How to Create an Awesome Candidate Experience

Improved Candidate ExperienceWhat is Candidate Experience?

Candidate experience is the overall experience that a job seeker has while engaging in a company’s hiring process. The interactions that a candidate has during the recruiting process leads them to form an opinion on your company, greatly influencing employer brand. Here are some of the interactions that make up candidate experience for job seekers.

Key Components of Candidate Experience

  • Company careers page
  • Job postings and advertisements
  • Simplicity of application completion
  • Communication throughout the hiring process
  • Interview process
  • Presence of mobile application process
  • Onboarding

Why is a Positive Candidate Experience Important?

Candidate experience is instrumental in forming your employer brand, which is a key element of recruitment marketing. A poor candidate experience diminishes your ability to attract top talent, hurting your organization long term. Ensuring that candidates have a positive experience gives you the best chance of hiring the best employees possible. Here’s a deep dive into the primary ways that improving your candidate experience can help your business.

Attract More Applicants

If you improve your candidate experience by making it easier to apply for your job openings, then you’ll receive many more applicants for each posting. A study by CareerBuilder showed that 60% of job seekers abandon an application in the middle of filling it our because of the length or complexity of the application. Simplified application processes with minimal required fields and quick apply features will greatly reduce the rate in which candidates abandon your application.

Implicit Bias in HiringAttract Top Talent

If job seekers choose not to pursue your job openings because of a lengthy application process or a poor candidate experience, then you’re losing out a lot of talent. There’s a good chance that the best person for the job is among those job seekers that quit your application halfway through. Optimizing your hiring process for candidate experience will give you a larger candidate pool, making sure that you have the best chance to land the most qualified person for the job.

Improved Quality of Hire

This point closely ties in with the previous two points. If you get more talented applicants for your job postings, then improved quality of hire is likely to follow. This isn’t just about getting more applicants by simplifying your application process though. By improving your candidate experience you’ll also increase the likelihood of a candidate accepting an offer from your company over another offer as well.

Improved Employer Brand

Giving your candidates an easy and transparent experience during the hiring process will not only get you more talent, it will improve your reputation as a company and built trust among job seekers. Even candidates who are not hired will respect your business more if you provide them with a positive experience.

How to Create a Positive Candidate Experience

Every company is capable of offering a great candidate experience for their applicants. That’s because curating a positive candidate experience really comes down to putting the effort in. Here are 10 steps you can take to go the extra mile for your candidates.

Get Hired1. Understand Exactly What You’re Looking for in a Role

The first step to building a great candidate experience is to know exactly what a role entails and exactly what you’re looking for in a candidate. This makes it possible to write a clear job description and will make your interviews run much smoother.

2. Write Clear Job Descriptions

Make sure that your job description tells candidates everything they need to know about the role without overwhelming them with information. Most job descriptions are too lengthy, so try to just tell job seekers what they need to know. Also, make sure to include a salary range, even if it’s broad.

Review HR DocumentsWhat to ALWAYS Include in Your Job Descriptions

  • Job title
  • Location / remote status
  • Salary / hourly rate
  • Experience level required
  • Education level required
  • Desired skills
  • Daily tasks
  • Who the role reports to
  • Company information
  • Perks and benefits

3. Make it as Easy as Possible for Candidates to Apply for Job PostingsSend Application Invitations

We touched on this earlier, but a simplified application process is pretty much required for a great candidate experience. Ideally, your application process should be no more than a few clicks to upload a resume and apply. Try to limit required written responses and whatever you do, don’t make applicants manually enter in information from their resume. Streamline your application process and you’ll have access to a larger, more talented candidate pool.

4. Have a Mobile-Friendly Application Process

Over 90% of job seekers use their mobile phones and tablets to job hunt, so relying on an application process that’s only optimized for desktop will greatly reduce the number of applicants you get for your job postings. A mobile-first application process both maximizes your applicant pool and leads candidates to perceive your organization as tech-savvy.

5. Send a Confirmation Email After a Candidate Applies

Have you ever applied for a job and thought, “I wonder if that went through”? Having an on-screen message on the job post notifying applicants that their application was received is a good start, but it’s always a good idea to send them a follow-up email as well. This email should also include information on the hiring process and a timeframe in which they can expect a decision.

6. Follow Up as Early and Often as Possible

The worst part of job searching is wondering where you stand during the evaluation process. Alleviate some of this anxiety for your job candidates by keeping them updated on their status as often as possible.

7. Communicate Effectively Throughout the Process

Your communication with candidates should go beyond just updating them on where they stand. Work with candidates to schedule interviews that are convenient for them, thank them for completing each step in your hiring process, and if you decide not to hire someone, tell them why. Over the years the hiring process has become dehumanized, which can leave job seekers feeling disrespected.

8. Make Your Hiring Team Aware of Unconscious Bias

There’s a clear issue with unconscious bias in the hiring process that needs to be addressed. In many cases, hiring managers allow biases that they don’t even know they have influence hiring decisions. You should always be taking measures to mitigate bias in your hiring process through training and monitoring hiring patterns. Additionally, consider adopting an objective candidate review process by only using objective data during initial candidate evaluation.

9. Provide Information on What to Expect in Interviews

You don’t want your candidates to be surprised or caught of guard by anything in your interview process, so make sure to communicate what to expect during each round of interviews. This should include who they’ll be interviewing with, how long interviews will last, and what sort of questions will be asked. Additionally, inform candidates of whatever information or work samples they should have prepared well before the interview.

10. Conduct High Quality Interviews

Think of your interviews as being two ways – not only are you interviewing the candidate for a job opening, they’re interviewing your company as a potential employer. Represent your organization in the best way possible by conducting professional and engaging interviews. Here are a few interview tips for hiring managers.

Tips for Conducting a Great Interview

  • Prepare interview questions ahead of time.
  • Test technology in advance for video interviews.
  • Dress professionally.
  • Create a distraction-free environment.
  • Don’t make candidates wait for interviews.
  • Make sure anyone joining the interview is prepared.
  • Take detailed notes.

3 Ways to Continuously Improve Your Candidate Experience

Revamping your hiring process to improve candidate experience is an ongoing process. You should always be looking for opportunities to give your applicants a better experience whenever possible. Here are some strategies you can implement to continuously improve your process.

Send a Candidate Survey to Get Feedback

In order to continuously improve candidate experience, you must be able to identify the parts of your hiring process that candidates are frustrated with. One simple way to do this is by sending out a candidate experience survey to everyone that applies to work for your company. Also, have your new hires give you an audit of your hiring process right after they’ve been hired!

Keep Track of Candidates You Want to Consider for Future Openings

Just because a candidate wasn’t right for this job doesn’t mean that they won’t be a great fit for another position down the line. If you’ve curated a positive candidate experience, then people will be happy to be considered for future opportunities despite not landing this one.

Respond to Online Reviews Regarding Candidate Experience

Candidates are likely to look for reviews of your company and interview process on websites like Glassdoor and Comparably. Unfortunately, it’s fairly common for disgruntled former employees or past candidates that were passed on to write negative reviews that may be exaggerated or inaccurate. These bad reviews can easily deter a job seeker from applying, so always respond to online reviews (negative and positive) to set the record straight.