We understand that providing a fantastic interview experience for candidates can be challenging. The recruiting process involves many moving parts and demands a lot of attention.
Although most businesses agree on the importance of candidate experience for their success, only around half think their recruiting practices work effectively.
To emerge as winners in the talent war, we must improve.
This guide offers practical tips to enhance the candidate experience by upgrading your hiring process and adopting a winning tech stack.
Let’s dive in.
What is “candidate experience”?
Candidate experience refers to a job seeker’s perception of the entire recruiting process. It covers all touchpoints during the hiring journey, including role review, application, interview, and eventual onboarding.
By examining each interaction point between a candidate and a potential employer during the process, as well as their perception, you can optimize your candidate experience strategy.
Improvements could be as simple as an extra phone call with a recruiter, removing steps from the application process, or sending a more detailed interview confirmation email.
Luckily, today’s technology makes implementing these changes easy.
Why does it matter?
Delivering an exceptional applicant experience is crucial for every recruiter and company.
Candidates who enjoyed interviewing with you are more likely to respond positively to future job posts and significantly impact your career page’s visibility. It can also influence the quality of candidates you hire, their likelihood of accepting an offer, and ultimately, your ability to recruit and build a winning team.
Top candidates have more options than ever before. The Great Resignation and virtual work environment have empowered candidates and raised stakes. Many recruiters compete for the same talent pool. With an increasingly competitive market and easier access to role and employer research, candidates face fewer geographical restrictions.
This makes candidate experience vital for an effective recruiter.
Here are 10 ways to enhance the experience:
1. Craft better job descriptions.
A well-crafted job description is crucial for generating interest in your open positions. Keep these tips in mind when writing your next post.
- Use plain language: Ensure job descriptions are clear and accurate. Candidates aren’t reading your job post to learn buzzwords; they’re looking for career-boosting opportunities. Use short, simple sentences that are easy to read.
- Paint a picture for them: Include a visual representation or video demonstrating what they can expect with the role. You can link to team members, the hiring manager, and provide detailed task descriptions.
- Include salary range: Though controversial, including a salary range is becoming widespread in states like California, Colorado, and NYC. Job posts with salary ranges attract significantly more applicants than those without. Read more about this topic here.
2. Increase transparency during the interview process.
Most applicants agree that setting clear expectations for the hiring process would considerably improve their overall experience. Being honest, setting realistic expectations, and managing them effectively are key to delivering a great experience.
- Describe the hiring process in detail on the first call: Help job seekers understand the specific steps during the hiring process, allowing them to plan and prepare. Inform them that the process is subject to change, but providing a rough outline is a great start.
- Discuss the timeline and expected start date: Help candidates plan and confirm if the position is a match. Candidates may not want to start a new job for weeks or even months due to bonuses, significant projects, etc. Sharing your expected timeline filters out unsuitable candidates and provides a better overall experience.
3. Invest in high-quality recruiting CRM and software.
As a recruiter, you’re likely using a standard recruitment system to manage your workflow.
Although these tools are helpful, they lack essential features (such as automation capabilities) necessary to remain competitive in today’s dynamic recruiting market.
Popular tools depend on whether you’re an internal or external recruiter. However, big players like Symphony Talent, Bullhorn, Greenhouse, Lever, and SmartRecruiters won’t disappoint.
- Centralize your candidate’s information: Recruiters often juggle multiple tasks and tracking several projects, hiring pipelines, applicants, and other details becomes difficult. Create a single source of truth—a centralized dashboard using top-notch recruiting software that tracks all your applicants and ensures you don’t miss critical events and responsibilities.
- Automate email sequences for each step: Manually managing everything, whether adding a candidate, moving them through the process, or simply reminding them about an interview, is time-consuming and error-prone. This is where your software comes in.
4. Simplify your application process. Remember, less is more.
Candidates anticipate a quick and user-friendly job application experience. The days of uploading a resume and manually entering information again due to inefficient ATS systems are gone.
Candidates will move on to companies with a simpler application process.
This step connects to number 3 but serves as a reminder of the importance of an easy application process. Your software should create a straightforward careers page for you to manage your open roles and make applying a breeze.
The more talent in your pipeline, the more options you have.
5. Prepare and train everyone who will interview candidates.
Your team may have members skilled at identifying qualified candidates, connecting with them, and building relationships. However, not everyone is a natural recruiter or interviewer.
Ensure you coach and train everyone involved in interviews. Along with clear expectations, provide them with a list of questions to ask or the opportunity to discuss their planned questions.
Many inexperienced interviewers worry more about their own perceptions and may not evaluate candidates correctly.
A little prep goes a long way.
In addition to teaching your team proper interview techniques, encourage them to be in “sell mode.” They should share exciting details about the position, the company, and the next steps in the hiring process.
All these efforts contribute to an improved candidate experience.
6. Provide detailed interview confirmation emails.
Candidates should receive calendar invitations or confirmation emails packed with information about the interview process.
Helpful details like dress code, interview length, and LinkedIn profiles of everyone they will meet enhance the overall experience. It ensures they are well-prepared and know what to expect.
Reviewing interviewers’ profiles can also be a powerful recruiting tool. High-performing individuals tend to attract other high-performers.
Like attracts like.
If you have a high-performing team, you want your interviewers to know that.
It’s crucial for attracting more exceptional talent.
7. Design a streamlined and timely interview process.
Candidates appreciate a quick and efficient recruitment process. Avoid too many rounds and never-ending interviews.
We could elaborate on this topic, but the general understanding already exists.
8. Maintain frequent updates and open communication.
As recruiting teams adopt digital tools, candidates increasingly desire prompt and transparent communication. Avoid radio silence and making them wait for days.
“No news” is still news for candidates waiting for updates.
Check in with them regularly, especially if you anticipate delays.
This helps candidates feel valued, plan ahead, and maintains momentum. Although the recruiting team typically provides updates, hiring managers should also play an active role.
Candidates don’t join companies solely because they like the recruiter.
They join companies because they feel connected to the hiring manager, the team, and the role. The overall company plays a part too, but the connection with the recruiter is not the prime factor.
9. Personalize your outreach messages.
Candidates have more options than ever before.
Job seekers expect personalized messages from recruiters about positions that align with their experience. If you’re sourcing new candidates, review each profile before messaging.
Candidates are quickly turned off when receiving messages about irrelevant positions, such as an entry-level role when they have ten years of experience in the field.
10. Always offer feedback and closure to candidates.
Absence of response from employers is a significant frustration.
Automated rejection emails to direct applicants who didn’t make the cut are acceptable. However, any candidate invited for an actual interview should receive a courtesy phone call from the recruiting team.
If a call isn’t possible, send an email.
The point of this section is to remind you that feedback and closure are ESSENTIAL for an excellent candidate experience.
By following the tips above, regardless of whether candidates are hired, you can bolster your brand and deliver an outstanding candidate experience.
Transparency, regular communication, and managing expectations go a long way.
Creating an incredible candidate experience requires effort and time, but it’s worth the investment to help your company stand out from the competition.