How to Improve the Candidate Experience

A great candidate experience can significantly influence recruiting great talent to your organization. Although it’s easy to understand the importance of excellent customer experience, many businesses miss how essential improving the candidate experience of new hires and the recruiting process are for their company’s success.

At MatchBuilt, we’ve helped onboard hundreds of candidates with countless clients, and here we’ll share some of the best ways to improve the candidate experience as you source, interview, hire, and onboard great people to your team.

If you want to improve your recruiting process to ensure you’re getting the best talent for your operation, it’s essential to focus on and continually improve the candidate experience. You want potential candidates to be eager and excited to work for you. You also want candidates that don’t work out to see your business and industry in a positive light, and a positive candidate experience will do that. Further, you can’t afford a bad candidate experience with the talent pool so small right now.

Below are eight ways to improve candidate experience during the hiring process. Consider implementing these the next time you’re ready to hire someone, and you should start to see great results.

What is the Candidate Experience?

The candidate experience is the series of job seeker interactions with your company throughout the recruiting process. These interactions include any candidate’s communication with your brand messaging, software systems, and employees.

The candidate experience can include your corporate career site, job advertisements, the job application process, communication from your applicant tracking system, the interview process with HR professionals, team members, and leadership, updates about the candidate’s application status, and the rejection letter or job offer. Each aspect of the process can provide a positive or negative experience for a job seeker.

Why is Improving the Candidate Experience Beneficial?

There are many benefits to improving the candidate experience at your company, including attracting more applicants, competing for better talent, improving your quality of hire, and increasing your brand awareness. A negative candidate experience, on the other hand, can have huge consequences on your efforts.

A positive experience for job seekers considering your company has many benefits:

  • Attracting more candidates: If your application process is buttoned up and concise, more job seekers and top talent will finish applying to your jobs.
  • Better hires: If you improve the candidate experience, you may be able to win over the best job seekers ahead of your competitors.
  • Candidate quality: When employers strengthen their communication with candidates, their quality of hire improves because you motivate even the best ones to accept your job offers.
  • Brand awareness: When you offer an exceptional candidate experience, job seekers talk about it with others and write about it online.

why candidate experience matters

How to Improve Candidate Experience

1. Use AI Technology to Start with Only the Best Candidates

If you have a big group of candidates to sift through, it can be hard to find ones that meet your criteria. When you hire someone who isn’t a good match for your business, they will have a bad experience with your company.

The best way to address this is to utilize artificial intelligence technology to sort through candidate applications for you based on your hiring criteria and measurable KPIs. Then, you’ll have a narrowed-down pool of great talent left at the end. From there, you can go into each interview knowing you only have the best candidates in front of you. With the best candidates in front of you, you can also speed up the interview process, which is one of the easiest ways to provide a great candidate experience.

Using technology, you can also set up automated notifications that help keep a candidate up-to-date on the hiring process. For example, they can receive an email when they complete your survey to let them know their application was received.

Then, you can send another email to the candidates you’ll be going through manually after the initial automatic sorting.

Finally, sending out a “no thank you” message to those who didn’t make the cut will leave them feeling appreciative that you were transparent with them. It also allows them to proceed with other opportunities they’re considering.

2. Get Feedback from Your Candidates with a Post-interview Survey

Listening is one of the most important things you can do in any relationship, and a professional one is no different.

A candidate wants to know early on in the process that you see them as human beings, not some numbers on a piece of paper. Don’t be afraid to ask some personal questions and share personal details about yourself to make that connection with them. One of the things you should be listening to is what motivates them and what are their personal goals. These questions allow you to show them how being at your company can help them accomplish these.

Separately, following your recruiting process, you should consider doing a post-interview survey on how their interview experience was. The survey allows candidates to be heard and will help you with vital information to improve your process for future candidates.

Keep a list of points candidates make during their post-interview survey so you have specific things you can work on as you progress with improving your hiring process.

Best Candidate Experience Survey Questions

  • What role did you apply to?
  • Where did you hear about this opportunity?
  • Was the description of the role straightforward and easy to understand?
  • Did the job description match the job opportunity?
  • Did the interviewer follow up within a week?
  • Did the hiring manager answer calls and emails?
  • How long did it take you to submit your application?
  • Rate our career application process from easy to complex.
  • Rate our careers website/job board, from worst to best.
  • What could be improved from our initial application process?

what is the interview process

3. Communicate Clearly with Your Candidates By Having One Point of Contact

In most cases, a team is involved in the hiring process. Use applications that allow for organized group discussions about each candidate instead of tracking information through emails, as these can quickly get confusing.

Part of this is having one point of contact between your team and the candidate. One point of contact prevents any information from being repeated to the candidate and can prevent you from missing important communication to and from the candidate.

When you only have one point of contact, it makes the process far smoother for the candidate since they don’t feel confused about who they need to contact about any questions, and they won’t feel bombarded with the same information from different sources.

Also, don’t forget to let the candidate know who their main point of contact is. Knowing the primary contact helps them feel secure and free to ask any questions they may have since they’re not wondering if they’re talking to the right person or bothering anyone.

4. Tell Your Story to Connect Personally with Candidates

Job applicants need to know they can connect with real people and that the business they’re working for makes a difference in the world. That’s why it’s so important to use the recruitment process to share your story and showcase your company brand.

Your story is your chance to connect with a candidate and show them that there is an actual human behind the company. They’ll also see why you do what you do and your passion for your business.

Sharing your story and mission is also an excellent opportunity to talk about your company culture and show how much you value your employees.

5. Make Job Descriptions Specific and Concise to Eliminate Confusion

In some cases, the job description will be the first point of contact a candidate makes with your company. You want to ensure it’s well-written and clearly describes what you’re looking for.

A job description should include:

  • Location
  • Job title
  • Detailed responsibilities
  • Description of the company culture, mission, and work environment

By keeping it to the basics, a candidate can quickly see whether or not they’re interested in learning more about the opportunity. When you have a well-written job description, this provides a good experience for the candidate.

what is hiring process

6. Make the Application Process Easier by Keeping it Short and Simple

After an individual reads through your job description and wants to apply, make sure it’s easy for them to do so. You don’t want someone to have to jump through a bunch of hoops to submit their application. Keeping the application process short and simple is another crucial point to consider for improving the candidate experience.

In most cases, a simple online form where they can fill in their contact information and upload a resume will be enough to get them started.

The simple application process is also where you may want to include a few other questions to weed out those who don’t make the cut. However, questions should be simple and fast so that the entire application process only takes a few minutes of their time.

Candidates don’t want to feel like they’re wasting their time during the application process, which is why it’s so important to keep this part of the process as quick and straightforward as possible.

7. Be Transparent and Keep the Candidate Updated During the Recruiting Process

Communication is a critical factor in improving the candidate experience for qualified candidates. Being transparent about your hiring process and meeting expectations will help your candidate trust you and want to work with you.

For example, if you know you’ll likely take two weeks to get to each application, state that in the job posting. These expectations keep job candidates at ease during the process.

Then, as you move a candidate through the recruiting process, keep them updated about each step. Let them know when you’ve had a meeting about them and when final decisions will be made so they stay in the loop.

Candidates will appreciate your transparency as this will help them plan when they should start wrapping things up at their previous job or when they need to make other changes in their life, such as moving.

8. Find Ways to Reduce Stress for Candidates During Interviews

An interview must be a two-way conversation to help you decide if you want to take your professional relationship to the next level. That’s why you don’t want to think of the interview only as you see if they’re suitable for the job.

Your candidate is likely looking at tips to nail their interview with you, and you should be doing the same for them. Be prepared to ask good questions and to answer just as many.

Around 78% of candidates say that their experience during this process shapes how they view your company. That’s why helping reduce stress may be integral to improving the candidate experience. It could be your last chance at making a great impression too.

Here are some ways you can make the interview process go as smoothly as possible:

  • Start the interview on time, so the candidate doesn’t have time to get nervous
  • Limit the number of people in the first interview
  • Smile and greet them by name
  • Introduce them to some of their potential future co-workers
  • Offer them a drink or snack to ease their nerves
  • Administer the interview in a more casual environment

Remember that your candidate will probably be nervous, so do whatever you can to put them at ease. By allowing them to relax, they’ll have a much better experience during the interview and will be pleased that you took the time to help make their interview less nerve-wracking.

how do you measure candidate experience

How to Improve Candidate Experience in Recruitment Summary

Improving the candidate experience at your company can have profound results in attracting and hiring top talent. We hope you consider these eight tips for improving the candidate experience and your hiring process. As you can see, creating a better candidate experience is easy to implement, so you can start benefiting from them today. A poor candidate experience, on the other hand, can have terrible consequences when a job seeker exits the process and talks badly about a company.

As an HR professional or business owner, you may be interested in our recent posts featuring How to Make Better Hires With Evidence-Based Recruiting and How to Modernize Performance Management.

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