Focusing on the candidate experience is more than explaining to an applicant where he/she stands in the application process or the ability to send courteous rejection emails. Candidates are people before they are applicants and are at the heart of a major HR Copernican Revolution.
Candidates in the social media era have the power to do or undo the image of a company on their social networks. As a result, it is critical to interact with them on their own terms, develop a people-centric engagement process and move from a transactional hiring methodology to a relationship-based hiring strategy. Today the process is designed for the candidate to respond to a job requisition or job requirement, NOT for the company to be responsive to an inquiry or expression of interest: the "candidate experience" is predicated from the start upon the obligation to accommodate preconditions. As a result, up to 90% of candidates who reach a career site do not apply. Speak of reverse Darwinism! And what do companies do after that? They apply filters that would only qualify elusive purple squirrels... The candidate experience today is mediocre at best simply because candidates are not even heard by companies!
Addressing the candidate experience entails taking a holistic approach to talent engagement and management — and incidentally making the recruiter's experience much better than what it is - because today, with the systems they use, no matter how diligent they are, it's virtually impossible for them to "bridge the talent gap." The central part of the recruiting process in the social media era is an engagement platform, i.e. an employer branded space by where candidates, sourcers and recruiters can meet and interact — and where constituencies can operate comfortably each on their own terms.