In such a crowded and competitive job market, finding and engaging top talent can be a never-ending quest.

But that doesn’t mean there is no solution to this problem.

You can overcome this obstacle by critically focusing on providing a positive candidate experience to your applicants. Wondering how?

We’ve covered everything you need to know about candidate experience in detail here. Read on.

What is candidate experience?

What is candidate experience?

Candidate experience is defined as how a candidate engages with your recruiting process.

Your recruiting team’s reputation on how positively you enforce it can make or break your recruitment agency. We have listed a few components that determine it—

Why is candidate experience important?

Hiring talent is getting tougher with time and recruiters are focusing more on candidate experience because of the tangible benefits it brings.

Here are a few reasons why it’s becoming increasingly popular—

  • Makes candidates more inclined to accept an offer
  • Encourages employee referrals
  • Better job application completion rates
  • Positively influences your employer brand
  • You build a sustainable candidate pipeline
  • Helps you build a stronger reputation in the market
  • Will set you apart from your competitors
  • Provides better Return on Investment (ROI)

If you end up providing a bad candidate experience, your recruitment agency will accumulate some of the worst reviews, negatively impacting your brand. 

Starting from promoting your client as a desirable place to work to laying the groundwork in providing candidate feedback if they are not selected for a role, it’s ALWAYS the small things that add up.

3 key components that define candidate experience

1. Job application

The first point of contact between a candidate and your recruitment agency is the job application.

Whether it’s through your social media platforms or your careers site, a job advertisement that is unnecessarily lengthy will poorly affect your candidate experience.

Ensure that it is smooth, short, and to the point. Also, the job description that goes along with the application should be written appropriately.

2. Communication

Imagine a top candidate not updating you for days on a significant job role that you need to close within a given time. How frustrating is that?!

It’s the same on a candidate’s end as well. How are they supposed to trust a recruitment agency that offers no communication?

Time and again, candidates keep mentioning how all they want from recruiters is better and prompt communication.

The best way to go about this would be to set up automated email sequences or a text message system that updates candidates on the latest developments regarding their job applications.

3. Interview process

Interviewing lets you know your candidates better and understand whether they’re a good fit for the job role. This is why setting up a structured interview process is really essential. 

Talk to your hiring manager and set up a smooth video interviewing process. Avoid repetitive interviews with different sets of people. Make sure you’re respecting the candidate’s time and informing them what to expect.

Also, post-interview, don’t forget to share your honest feedback with the candidates.

5 simple ways how recruiters can give the best candidate experience

1. Use short and professional pitch while approaching candidates

Candidates really don’t like useless buzzwords like ninja or rockstar in a JD. If you’re wondering where all those great ninjas are, they’re probably skipping your job description!

Being pushy like this is a major turn-off for job prospects.

Candidates mostly prefer to be approached via email because they can check it at their leisure. We’ve created several recruiting email templates that you can use to approach potential candidates and clients.

On that note, don’t forget to make a stellar first impression by being professional and ensure that your pitch is clear and appropriate.

2. Update candidates on the status of their application

Did a candidate apply for a job with your agency? Awesome! Now, you have a responsibility to—

  • Send an acknowledgment message to the candidate either by email, phone call, or SMS
  • If there is a vacancy, let them know
  • If the candidate is not a good match, politely send them a rejection email
  • If a candidate gets shortlisted, communicate the next steps in the process very clearly
  • Help them be prepared for what’s coming next

Updating candidates frequently about their status leads to a better candidate experience. Sending an email doesn’t take a lot of time. If you use great email templates and have a good applicant tracking system, you can allocate just a few minutes every day to do this like a pro.

There should also be a dedicated person that a candidate can reach out to when they’re facing any problems. The usage of chatbots on your website also makes a huge difference when it comes to faster communication.

3. Write great job descriptions

Six seconds…

That’s how long a candidate will take to read your job advertisement.

A poorly crafted job description is a major red flag as it often leads to lower numbers of quality applications. 

Writing appealing JDs is really simple if you follow these steps– 

  • Add a clear title
    The job title is the first thing that grabs the attention of the applicants so make sure that it is self-explanatory and clear. Bad example – Tech Lead Good example – Technical Lead – iOS Developer
  • Avoid spelling mistakes
    Spelling mistakes are nothing but embarrassment. They happen when you are in a hurry or fail to proofread, and that’s okay. You can avoid spelling mistakes by using free tools like Grammarly or Hemingway.
  • Write a direct job summary
    The summary doesn’t have to be long. A few, high-quality sentences are enough for the candidate to make the decision.
  • Mention job duties
    These are the tasks an employee will be expected to do on a daily basis. When you mention the job duties, the candidate will be able to make a better judgement while applying.
  • Add skills and qualifications requirements
    Mention the skills needed to get the job done. If the job requires a digital certification like a digital marketing certification, be upfront about it and prevent future heartburn.
  • Mention the salary
    This point is debatable but being transparent about salary is probably the best thing to do from the very beginning. If you’re not mentioning the salary range in the job description, be honest with the candidate when they ask.

4. Make the job application process easy

Make it easy for candidates to apply to your jobs. If you have a website, create a careers page to display all the jobs you have.

Something like this—

Candidate experience- jobs page

Be very clear about what you want the applicants to enter during the application process and do not make them type in repetitive fields which are already present in their resumes. Try and keep it within one page.

The entire job search process must also be mobile-friendly, especially when 90% of job seekers use their mobile phones to look for jobs.

5. Be honest with your Feedback

Just as much as it’s important to give feedback to your candidates, it’s equally important to be open to receiving feedback too.

Even if the feedback about a candidate is negative, make sure you are communicating it with an affirmative tone. Similarly, if you’re receiving negative feedback, rather than focusing on the tone try to utilize it constructively.

Send a brief candidate experience survey to the candidates at the end of the hiring process. This will give you the most well-rounded insight into your recruitment process.

5 candidate experience mistakes to avoid while hiring

1. Creating generic job descriptions

Being precise and clear about the role you’re advertising is vital. 

Highlight the core competencies and responsibilities to attract genuinely interested and qualified candidates for the position. 

Remember, a well-articulated job description is your first step in finding the perfect match.

2. Concealing the salary range

Transparency is key when it comes to discussing numbers. 

Avoid using vague terms like “negotiable” or “competitive” in the description. 

Being upfront about the salary range not only saves time but also builds trust with potential candidates right from the get-go.

3. Prolonged hiring process

We understand that finding the right candidate takes time. 

In case of unforeseen delays, candidates should be kept informed.

A simple update can maintain the enthusiasm and respect of your potential hires.

4. Ghosting rejected candidates

Rejection is never easy, but it’s part and parcel of the recruitment process. 

A message of appreciation can leave a positive impression on candidates who are not selected.

It is also beneficial to keep track of these candidates for potential future opportunities.

5. Lack of engagement 

Securing a yes from a candidate is half the battle won. What follows is equally important.

Keeping the lines of communication open and engaging with the new hire even before their first day is crucial. 

It could be as simple as sending a welcome pack or perhaps a virtual introduction to their new team. 

This gesture not only builds a sense of belonging but also kick-starts a positive working relationship.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

1. How to create a candidate experience survey?

By following these steps, you can create an effective candidate experience survey:

  • Determine the purpose of your survey
  • Clearly define your survey questions
  • Choose the questionnaire format carefully
  • Consider the timing of your survey
  • Pilot test your survey before sending it to the candidates
  • Analyze your results and work on the feedback 

2. What is the role of a candidate experience specialist?

The role of a candidate experience specialist is to ensure that job candidates have a positive experience throughout the recruitment process. This includes everything from the initial job posting to the final stages of the hiring process.

Here are some of the specific responsibilities of a candidate experience specialist:

  • Develop and implement candidate experience strategies
  • Design and manage the candidate experience survey
  • Collaborate with internal teams to streamline the hiring process
  • Build and maintain relationships with job applicants and clients
  • Stay up-to-date with recruitment industry trends