How To Provide a Superior Candidate Experience—Comprehensive Guide
Providing a top-notch candidate experience can make your business stand out from the crowd and increase your chances of securing the best possible candidates. Conversely, a subpar experience can have significant negative consequences. It can cause you to lose potential candidates and harm your reputation as an employer, reducing the effectiveness of future hiring cycles.
If you want your business to prosper, you have to nurture your employees—both existing and potential ones. To ensure you always recruit top talent and develop your company in the right direction, you need to take candidate experience seriously—even if that means rethinking your entire recruitment strategy.
What Is Candidate Experience, and Why Is It So Important?
Candidate experience pertains to how a candidate perceives a company’s recruitment process, from the moment they see the job ad until onboarding.
Regardless of the benefits you offer, a candidate is likely to drop out if you leave a negative first impression. After all, how you treat them during the recruitment process indicates how you’ll treat them as an employee.
Negative recruitment experience can have several negative consequences, including:
Missing out on great candidates—Nearly half the candidates who have had a negative experience will decline the offer. Those might include high-quality applicants that match the role perfectly.
Increased time to hire—Candidates are likely to exit the hiring process if they face issues, which means the time and resources invested in them go to waste. With a bad reputation and fewer applicants, finding a suitable candidate can take a long time.
Higher recruiting costs—You’ll need to invest more resources into finding the right candidate due to the abovementioned issues. You’re also at higher risk of making a bad hire, which can be costly (up to 30% of the employee’s earnings in the first year, according to the Department of Labor)
As per CriteriaCorp, a positive recruitment experienceincreases the chances of a candidate accepting the offer by 38%. There are other benefits to consider, such as:
Higher quality of hires
Reduced cost and time to hire
CriteriaCorp also reports that 90% of candidates who’ve had a positive experience would refer others to the company, regardless of whether they were hired or not. A satisfied candidate is more likely to purchase your products or services and advocate for your brand. They’re also more likely to be motivated and productive at the job and identify with the company culture.
Improving Recruiting Experience Through Hiring Funnel Stages
Candidate experience highly depends on how well-designed your recruitment funnel is. Each stage of the funnel is a touchpoint between the candidate and the employer and provides an opportunity to shape the recruitee’s experience.
Here’s an overview of relevant recruitment stages and tips on how to improve them to provide a superior recruitment experience:
Tips and Best Practices
• Post on as many suitable job boards as possible
• Don’t resort only to free ads
• Source passive candidates
• Make sure your job description is accurate, error-free, and informative
• Don’t use buzzwords and vague terms
• Implement a strong branding strategy
• Communicate professionally
• Respond in a timely manner
• Automate the process to save time
• Make the application process short and straightforward
• Ensure accessibility
• Provide support for applicants
• Inform the candidate beforehand so they know what to expect
• Opt for an assessment that credibly reflects the job requirements
• Carefully select your interviewers or train them
• Provide feedback to candidates
• Ask them to evaluate the recruitment process
• Rethink and improve your strategy on a regular basis
• Come up with an effective onboarding strategy
• Provide the candidate with support
• Automate administrative tasks
The first step toward creating an optimal experience for candidates is ensuring they can find your job listing. According to Glassdoor, corporate job ads receive about 250 applications on average. Only 4 to 6 applicants proceed to the interview stage, and ultimately, only one gets the job. That’s why getting your ad in front of as many people as possible is crucial.
Still, not all job boards are created equal. Nowadays, there are many options, from popular generalist sites to niche boards catering to specific industries like IT. Do your research first to identify the best job board for your case, particularly if you plan on hiring internationally. Posting in the wrong place could be problematic, even more so if you’ve paid to promote the ad.
Sponsoring the ad is an excellent way to boost its reach. Indeed, the world’s most well-known job posting site, reports that sponsored ads get twice as many impressions per day on average. They also deliver 30% more applicants than free ads. Advertising in multiple places also increases your chances of making a successful hire.
Sourcing passive candidates through resume databases or social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook is another way to increase brand and vacancy exposure. When reaching out to potential candidates, it’s essential to do so respectfully and non-invasively, or you may deter them from applying.
If your job description is crudely made, it doesn’t matter how many people it will reach—it will most likely fail to attract high-quality candidates. To perform well and grab the attention of the right people, your job ad needs to:
Be free of typos and grammatical errors
Contain all the necessary information:
Compensation and benefits
Basic company information
Be clear and to the point
Reflect your company mission and values
Explain how candidates can apply for the position
According to Skynova’s A/B analysis, over 49% of candidates believe employers typically use annoying buzzwords. While phrases like “dynamic work environment” and “energetic self-starter” might seem innocent enough, they will likely deter many quality candidates.
It’s best to be straightforward and transparent with candidates from the start, even if that means potentially losing them. Doing otherwise can lead to misunderstandings and waste both the candidates’ and the recruiters’ time.
According to Talent Board’s 2019 report, over 70% of candidates will research the company before applying for a job. That allows your employment branding strategy to shine. And if your company is nowhere to be found, candidates will likely become suspicious and decide not to apply.
One of the crucial aspects of maintaining any relationship, including the one between candidates and recruiters, is communication. Unfortunately, it seems to be lacking nowadays. In Talentegy’s 2019 survey, 63% of participants reported that most employers don’t communicate adequately. In addition, over half of the respondents (53%) reported waiting at least 3 months after submitting their application to receive a response.
In such situations, candidates can become frustrated and discouraged, leading them to seek other job opportunities. To prevent that and retain the candidate, maintain regular communication from start to finish.
In its 2017 study, CareerBuilder reported that 81% of jobseekers claimed that “continuous status updates would greatly improve their overall experience.” Instead of corresponding with each candidate manually, recruiters can now automate the process and save tons of time.
Workello has simplified this stage, allowing you to communicate with each candidate in a few clicks. When you change the candidate’s status in the dashboard, you trigger an automatic pre-written response: an interview invitation, acceptance, or rejection letter.
The candidate can also see exactly where they stand by referring to their personalized status page, which contains all the necessary information. Such a system ensures everyone’s on the same page at all times and allows you to avoid all the unnecessary back-and-forth.
Many employers make the mistake of creating a convoluted and unnecessarily lengthy application process. They tend to require numerous documents, including a CV in a specific format, a cover letter, references, and more. After that, candidates typically undergo several more stages, including assessments, background checks, and multiple interviews. It’s a lot to ask of someone who likely won’t be compensated for their efforts in the end.
Although it might seem like a good way to filter out candidates, the truth is—such an exhausting process might drive some of them away. According to SHRM, 60% of jobseekers abandon an application due to its length and complexity.
Instead, the process should be simple and efficient, and the timeline should be transparently communicated to the candidate. For instance, Workello allows you to collect applications through generated links. These require the candidate to provide only a LinkedIn profile link and a brief cover letter. The process is intuitive, objective, and transparent while significantly shortening the hiring process timeline.
Providing support to candidates with questions or problems is also essential for keeping them engaged. As per Talentegy, 56% of job applicants experienced a technical issue during the application, and only 18.7% said they received help.
Assessments and interviews are crucial aspects of the selection process. They allow the recruiters to build rapport and get a glimpse of the candidate’s hard and soft skills.
Since they’re more personal, interviews can make or break the candidate experience. Check out the top 5 reasons a for a positive and negative interview experience, as per Indeed’s 2019 survey:
Reasons for a Positive Interview Experience
Reasons for a Negative Interview Experience
Time was not respected
Transparency around salary and benefits
Job description was inconsistent
Time was respected
Thorough and accurate job description
Lack of transparency around salary and benefits
Adequate communication and feedback
Lack of feedback
The leading contributor to a positive interview experience turned out to be “enjoyable conversation.” The interviewer is usually the first person from the company the candidate interacts with, so they need to be a worthy representative.
For negative interview experiences, the most commonly cited reason is “time was not respected.”Being late or not showing up to the interview can make you and the company appear reckless and unprofessional.
Other major contributors include transparency and communication. Be it the length of each step or the results, inform the candidate regularly on their status to keep them involved. According to a 2021 Robert Half survey, 77% of candidates lose interest if they don’t get a response 3 weeks after the interview.
With automated pre-hire tests and rejection or offer letters, Workello allows you to assess candidates effortlessly without compromising candidate experience.
Feedback can be a powerful tool for both parties.
If you let applicants know how they ranked, they can identify areas for improvement and become a better version of themselves. Even if they don’t get the job, they will have something to take home, which they’ll appreciate. The 2022 Candidate Experience report by CriteriaCorp shows us that 77% of users feel strongly about wanting to receive assessment feedback.
Similarly, you should request feedback from candidates to improve your future recruitment practices. Most employers sleep on this step, though. In the aforementioned Talentegy study, 75% of candidates said they were rarely or never asked to give feedback.
This step is not difficult to implement either:
Include a feedback form at the end of the process
Politely ask the candidate to evaluate it and suggest how it can be optimized
Analyze the candidates’ answers, revise your strategy, and regularly update your process to ensure it runs smoothly
CareerArc reports that only 46% of employers make regular improvements (every 6 months) to the recruitment process aspects pertaining to candidate experience. These numbers are shockingly low considering how valuable this step is and how much it can benefit your company.
According to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace Report, only 12% of employees believe their company does a good job onboarding new people. To make the candidate’s transition seamless and stress-free, you should implement a proper onboarding strategy, including the following steps:
Planning out all tasks and milestones
Providing training and a solid knowledge base
Assigning a dedicated mentor
Introducing them to coworkers to encourage socialization
Monitoring their progress and adjusting the strategy as needed
Utilizing automation, especially for technical details such as paperwork
Using an ATS or CRM for a Great Candidate Experience
With proper recruitment software, you can solve all the problems outlined in this article. An applicant tracking system (ATS) can help you create a fully streamlined recruitment funnel. You can stay on top of all data and easily move candidates through all stages of the process from a single dashboard. When all elements run like clockwork, it leads to a smooth recruitment experience and ultimately helps you secure the best talent for your company.
Workello’s ATS is user-friendly and allows you to set it up within minutes. Utilize our numerous expert-crafted assessment templates and keep candidates up-to-date with live status updates. This data-driven approach will allow you to effectively identify the top 1% of candidates without wasting their time or hindering the quality of their experience.
Sign up for the free trial and leverage all of Workello’s features to create an enjoyable candidate experience and build strong relationships.
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