How to create an ideal candidate experience?

Candidate experience – is it another trend floating around insignificantly? While it is a popular buzzword, creating a good candidate experience is highly relevant and impacts your company. Besides the job opportunities, how candidates experience your recruitment processes could set you apart from the other business that hunt for talent and what makes a candidate choose to accept or decline your job offer.

So, let’s dive into the topic. In the following lines, you will get to grasp the concept of candidate experience and, more importantly, learn why and how you can efficiently improve in that area. 

Fundamentals about candidate experience

Before we dive into the specifics of creating a great experience for your candidates, let us cover the basics.

What is candidate experience?

The most accepted definition of candidate experience is: “how candidates feel about your company once they experience your hiring process.” Before, during and after the interview leaves a good or bad impression on candidates. In other words, the candidate experience is how the job seeker perceives the company from the initial stages (the job search) to the interview and the onboarding process. The core perception-shaper is the type of interaction they received. Was it perceived warm or uncaring? This leaves an important first impression.

Why candidate experience matters?

As we mentioned above, good candidate experience is vital for attracting talent that decides to accept a job because they feel good about your organization. A great candidate experience will make them talk and share with others about it, and a good word is a boost for your company’s reputation. On the other side, a hiring manager should avoid a bad first impression from the initial job seeker’s stage because that bad beginning will be remembered even if later their experience is stable. That is because their opinion of the organization is clouded from the first negative impressions.   

How to improve candidate experience?  

There a handful of practices you can start adopting now that will enhance the candidate experience. Here are 6 of the essential ones:

Resume scanning

01   Write clear job descriptions

There is nothing more frustrating than applying for a job with the conviction that you fulfil the job requirements to find out that you are rejected for the job because you do not meet unspecified criteria. This is why it is crucial to write a short, crystal clear job description that is easy to read. If you want to go into depth with the specifics of how to craft a job posting that attracts the best candidates, we highlight the topic in this blog.

Remember, focus on enlisting the must-have job requirements to your job descriptions and avoid cluttering the list with nice-to-have criteria.  Having endless requirements in one pile will turn off applicants as they would not feel they qualify for every single bullet point.

02  Ease the application process

To begin with, if your job ad is not easy to find, very few would make an effort to dig around your careers page. It also sends the signal that you do not value the candidate’s time. Having it at a prominent place on your page is a step towards creating a good candidate experience. Next, applying for your job position should not be a riddle – avoid making applicants register to your system to apply and, even worse, make them create passwords whose criteria are too demanding.

For an even better application experience, it is helpful to give clear application instructions so that candidates can prepare the documents they need to upload beforehand. Especially if they need to apply for a place that uses advanced linguistic screener. If possible, for an even greater and seamless application procedure, consider integrating a LinkedIn parsing with its “Easy apply” option. 

03  Keep candidates up-to-date with their application

One of the most discouraging factors that leave candidates with a bad impression of the application experience is the lack of response from companies whose available job they applied for. Notifying candidates of the bad news is better than keeping them wondering and unaware.  In fact, research conducted by Careerbuilder showcases that 42% of the ghosted candidates won’t apply again to that company, and 22% will tell their network not to apply either. This discontent is one of the primary reasons why Workable, a worldwide known vendor of recruitment software, has a 2 Day Rule policy for replying to candidates. By responding promptly, your company demonstrates that they value individuals and indicates a good ethic.

Also, consider creating an automated “thank you for applying” email and aim to contact prospective candidates from a human email.


Of the ghosted candidates won't apply again


Will tell their network not to apply either

04  Communicate expectations for the interview

Once you have narrowed down the candidates to a few, you can send them a more detailed follow-up email of what to expect at your interview. Going into an interview is a stage where most candidates feel nervous, so sending them an instruction email on what they should bring, where it will take place and so forth would help them feel more prepared. Always send a calendar invite over email to ensure that there are no time zone or location miscommunications.

During the interview, attempt to make them feel comfortable and anticipate their questions. If you are using an advanced liguistic reader for prescreening of candidates, it is a good idea to take a look at individual’s soft skills and thus be more prepared for and about the interviewee.

05  Give and ask for feedback

Businessman and businesswoman discussing work at office desk nea

Do a follow-up email after the interview with each candidate with feedback on why they do not continue further. In this way, they get to understand what they could have done better for future interviews.

At the other end, ask for feedback on how you performed as well.
After all, how can you know what you are doing right and where you can improve as a hiring manager if you do not ask for constructive feedback?

Those who have gone through your interview are the direct source of feedback for getting relevant insights. By giving and asking for feedback, you create a relatable connection with candidates and reveals a human side of you, the recruiter.

06  Keep track of previous candidates for future job openings

Even though candidates did not end up landing the job, they can still be a great fit for future openings.

Hence, it is relevant to keep them in your talent pool and keep in touch with them whenever a new role appears. By doing this, you avoid limiting your candidate pool and improve the candidate experience. How so? That is because rejecting a candidate is more encouraging when they hear that they will be kept in mind for future openings. Just make sure that they are actually considered.

See how you can be better prepared with Whaii Candidate Report

Attracting talent at your doorstep is only half way of the recruitment journey. For the interview and selection phase, there are tools out there that help you get a grasp of their personality traits.