What is candidate experience and how to improve it

Candidate experience
Candidate experience is the opinion that a candidate forms about your company during the recruitment process. All steps in the recruitment process, right from the application to the job offer, can influence the candidate’s experience. Let’s learn why this is important and how you can improve it.

Why is candidate experience important?

Even though it is an employer’s market right now, it is still important to deliver a stellar candidate experience for the following reasons:

1. Helps in talent acquisition

In terms of advantages, this one is the most crucial. A candidate’s journey gives a glimpse into working at your company which can influence the job offer acceptance rate. Not only that, applicants with a positive candidate experience are more likely to apply again or encourage others to apply. This can give you a competitive advantage and attract passive candidates. 

2. Is critical for your employer brand

Every candidate that you interact with is an opportunity for you to establish your employer’s brand. Both positive and negative candidate experiences can crop up in online reviews which can help or harm your employer’s brand. 

3. Can affect your revenue

Candidates are often users of your products/services. So, a bad candidate experience can cause you to lose a customer. According to a Deloitte research, a bad candidate experience can change a candidate’s opinion about a company they earlier liked. Moreover, if the candidate shares their review with friends or online, it can cause more substantial damage.

How to improve candidate experience?

To begin, become aware of the status quo. Think like a candidate and go through each step of your recruitment process. While doing so, you can use the following steps as a checklist:

1. Candidate experience before and during the job application procedure

– Have a good employer brand

Before candidates dive into the application process, they check out company reviews, social media presence, and company website. All of this comprises your employer brand. So make sure that your employer brand is sending out a message that resonates with the candidates you are trying to attract. 

For example, Spotify has a dedicated space where interested candidates can learn everything about their hiring, from open positions to intern podcasts.

– Finding your careers page shouldn’t feel like a treasure hunt

Your career page shouldn’t be buried in some other web page. Make sure that it’s a separate section on your website and is easy to find.

Besides making it easy for candidates to find your career page, you can use them to give a sneak peek into different roles and company culture. For instance, the career page at Hubspot – 

You can also consider giving a job alerts option for candidates who may want to apply but can’t find the right fit at the time being.

– Write a clear job description

Craft a job description that would make you want to apply for the job. Do a job analysis, write clearly and concisely, and mention the salary and benefits.

For more job description tips, read How to write a job description that attracts the right candidates.

– Keep the application procedure simple and efficient

If your job application procedure consists of a login followed by 10 steps before submitting the application, then you may be guilty of creating job application nightmares.

In an age where human beings have the attention span of a goldfish, making candidates go through too many loops is a sure-shot way of dissuading the best candidates.

Review your existing set of questions and keep only the most important questions. You can also experiment with the format by asking for a video application.

– Make it mobile-friendly

Another way to make the application process easy as a pie is to allow candidates to apply through their smartphones as many job seekers use smartphones to search for jobs. This can also be a great way to attract passive candidates.

– Send acknowledgement emails for applications

Although acknowledgement emails are quite basic, they can play a role in gaining the trust of an applicant. This shows that you care about the effort that the candidate has put in to apply for the position. 

Once the application procedure is carried out from the candidate’s end, you should update them on the status of their application. 

Here’s how you can send an email to both rejected and selected candidates:

– Sending a rejection email

Begin by thanking them for their time and effort. Next, mention why they weren’t selected. You could also mention if they might be a good fit in the future. Finally, end with wishing them good luck.

Create a template to make the process easier for your team, but make sure it still reads like it’s written by a human being. Extra brownie points if the email is sent by an actual recruiter’s email address rather than a generic company address.

– Sending a selection email

Congratulate them on reaching the next stage and then get into the details of it. Inform them about the next steps, such as assignments, assessments, or interviews. Make sure that you are approachable if they have any doubts about the process. You can also set up a FAQs page for the most common questions.

Once the candidates have completed this step, make sure you send them an email regarding the timeline for getting back about the result.

2. Candidate experience during the interview stage

While the interview process may seem like an evaluation process for the candidates, it is also an opportunity for the applicants to figure out if your company is the right fit. Here’s how you can ascertain that you create the best impression:

– Give them crucial details and tips while setting up the interview 

Besides giving the essentials like the time and mode (phone, video, or in-person), help them with other details such as the name of the interviewer(s), duration, format, dress code, and so on. You can also create a page wherein you give details about your interview process, the traits you are looking for in a candidate, and tips to nail the interview. This can help in relieving interview anxiety.

For example, the career section at EY India gives interview tips to the candidates.

– Make the interview memorable

According to a LinkedIn survey of 14,000 professionals, 65% of candidates would lose interest in a job if they have a bad interview experience. So make sure that you prepare well to create a positive interview experience. Here are a few ways to do the same:

I) Don’t make the candidates wait. 

II) Conduct structured interviews to remove bias.

III) Use the interview to be more specific about responsibilities in the role and the working environment.

IV) Help them gauge the company culture so that they can determine if the workplace is right for them. This can be done through office tours, setting up meetings with co-workers, and inviting them to office events.

V) At the end of the interview, give them time to ask any questions. Additionally, provide a timeline of the result.

3. Candidate experience during the post-interview stage

– Send rejection emails to candidates who did not make it

This should be like ripping off a band-aid. The quicker, the better. 

Despite the rejection, you can create a positive candidate experience by offering to provide feedback. This can help them in their current job search or if they apply again to your company in the future.

If the candidate were amongst the top candidates, you can add them to your talent pipeline for future openings and inform them about the same in your rejection email.

– Ask for feedback

You can send short, anonymous candidate experience surveys to know about each candidate’s experience. This can help you in recognising what’s going well and what can be done better.

– Don’t take forever to make the job offer to the selected candidates

A RobertHalf survey found that 62% of candidates lost interest in a job if they did not hear back from an employer within 2 weeks.

Candidates generally apply to multiple companies. If they don’t hear back from you, they will choose to go ahead with other companies even if you were their first choice. This can hurt your talent acquisition efforts as the top talent is hired quickly when they are available.

Now that you know how to create a great candidate experience, you can put it into practice by posting a job on Fresher Jobs on Internshala.

Image credits: Photo by Edmond Dantès from Pexels

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