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11 Effective Ways to Improve Candidate Experience

15 MINS READ

41% of candidates cite lack of communication as the most frustrating aspect of the recruitment process.

Have you ever stopped to consider the implications of candidate frustration? 

Often, recruitment processes are designed to streamline the workload for recruiters or HR teams. 

However, if attracting top talent is your goal, prioritizing candidate experience is paramount. 

But what exactly does “experience” entail in this context? That we’ll get to in a minute. 

And does it really matter for candidates who may not ultimately be hired? The answer is a resounding YES! 

Candidates, regardless of whether or not they make the cut, can serve as vocal advocates or detractors for your brand. 

With this in mind, let’s jump into the nuances of candidate experience – what it entails, strategies for implementation, and key observations to consider.

Candidate Experience

What is candidate experience?

“The first impression is the last impression” – truer words haven’t been said when it comes to candidate experience!

Candidate experience encompasses every single interaction a candidate has with an organization, from the initial contact to post-hire interactions. 

It is more than important to ensure a positive candidate experience as it helps build meaningful relationships, enhances the organization’s reputation, and directly impacts its overall success.

It sets the tone for how candidates perceive your organization and can significantly impact their decision to continue with the application process or look elsewhere.

Negative candidate experiences can damage a company’s reputation and present a major obstacle in the quest to attract top talent. 

A recent report revealed that 52% of job seekers had declined a job offer due to poor experience.

Therefore, ensuring candidates have a great experience is a given, as it not only affects the company’s reputation but goes well beyond.

Let’s take a look at why candidate experience is as important as we make it out to be in the following section.

Why is a good candidate experience important?

Imagine this: after enduring multiple rounds of interviews, filling out lengthy application forms, and receiving minimal communication, a candidate ultimately loses the opportunity. 

What does this say about the organization? It suggests that they don’t care about their candidates, implying that there’s a high chance that nothing will change once they become employees. 

This not only damages the company’s reputation but also costs it its potential future customers.

Furthermore, it’s a vicious cycle!

A poor recruitment process leads to negative reviews, which dissuades people from applying, resulting in a smaller candidate pool and affecting the quality of hire and turnover rates.

Candidate Experience

Here are some more reasons why crafting a 10/10 candidate experience is imperative:

Impact on employee engagement and productivity:

You reap what you sow, and that’s true when it comes to providing a positive candidate experience.

A positive candidate experience not only attracts top talent but also leads to higher levels of employee morale, engagement and productivity. How?

When candidates feel valued and respected throughout the recruitment process, they are definitely more likely to bring that positive energy and motivation into their roles once hired.
This therefore contributes to a more engaged and productive workforce

Reduction in time-to-fill:

One decision can have a domino effect!

A commitment to treating candidates to the best recruitment process will inadvertently impact the way organizations carry out processes – efficiently. 

It’s a double-edged sword.

Not only will it benefit candidates by making it a hassle-free and ideal process, but it also means a welcome streamlined and efficient recruitment process for the organization hiring as well.

This can ultimately help organizations reduce their time-to-fill open positions.

When candidates have a smooth and efficient experience, they are more likely to move through the hiring process quickly, allowing companies to fill critical roles faster and stay ahead of their competition

Cost savings: 

According to some studies, the average cost per hire is nearly $4,700!

Considering such heavy costs, it’s understandable to want to make it an investment that gives returns! 

One way to get what you pay for is by improving the candidate experience, resulting in significant cost savings for your organization. 

By reducing turnover rates, attracting higher-quality candidates, and increasing employee retention, companies can save on recruitment and training costs associated with high turnover.

Impact on quality of hire: 

Candidate experience is directly proportional to the quality of hire

The better the candidate experience, the higher the quality of hire. Word travels fast, and one negative review can have significant repercussions. 

In fact, note that fifty percent of employees won’t apply to a company with a bad reputation. 

Ensuring a positive experience from start to finish can attract top talent and keep negative feedback at bay. 

This, in turn, leads to better-performing employees and positive brand advocacy, ultimately enhancing overall performance.

Influences employer brand perception: 

Candidate experience directly impacts employer brand perception, significantly affecting an organization’s ability to attract top talent. 

A positive experience not only attracts good candidates but also generates potential brand advocates who contribute to positive word-of-mouth referrals and boost the company’s reputation. 

Did you know? Organizations that invest in employer branding are 3X more likely to make a quality hire!

Improves offer acceptance rates:

Prioritizing candidate experience results in improved offer acceptance rates and a larger, more qualified applicant pool

Simple steps like improving job descriptions and shortening application forms reflect your respect and value for candidates and their time.

This thereby leads to positive reviews and ultimately higher offer acceptance rates and a stronger candidate pipeline.

job description toolkit

How to measure candidate experience?

Just the realization that prioritizing candidate experience is integral to your hiring process is not enough! 

Action is what counts, and that happens when you are aware of what works and what doesn’t. 

How is that done? You measure and track the current candidate experience your candidates are subjected to.

Key metrics to track to measure candidate experience:

  1. Time-to-hire refers to the overall time it takes for the recruitment process, from the job posting stage to the stage where the hire is finalized and  made.
  2. Offer acceptance rate is the rate of job offers accepted in comparison to the total number of offers extended.
  3. Application abandonment rate is the metric that gives us insight into the number of candidates who start off the application process but do not end up completing it.
  4. Quality of hire measures the effectiveness of the organization’s hiring process by evaluating and analyzing the performance and fit of new hires.
  5. Overall candidate satisfaction refers to the candidates’ perception of the entire recruitment process, from the very initial touchpoint to the onboarding stage.

The question that then arises is – 

How do you gather such data to effectively measure candidate experience?

  1. Hear from the candidates directly! 

Implement candidate feedback surveys to gain insights into candidates’ experiences at the different stages and touchpoints of the recruitment process.

  1. As one of the most important candidate touchpoints, analyzing the interview process is highly crucial.

Carry out post-interview surveys to gauge the candidates’ perceptions of the interview experience and interaction with interviewers.

  1. Even the ones who didn’t make the cut, make for great data sources!

Conduct exit interviews with candidates who were not hired in order to collect feedback on their overall experience and to understand why they did not accept the offer.

  1. As citizens of a data-driven world, not making use of reporting and analytical capabilities in recruitment automation platforms to optimize the recruitment process and improve candidate experience would be a MAJOR missed opportunity!

For instance, looking at application funnels closely to exactly identify drop-off points and optimize the application process for better candidate engagement and conversion rates.

Candidate Experience

11 effective ways to improve candidate experience

We now know what candidate experience is, why it’s important and how to measure it. But how do we improve it?

Let’s dive into our list of 11 effective, tried, and tested ways to improve candidate experience and thereby enhance your recruitment process!

1. Decrease time-to-hire through AI implementation:

No one likes to wait! Neither a candidate for their dream job nor you recruiters to land your dream candidate!

Get this – almost 58% of candidates expect to hear back from companies in one week or less regarding their initial application. 

However, most candidates end up waiting more than a month for a response. It is imperative this gap is closed! 

Closing this gap is not only crucial to retain top talent but also to ensure candidates do not need to go through prolonged waiting periods during the interview process.

How can this be achieved? Through the implementation of AI tools like AI recruiting software in your recruitment operations. 

AI-powered recruitment software with its myriad of features aids in expediting the recruitment process, through resume parsing, automated video interviews and recruitment chatbots.

They help achieve this decrease in time-to-hire by automating time-consuming, repetitive manual tasks, thereby permitting recruiters to invest time in other crucial responsibilities. 

2. Streamline and simplify application processes:

When thinking of providing the best candidate experience, think seamless, simple, and streamlined. 

User (and mobile)-friendliness is a top priority, especially considering that 92% of people never complete job applications owing to inefficient application processes.

A short, simple, easy to fill out and efficient application form, devoid of ambiguous and unnecessary questions, ensures a hassle-free process for candidates.

3. Personalize engagement with candidates:

Personalization is key to providing a stellar candidate experience! Candidates need to feel valued, wanted, and respected. 

Tailor communication to each candidate in a conversational manner to demonstrate a genuine interest and commitment to them.

This can be achieved by acknowledging and mentioning the achievements by the candidate in question to make them feel seen, validated and recognized! 

It conveys the message that the candidate is being taken seriously.

Furthermore, the value that the entire process adds for the candidates is important. 

During communication with candidates, consider providing educational resources that could be most relevant and beneficial to them. 

4. Provide timely feedback throughout the recruitment journey:

Close to 52% of candidates who were given feedback after the interview, said they were more likely to continue their relationship with the company.

Candidates invest so much time and effort into the recruitment process, and timely feedback is the least the organization can do to show their respect for their commitment and professionalism.

And remember, feedback must be genuine, relevant, actionable and constructive in nature. 

5. Maintain frequent follow-up communication after interviews:

A candidate’s worst nightmare (aside from not getting the job, of course)? Being left in the dark! 

No updates, no clarity about the next steps, no follow-ups, no guidance – these are all MAJOR red flags that can speak volumes about the attitude of the hiring company.

We cannot emphasize enough how crucial it is to provide follow-ups, updates, and constructive feedback after interviews. 

Candidates deserve to know where they stand and what to expect moving forward. 

Clarifying any doubts they may have and giving them an idea of how the upcoming rounds and steps would be is essential.

Yes, it might seem like a lot to take on for a recruiter, but this is where the adoption of recruitment automation platforms comes into play.

With automation doing the heavy lifting, you’ll be left with time to take care of these important nuances that can make or break your chances of securing top talent!

6. Ensure job posts are detailed and accurate:

This is the very first touchpoint, and it all starts here, so why not set the tone right and lay down strong foundations?

Detailed, accurate, unambiguous, and attractive job descriptions are a game-changer! 

Candidates must know exactly what they’re getting into, and ambiguity at this step is unacceptable. 

Being clear provides transparency, avoids misunderstandings and prevents false hopes, ensuring that candidates are well-informed right from the beginning. 

For example, the title should match the job description and responsibilities, while the actual job description should be detailed enough to give candidates a crystal-clear idea of what they’re signing up for. 

Also make sure that your job posts are well structured, written in an engaging style yet in simple language, and very easy for candidates to read. 

7. Deliver a five-star interview experience:

The interview is a critical point in the candidate experience journey that plays a huge role in influencing their chances of getting the job. 

But the stakes aren’t only high for the candidates, they’re equally, maybe even more crucial for the hiring company.

Your starter pack for a great interview process includes a well-prepared, experienced, trained, and diverse interview team.

Offering flexible interview optionsonline, offline, telephonic – adds convenience and accommodates candidates’ preferences.

Do note – comfort and empathy offered by the team alleviate the nerve-wracking experience, making candidates feel valued and respected.

Candidate Experience

8. Maintain transparency in the hiring process:

Transparency is another pillar of a positive candidate experience. 

Establishing proper recruitment guidelines for recruiters to follow and setting clear expectations ensures that candidates are well-informed every step of the way. 

Candidates are major stakeholders in the entire process, and keeping them in the dark is a big no-no.

Providing clear expectations and insight into decision-making processes ensures candidates feel valued and respected throughout the recruitment cycle.

9. Collect feedback from candidates at various stages:

Continuous improvement is integral to refining the recruitment process and providing an exceptional candidate experience. 

Collecting feedback from candidates at every stage offers invaluable insights into areas for enhancement and optimization.

Candidates are your best bet at learning where you went wrong and what you can do better. 

Offering incentives for feedback forms and surveys encourages candid responses and suggestions, and demonstrates a commitment to listening to candidates’ perspectives.

10. Ensure diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI):

DEI efforts are non-negotiable in today’s workforce! Candidates (especially Millennials and Gen Z) care more and are more vocal about societal inequalities, injustices and systemic issues, and are seeking companies that show they care too.

70% of job seekers value a company’s commitment and investment in DE&I  when evaluating potential employers.

A strong DEI statement and a diverse interview panel are essential to attract and retain the right candidates. 

Through your interview panel, you can showcase the workplace diversity and company culture, fostering a sense of belonging and inclusivity among candidates.

11. Be flexible and accommodating to candidates’ needs:

Demonstrating empathy and understanding towards your candidates’ needs is the bare minimum that helps enhance the overall candidate experience. 

Flexibility in accommodating candidates’ requirements can also set you apart as an employer of choice. 

Whether it’s adjusting interview times or providing alternative options, being responsive to candidates’ needs demonstrates your commitment to their well-being and satisfaction.
By implementing the above strategies, you can enhance your recruitment process, attract top talent, and cultivate a positive candidate experience that reflects positively on your organization.

Online Interview

Candidate experience software

Want to pull off the BEST candidate experience your candidates would ever experience? Look no further than candidate experience software!

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) and AI-powered Recruitment Automation Platforms include various features and capabilities such as – Automated Video Interviews, Recruiting Chatbots, Interview Scheduling, among others, that have revolutionized the recruitment process by enhancing candidate engagement and satisfaction. 

They offer countless benefits that help streamline various aspects of recruitment, improving the overall candidate experience as a result.

Finding it hard to picture it do so?

Let us imagine a candidate applying for a job. 

Through the use of an ATS, their application is seamlessly recorded, organized and tracked, minimizing manual tasks for recruiters and ensuring no candidate is missed out. 

Additionally, the ATS, through recruiting chatbots, enables personalized communication with candidates, sending automatic updates on their application status and next steps.

Recruiting chatbots also enhances communication by providing instant assistance and support, answering candidates’ inquiries promptly and efficiently.

But that’s not all! To boost your interview processes (that would traditionally take up to 45-90 minutes), Automated Video Interviews (AVIs) are here to save the day. 

AVIs offer a convenient way for candidates to showcase their skills, knowledge and language proficiency, expediting the pre-screening and screening process, all without human intervention! 

Instead of scheduling and coordinating multiple in-person interviews, candidates can now record their responses to pre-set questions at their convenience. 

This not only saves time for both candidates and recruiters but also allows candidates to put their best foot forward in a comfortable environment. The epitome of comfort, isn’t it?

To conclude…

Folks, if candidate experience has taken a back seat in your recruitment operations, this is your sign to bring it to the forefront and address all gaps at the earliest. 

In today’s candidate-centric environment, candidate experience is a deal-breaker, no doubt about that. 

With countless benefits such as improving employer branding,enhancing candidate engagement, improving the quality of hire, etc., investing in providing a stellar candidate experience is essential. 
For a more in-depth exploration, take a look at our eBook “A Guide to Exceptional Candidate Experience“.

Ready to master the art of crafting exceptional candidate experience?

Candidate Experience

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