Back to News & InsightsEnhancing the Candidate Experience in the Recruitment Process: A Comprehensive Guide

Enhancing the Candidate Experience in the Recruitment Process: A Comprehensive Guide

Reading a negative online review from an unhappy job candidate is one of a recruiter or hiring manager’s worst nightmares. Although such reviews cannot be avoided altogether, the negative impact can be significantly lowered by ensuring a positive candidate experience. The candidate experience, or how an individual perceives a company's brand throughout the recruitment process, can significantly sway a top-choice candidate towards accepting your job offer. In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the concept of candidate experience, its importance, and ways to improve it.

What is the Candidate Experience?

Candidate experience shapes a job seeker's perception of a company throughout the entire recruitment process. This spans from the initial job advertisement, right through to the interview process, and even the follow-up communications.
Each stage in this process presents an opportunity to cultivate stronger candidate relationships and demonstrate to job seekers why they would want to be a part of your company. This experience is very important as it shapes a candidate’s impression of how your business treats its employees.
A well-managed candidate experience can aid in converting your preferred candidates into employees. In contrast, a poor candidate experience can result in them withdrawing from your hiring process completely.

The Importance of Candidate Experience

The candidate experience, in essence, forms an individual's impression of how your business treats its employees. Therefore, it's vital that a candidate leaves an interview with a positive view of your company, regardless of whether they're the chosen candidate.

A negative candidate experience can deter quality candidates from applying, damaging your employer brand. Equally, a positive experience can enhance your reputation, attracting a diverse talent pool.

It only takes one non-favourable review from a disgruntled candidate to put your company’s reputation on the line. Almost 60% of employers have read at least one negative online review about their hiring process, and this can naturally deter quality candidates from applying.
Something else recruiters often overlook is the reality that job candidates are also your potential customers. They may never buy your product/service if they had a bad hiring experience at your company.  

Strategies to Improve Candidate Experience 

Optimising Your Website and Career Page

Use your website and careers page to show why your company is a great place to work. Most job seekers do their own research about the hiring company and the first port of call is generally your website and more specifically, your careers page if you have one.

Use this to show prospective employees what matters to you as a company. Research shows that one in three candidates is looking for answers about why people want to work at your company.  

Posting video content of your employees detailing what makes your company a great place to work could also be a good idea, showing what values and experiences your company has to offer can be the difference between a candidate accepting the job, or passing up the opportunity.

It should also be crystal clear to candidates how to apply for a job at your company, and for applications to be easily submitted via mobile phone. This is even more important if your recruiting strategy is aimed at attracting GEN Z and millennials who admire technology and would prefer to work for an employer who shares this mindset.

Research shows that 46% of Gen Z and 38% of employed millennials have applied for a job via a mobile device, illustrating the importance of optimising the mobile application process. These generations also prefer communicating via text messages rather than emails, so will not be averse to a recruiter sending them a text.

Above all, don’t complicate the application process. One thing that candidates find frustrating is a website asking them to upload their CV as well as complete another online form by re-entering their work experience and education, one by one. Try to automate this process by re-populating the data from the CV into the form.

Crafting Engaging Job Descriptions 

  • Write titles that are simple, search friendly, and best describe the role. 
  • Avoid generic job descriptions as they can work against you. Make the tone conversational, relatable, and engaging. 
  • Try to avoid industry jargon or terminology used by the more senior staff in your company.
  • This can be off-putting for a candidate who has never worked at your organisation and may just be entering the industry.
  • A lengthy job description is not effective at attracting candidates either. Research shows that job descriptions between 700 and 2,000 characters receive up to 30% more applications, so try to stay within this range.

Maintaining Clear Communication

Clear communication is the key for improving the candidate experience.  Almost 60% of candidates state that better communication during and after the application process is where companies need to improve.

The interviewing process is the stage where communication matters the most. Share interview details with candidates such as the time and the place of the interview well in advance. Also, make it clear how many rounds will be involved in the interviewing process, and how long each round is likely to take.

Arranging for somebody to greet the candidate upon arrival is a nice touch as it can help diminish nervousness and demonstrates that you appreciate their time and effort. 

Don’t conduct too many interviews. Experts say that two interviews are standard and for more senior roles, perhaps a third meeting with a senior stakeholder would be relevant.

Prompt Follow-Up

Once the interviewing process is complete, don’t wait too long to make a hiring decision. A long hiring process is often the reason quality talent slips through your fingers. Automate notifications to let candidates know if they are shortlisted to the next round. If you really want to leave a positive lasting impression on the candidates, send a personal message via email or social media.

Be sure to let shortlisted candidates know as soon as possible if they have been unsuccessful. An experienced recruiter knows that such decisions are best received by candidates if delivered by phone.  

Keep in mind that one of the top complaints noted by job seekers is that employers don't bother to respond to their emails, or even let them know the role has been filled. Make sure you always reply to their correspondence and keep them abreast of any advancements or changes in the hiring process.

Be appreciative of candidates’ time. The typical candidate spends three to four hours preparing for and submitting a single job application.
Finally, make sure that you stay in touch with any candidates that impressed you, but were not selected for the position. You never know, they might be the perfect fit for another role and make a great addition to your team down the line.

Positive Onboarding Experience

Signing the employment offer is not where the recruiter’s job ends. Research shows that 22% of staff turnover occurs within the first 45 days of employment, so don’t overlook the importance of a positive onboarding experience.

Prior to their start date, send orientation material or any other information they may benefit from to help them settle into the new role.

Small gestures also count. Most of us recall how nervous we were on our first day at work, and how much we appreciated that person who offered us a cup of coffee or went out of their way to make us feel welcome.

The Future of Candidate Experience

A positive candidate experience is crucial in today's competitive job market. It not only aids in attracting and retaining top talent but also contributes to maintaining a positive employer brand. By implementing the strategies mentioned above, you can significantly enhance the candidate experience and stand out as an employer of choice.

It is vital to make each candidate feel special, including those who may not appear to be a good fit for the role. Remember, a candidate leaving an interview with a positive view of your company is as valuable as the one you hire. These people will speak favourably about your company and you never know who might be listening.