Applicants vs Candidates

Applicants vs Candidates | What is an Applicant? | What is a Candidate?


In job searches and interviews, people often mix applicants vs. candidates. Still, the word candidates vs. applicants means different things that matter for getting hired. The key difference between an applicant and a candidate lies in their position within the hiring process. An applicant applies for a job, expressing interest. At the same time, a candidate has moved past the initial application stage and is under active consideration for the position. In this guide, we’ll explain what each word applicant and candidate means, discuss how applicants vs candidates differs, and give useful tips to help employers and job seekers find the right person for the job.

Information Scours: Research Gate

What is an Applicant?

An applicant is a person who wants to get a job. They do this by filling out forms or sending in documents like a resume or a letter that explains why they want the job. This initial step marks the beginning of their engagement with a potential employer. Applicants typically provide their resume or cover letter or complete an application form expressing their interest in the position. However, being an applicant does not guarantee progression in the hiring process.

Sarah recently put up a notice for a job to help with marketing at her company. In just a week, she got many people (applicants) interested – 150! But when she looked at their applications, she found that only 15 applicants had what was needed for the job. Sarah thought about it and realised that even though having lots of people apply seems good, her job description might not have been clear enough. She knew it was important to get the right individuals, so she clarified the job description. Sarah also decided to actively look for someone who could fit the job well instead of just waiting for them to apply.

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Key Characteristics of an Applicant:

  1. Submits application for a job opening.
  2. Expresses initial interest in the position.
  3. Provides resume, cover letter, or completes application form.
  4. May have limited experience or qualifications related to the position.
  5. Represents the starting point in the recruitment journey.

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What is a Candidate?

A candidate is a person who is being seriously considered for a job. They have already applied for the job and shown they have the right qualifications and experience. A candidate, on the other hand, represents a more advanced stage in the hiring process. The candidate has progressed beyond the initial application phase and is being actively considered for the job. The candidate has shown a match with the job requirements, relevant experience, and qualifications that make them a potential match for the position.

Emily applied for a marketing manager position at a local company. After submitting her application, she was contacted by the hiring manager for an interview. During the interview, Emily showed her vast marketing experience, Fit with the job requirements, and relevant qualifications. Impressed by Emily’s skills and background, the hiring manager considered Emily a strong candidate.

Key Characteristics of a Candidate:

  1. Advances beyond the initial application phase.
  2. Actively considered for the job by the employer.
  3. Demonstrates alignment with job requirements.
  4. Possesses relevant experience and qualifications.
  5. Represents a potential match for the position.

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Applicants vs Candidates: Understanding the Distinction

While candidate and applicant are often used Similarly, the primary difference between applicant and candidate is the progression within the hiring process. Applicants represent the initial pool of individuals who express interest in a job position. In contrast, candidates have advanced beyond this stage and are actively being considered for suitability.

Identifying Candidates from Applicants

To differentiate candidates from applicants, it’s essential to consider several factors:

1. Resume and Cover Letter Tailoring

Candidates frequently personalize their resumes and cover letters to demonstrate their pertinent skills and experience, aligning them with the job requirements. Look for modified applications that show a clear understanding of the role.

2. Qualifications and Experience

Candidates typically have more relevant experience and qualifications compared to applicants. Candidates show a closer match to the job requirements and are viewed as potential candidates for the position.

3. Engagement in the Hiring Process

Candidates actively participate in the hiring process by attending interviews, assessments, or meetings with hiring managers. Their involvement indicates a higher level of interest and commitment to the role.

4. Referrals and Networking

Consider referrals from professional networks or internal recommendations, often highlighting candidates supported by trusted sources within the industry.

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Importance of Understanding the Difference Between Applicants vs Candidates

Understanding the distinction between applicants and candidates is crucial for both employers and job seekers.

Applicants vs Candidates For Employers:

  • Enables more efficient recruitment processes by focusing resources on qualified candidates.
  • Facilitates better candidate assessment and selection based on relevant experience and qualifications.
  • Helps in building a talent pipeline of potential candidates for future job openings.

Applicants vs Candidates For Job Seekers:

  • Allows for strategic positioning as qualified candidates by showcasing relevant skills and experience.
  • Enhances engagement with potential employers by demonstrating alignment with job requirements.
  • Provides clarity in the application process and increases the likelihood of progression to the candidate stage.

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Final Thoughts

In conclusion, while the words “applicant vs candidate” are often used normally, they represent distinct stages within the recruitment journey. Applicants express initial interest in a position, while candidates have progressed and are actively being considered for the job. By understanding this difference, employers can simplify their recruitment efforts. At the same time, job seekers can strategically position themselves as qualified candidates, finally leading to more successful hiring outcomes.

In the active recruitment landscape, differentiating between applicants and candidates is a valuable skill that can contribute to effective talent acquisition and career advancement. Adopt each term and use this understanding to navigate the recruitment journey confidently.

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