The Difference between Applicants and Candidates


My recruiter talks about applicants and candidates as if they’re not interchangeable–what’s the difference?


In some circles it’s possible that applicants and candidates are used interchangeably. But when talking with human resources recruiters, applicants are job seekers who have “applied” for your job opening. They have either sent a resume to you or completed an application – online or in person. You might have 300 applicants for a particular job opening. Candidates on the other hand are applicants that you have screened and deem minimally qualified for the job opening. They are contenders for the opening; these are the folks that you will interview by phone or in person or have some other form of contact to learn more about their qualifications. Out of an applicant pool of 300, you might only identify 15 candidates.

Strategic HR understands the complexity of hiring. From applicants to candidates to prospects, we know the ins and outs of sourcing, screening and selecting your next new hire. For more information visit our Recruitment page to learn how we can help you fill your job openings efficiently and cost effectively.