Remote working is a game-changer

We have shared already the reality of ongoing remote work and the real reason why it’s a game-changer for organisations. In one hit your talent pool becomes global or at least more global, and productivity goes up. But only if you recognise that remote work is not b2b zoom meetings. In fact, it’s precisely not that.  

Instead, its about enabling work which requires asynchronous communication

Productivity and flexibility for employees come when we don’t all have to get in a room, virtual or otherwise to do our work. That means communicating in writing, not by video.

There is as strong a ‘bias’ towards having to see someone to hire someone, as there has been to date with having to see someone working in the office to trust they are working. What will it take for that bias to be disrupted?

Suggested Reading:


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Why text conversations work better for graduate assessment

Text is central to our everyday lives.

Texting, emailing, writing, all of this is done in natural language. The revolution in natural language processing is changing the way organisations understand, and make use of text. Using text data as the assessment data is compelling when you consider the facts about texting in our everyday lives.

95% of graduates in advanced economies own a mobile phone. Research from Google has shown that Generation Z prefers texting to all other forms of communication. This includes messaging apps and meeting in-person. This is reflected in open rates being an order of magnitude higher for text messages – 90%. Compare that to email open rates (18%) and response rates (8%).

We have candidates completing our text-based FirstInterview assessment every 2 minutes somewhere in the world. Through this we see data the trend towards mobile-first assessment experiences.

Analysing the behaviour of 41,314 candidates from March 2019 to March 2020, more than one third completed their assessment on mobile,  with applicants saving 40% or more on time to complete it on a mobile vs a desktop.


The Power of Language to Assess Values and Traits

In graduate recruitment and with growing unemployment as a result of COVID-19, humanising your recruitment means using assessments that feel human, that are empathetic and respectful to the candidate’s time and effort, that mirror how we live and work every day.

  • Having a text conversation on a mobile phone.
  • Asking typical interview questions to which graduates can relate, e.g ‘which of our values do you connect with and why?’
  • Asking 5 or 6 questions, that respect every applicant as unique and empowers them to share who they are, in their language, sharing their personal stories.
  • Receiving for your eyes only, personalised and constructive feedback within minutes that deepens your self-awareness

These aspects of the experience enhance trust and engagement leading to a 99% positive sentiment rating.

See for yourself why:  Try it Here > 

Answering 5 open-ended questions generate at least 75 different data points about a person. Even 200 words is enough to reveal your true character and personality.

Natural Language Processing (NLP)

It is the combination of NLP (a branch of AI), our unique machine-learning models and our proprietary dataset (containing 25 million words) that form the foundation of our text-based assessment.

Curious to know the science behind the technology? Get in touch with us here

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