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The Secret to a Great Candidate Experience

“Modern recruiters make the company’s talents brand come to life through the candidate’s experience and interactions with them.”

Jennifer McClure, Founder and CEO, Unbridled Talent LLC

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Candidate experience is the reaction a job seeker has about an organization’s job application process. A good candidate experience captures how candidates feel about your company after they see how you treat job applicants. Crafting a good candidate experience involves a mindset shift that focuses on respecting candidates’ time and designing your candidate experience to be as painless as possible.

In short, it’s the collective results of all engagements and interactions that have the candidates during the marketing and hiring process

Today, candidates have more choices, making it harder for employers to differentiate themselves and establish how their values, company culture, and employees represent a unique opportunity for top candidates. Poor experiences during the recruiting process can negatively impact an employer’s ability to hire talent. Through a positive candidate experience, organizations can gain the trust and loyalty of applicants who may become advocates for an organization and help bolster their employer brand.

Improving the candidate experience is a must to win in a war for talent.  Here are the following on how to improve the candidate experience at each stage of the hiring process:

Make sure you’re hiring to fill a real need

Being well-organized starts with planning your hiring strategy by identifying gaps that need to fill – and who would be best-suited to fill them. As a result, candidates will have much better-defined job duties and smoother application experience.

Perform a Skills Gap Analysis

It is the best way to conduct a formal skills gap analysis in order to identify additional skills your team needs to grow. Formal skills gap analysis can help companies see that they can train their current employee, instead of hiring new ones. Performing the analysis on individuals or teams tends to help with succession planning, training goals, and hiring plans.

Choose a Job Title

Once the companies identify the skills gap that they need to fill, they can now back-engineer job titles and responsibilities too fit those skills.

Write Clear Job Description

Use Simple Language

The job description is an important step in planning your staffing programs and it is best to keep job descriptions clear and jargon-free as possible.

List must-haves as requirements

Job descriptions with an endless list of requirements turn off candidates so it is better to separate your ‘wish list’ traits from ‘must-haves’ to avoid candidates from bouncing.

Structure of the Job Description to be easy to read

Follow the same writing rules as blog posts and articles, they are easier to read if they list the most important information and are full of bullet points, active verbs and short sentences.

Tell candidates the title of your Hiring Manager, for context

It’s best to tell candidates who their manager will be, to help them with their research and give them more context for the seniority and growth opportunities of an open role.

Make management responsibilities obvious

If the roles you’re advertising to have management responsibilities, make them explicit.

Make it easy for candidates to apply to your job

Make your careers page easy to find

Careers pages are often buried in obscure sections of company websites. Candidates will be grateful for not having to hunt through on the sitemap and will recognize the value of the job application process enough to make it front-and-center.

Give clear application instructions

Complicated application instructions confuse and turn off candidates. To avoid candidates’ dropping out, make sure to let them know what they’ll need to submit before they start.

Don’t make applicants log into your system to apply

Do your candidates favor and don’t ask them to create a new one. Let them apply without logging into anything.

Offer LinkedIn or Resume Parsing

Anything that makes the application process shorter and easier for candidates will improve your candidate experience. LinkedIn parsing is a great option for making the application more convenient.

Make your entire application process obvious, on one page

Keep your application to a one-page format, help candidates prepare everything they need ahead of time.

Keep your application process short and mobile-friendly

The shorter your application, the more user-friendly it is. Shorter applications are easier to fill out on mobile devices and demonstrate that you respect your candidates’ time.

Follow-up early and often

Message candidates from a human email address

Interview invites are more inviting if they have a person’s name attached to them.

Respond to candidate thank you and follow-up notes

Once your interview process is rolling, you’ll likely get thank you and follow-up emails from candidates after phone screens and in-person interviews.

Communicate with (and thank) Candidates during each step of the Hiring Process

Talk people on the phone before asking them to do an assignment

It is best to talk to people before asking them to commit any more time to the application process. This makes people more comfortable and helps to scale down the number of people spending extra time on assignments or tests.

Make any assignment directions clear and be transparent about the timeline

It helps the candidates feel more at ease by providing clear instructions and clarify questions they may have.

Keep candidates updated along the way

Silent is a common candidate experience killer. Help to ease the tension with a clear timeline for getting back to candidates

Be open to giving and receiving feedback

Candidates appreciate specific information about their applications and, if they advance to later stages of the hiring process, they are more likely to expect specific, personalized feedback delivered with candor and kindness.

“A good recruiting process focuses and aligns recruiters to deliver the best to the organization. Ultimately, recruiting really should be viewed as a business partner, someone who is critical to the success of the business.”

Mathew Caldwell, Founder and CEO, RocketPower

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The candidate experience is the series of interactions that a job seeker has with your company throughout the recruiting process.

Candidate experience consists of:

  • Corporate Career site
  • Job Advertisement
  • Online Job Application Process
  • Any Communication from the applicant tracking system
  • Interview Process
  • Communication with HR Professionals, Team Members, and Leadership
  • Notifications about the candidate’s application status
  • Candidate Rejection Letter or Job Offer

Providing a positive candidate experience can improve recruiting results in various ways.

You will Attract More Applicants

If the application is short and simple, more job seekers will finish applying to your jobs.

You can Compete for Top Talent

Providing a superior candidate experience will also help to make a great impression on top talent, which can increase their desire to work.

Your Quality of Hire will Improve

It is more than just a part of the recruiting process; by giving candidates what they want and need throughout the hiring process.

You will Increase Brand Awareness

This generates positive awareness for both employer and consumer brand, which can lead to more job applicants and even customers.

Candidate experience affects more than just your applicants. It also plays a significant role in recruiting results and business as a whole. Candidates often decide whether or not to accept a job offer based on how they were treated throughout the hiring process. The better the candidate experience, the more likely an organization is to attract the best talents.  Top candidates demand compelling experiences during and after the hiring process.


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