10 Tips to Improve the Candidate Experience

We know it can be difficult to give candidates a great interviewing experience. There is so much involved in the recruiting process and it has many different moving parts.


Although many businesses agree that candidate experience is critical to their success, only about half believe their recruiting practices are effective.


We need to do better if we’re going to win the war for talent.


This material will help you enhance your candidate experience with practical tips on how to switch up your hiring process and implement a winning tech stack.


Let’s get started.


What is the "candidate experience"? 


Candidate experience is described as a job seeker's view of the whole recruiting process. This includes all points of interaction during the hiring process, such as reviewing roles, applying, interviewing, and eventually onboarding.


By analyzing each point at which a candidate interacts with a potential employer during the process and their perceptions of that interaction, you can optimize your candidate experience strategy.


Improvements can be as simple as an additional phone call with the Recruiter, eliminating steps from the application process, or sending a more detailed interview confirmation email.


Fortunately, we live in an era of technology where implementing these changes is easy.

Why is this important?

Providing a great applicant experience is hugely critical for every recruiter and company.


Candidates who enjoyed interviewing with you are more likely to respond favorably to future job posts and can have a major impact on your career page’s visibility. It can also affect the caliber of candidates you hire, the likelihood of them accepting an offer, and ultimately your ability to recruit and build a winning team.


Top candidates have more opportunities than ever before. Both the Great Resignation and virtual work have empowered candidates and raised the stakes, and many recruiters are still fishing in the same pond. As the market gets more competitive, it's easier than ever to research roles and employers, and candidates themselves are less restricted by location.

This makes the candidate experience essential to being an effective recruiter.


Here are 10 ways to make the experience better:


1. Write better job descriptions.


A well written job description is essential to generating interest in your open positions. Keep these tips in mind the next time you write a post.


Write in plain language: Job descriptions should be clear and accurate. Candidates are not reading your job post to learn buzzwords, rather they're looking for opportunities that could boost their careers. Be sure to use short, simple sentences that are easy to read.


Paint a picture for them: Include a visual representation or video of what to expect if they’re hired for the role. You can link to other members on the team, the hiring manager and provide a detailed description of the tasks.

Include salary range: We realize this is a controversial statement to include a salary range. However, it’s already becoming widespread in states around the country – specifically California, Colorado, and NYC to start. Job posts that include a salary range will get drastically more applicants than positions that don’t. We wrote more on this topic here. Check it out.


2. Be more transparent during the interview process.


Most applicants agree that if recruiters could set clear expectations for the hiring process, it would significantly enhance their entire experience. Being honest, setting realistic expectations and then managing them appropriately is the key to delivering a great experience.


Describe the hiring process in detail on the first call: This helps job seekers to understand the precise steps of the hiring process so that they can plan and prepare. You can let them know that it is subject to change, based on whatever factor would cause that. However, giving them a rough plan is a great start.


Discuss the timeline and expected start date: This helps candidates to plan and confirm if the position is a match. Sometimes, people don’t want to start a new job for a few weeks or even months because of bonuses, major projects, etc. By sharing your expected timeline with them, you will not only filter out the people who don’t make sense, you will also give them a better overall experience.



3. Invest in a high caliber recruiting CRM and software.


If you're a recruiter, you're probably already using a standard recruitment system to get an idea of how things are going.


While these tools work for some use cases,they are lacking key features (like automation capabilities) that are necessary to stay competitive in today's dynamic recruiting market.


The most popular tools will depend on whether you’re an internal or external recruiter. However, you can’t go wrong with big players like Symphony Talent, Bullhorn, Greenhouse, Lever, and SmartRecruiters.


Centralize your candidate’s information. Too frequently, recruiters already have a lot on their plates, so keeping track of several projects, hiring pipelines, applicants, and other details becomes a tough process. You must create a single source of truth - a centralized dashboard that keeps track of all your applicants and ensures you don't miss out on critical events and responsibilities - using high tier recruiting software.


Make email sequences for each step. It's time-consuming and prone to errors to do everything manually, whether you're adding a candidate, moving them through the process,or just reminding them about an interview. This is where your software comes in.



4. Streamline your application process. Less is more.


When it comes to filling out job applications, candidates expect a quick and user-friendly experience. Gone are the days where candidates will upload a resume, and then manually enter the information again just because your ATS system can’t scrape it.


They will simply move on to other companies, with a less complex application process.


This step ties into number 3 but is a great reminder about the importance of an easy application process. Your software should be able to create a simple careers page for you to manage your open roles and make it as easy as possible for people to apply.


The more talent in your pipeline, the more options you have available.


5. Prep and train everyone who will interview candidates.


Your team may have people who are great at identifying qualified prospects, connecting with them, and building relationships. However, not everyone is a natural recruiter or interviewer.


You should coach and train everyone on the line up about how to conduct an interview. In addition to clear expectations, they should be given a list of questions to ask, or the chance to discuss the questions they are considering.


This is because most people new to interviewing worry more about how they're being perceived, so they don't evaluate candidates properly.


A little prep goes a long way.


Along with teaching your team how to interview people correctly, encourage them to be in "sell mode". They need to share exciting details about the position, the company, and what to expect next in the hiring process.


This all contributes to a better overall candidate experience.


6. Provide detailed interview confirmation emails.


Your candidates should receive a calendar invitation or confirmation email that includes as much information as possible about the interview process.


Helpful information like dress code, interview length and the LinkedIn profiles of everyone they will be meeting with can have a powerful affect on the overall experience. It also ensures they are well-prepared and know what to expect.


Additionally, being able to review people on the interview line up can also be a powerful tool for recruiting. Good people, with strong backgrounds, attract other people with strong backgrounds.


Like attracts like.


If you have a high performing team, you want your interviewers to know that.


It’s absolutely critical to attracting MORE winning people.


7. Design a streamlined and timely interview process.


It's important for candidates that the recruiting process is quick and efficient. Do not go overboard with too many rounds, and a never-ending interview process.


We could write an entire section on this topic, but this is generally understood.


8. Provide frequent updates and open communication.


As recruiting teams move to the digital realm, more and more candidates want prompt and honest communication. You don't want to go radio silent on prospects and make them wait days for a response.


“No news” is still news to the candidate whois waiting for an update.


Check in with them regularly, especially ifyou expect delays.


This will help candidates feel valued, plan ahead, and will keep the momentum going. Although the recruiting team is usually responsible for providing updates, the hiring managers need to get involved also. This is more important than ever.


People don't join companies because they love the recruiter.


They join companies because they feel a connection to the hiring manager, the team and the position. The company overall is important too...but it's certainly not because they had a good conversation with the recruiter.


9. Personalize your outreach messages.


Candidates have more options than ever before.


Above all, job seekers expect personalized messages from recruiters about position that are within the realm of possibility.  If you're sourcing new candidates, be sure to review each profile before sending them a message.


Nothing turns them off faster than getting an email from a Recruiter, about an entry level position when they're 10 years into the field.


10. Always provide your candidates with feedback and closure.


Lack of response from employers is the top source of aggravation.


Feel free to send automated rejection emails to direct applicants who didn’t make the cut. However, any candidate that was called in for an actual interview, should be given the dignity of a phone call by the Recruiting team.


If this is not an option for you – then feel free to send an email.


However, the point of this section is to remind you that feedback and closure for every process is ESSENTIAL to a great candidate experience.


Whether the candidate was hired or not, you can build your brand and deliver an outstanding candidate experience by following the tips above.


Transparency, regular communication and managing expectations goes a long way.


Making an outstanding candidate experience requires time and work, but it's well worth it to make your company stand out from the competition.


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