10 steps to improve candidate experience

Life is a journey in many ways, but a candidate’s recruitment journey is one that can go many ways! From application to initial contact, interview and more; a candidate’s experience can vary greatly and have a substantial impact on the decision from both parties.

Not focusing on improving candidate journey could damage employer brand, with 79% of candidates using social media during their job search, it’s important to create positive brand awareness; which could have a direct impact on whether an applicant even applies for the position in the first place. Having a clear and concise job spec also contributes to the likelihood of application completion, 64% of candidates feel they are provided ambiguous role descriptions which can make a position undesirable. To attract the right candidates this early on in the recruitment process; a positive image is important for both brand and job post.

A candidate can either be sourced through their own means, i.e. direct application to companies or through recruitment agencies, or can be sourced by a recruiter themselves via accessible online CV profiles on job boards and LinkedIn. A positive experience at this initial stage of recruitment will involve ease of application and contact. A company must be easily accessible through online application forms, email or social media. When finding candidates, it is also vital that the role is clearly related to the candidate’s interests and experience. Creating a positive experience this early on in the candidate’s journey will set the tone for the remaining stages and create the right first impression.

Let’s take a look at a candidate’s experience from A – Z, and why it’s so important that it be a positive one!

A candidate goes through 6 stages between encountering a job and being hired, they are; Awareness, Consideration, Interest, Application, Selection, and Hiring. It is imperative that all 6 stages are positive for the candidate; as any negative experiences along the way could mean you lose quality talent, or your employer brand gets a bad reputation.

It’s a millennials’ generation of online sharing, experiences are now common knowledge through social media and online forums, news travels fast via the internet; especially negative news. A survey found that 60% of candidates experienced a negative candidate journey, 72% vocalised it publicly online or personally to their individual network.

With the increasing competition in the labour market for highly qualified candidates, it has become a contest in drawing in high-skill employees through affirmative means; they say, ‘you catch more flies with honey’, and that’s exactly what recruiters need to focus on, making the process as ‘sweet’ as possible!

It is, however, the era of technology, so likeability will only get you so far. With rapidly growing digitalisation and increased competition; achieving differentiation is the best way to stand out to digitally immersed candidates and stay one step ahead in the recruitment game. A digital transformation will not only create a positive image, but also an innovative one; which is vital when attracting quality millennials. Keeping up with advances in recruitment technology is a challenge for many firms, as it tends to be a slow process of integration compared to the fast pace that cloud computing, data analytics and social media evolve and merge at. Staying on top of trends and new technology will go a long way in providing the right candidate experience to the right candidates.

10 steps to improve candidate experience:

  • Organise- Map out all candidate journey activity and identify all ‘touchpoints’, this includes everything from brand awareness, job spec to application, interview stages, job offer and on-boarding.
  • Digital transformation – Make sure you are up-to-date with all the latest recruitment software in order to stay ahead of competition and stay relevant to younger, digital generations of talent.
  • Ease of contact – 60% of candidates quit in the middle of an application due to complexity, it’s important to keep the initial contact stage as simple as possible to ensure you don’t lose potential qualified talent.
  • Personalise – Considering there is a 22% open rate increase using personalised email subject lines, creating an individual experience for the candidate will transform the awareness stage.
  • Job spec – Job descriptions should be clear and exciting; covering the specifics of the role as well as an overview of the position, qualifications needed and a portrayal of company culture.
  • Timing – Job offers are time-sensitive; 57% of candidates feel frustrated during a long wait between interview and offer, keeping the waiting time to a minimum will ensure candidates feel valued and will reduce the likelihood of losing talent to other job offers.
  • Storage and ATS – Having an efficient storage and tracking system is imperative to the background running of a positive candidate experience. This is achieved through high standards of organisation, as well as tracking candidate progress to maintain up to date communication and keeping up with their recruitment stage development.
  • Senior level candidates - Highly-skilled, senior level candidates should be ‘courted’; the hiring process should be focused on the candidate’s career growth and personal goals rather than how they can fulfil the businesses’ needs.
  • On-boarding – It’s important to maintain the positive experience through a formal on-boarding process in place. The initial period when starting a new role is critical in shaping the candidate’s learning and productivity.
  • Communicate – Don’t make candidates feel like just another number in the candidate pile, this is an era of individuality and bespoke treatment; your candidates need to feel like they will be a valued asset to your business and this needs to be emphasised very early on through personal contact and ample interaction.

A positive candidate experience creates happy candidates which means higher job engagement and better internal relationships. Don’t forget it starts right at the beginning of the recruitment stage, i.e. awareness, and doesn’t quite finish until a candidate is happily settled in their new role. A candidate’s journey is directly related to the success of your business, so investing in making it a positive one is an investment in your company’s future.


 New Call-to-action