Why candidate experience is important: 11 ways to improve it


Rachita Jain


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Before the pandemic, candidate experience in recruitment was not a phrase known to many. But now, during the post-Covid era, when 86% of companies are doing large-scale online hiring, candidate experience has become the talk of the day. On the one hand, a good candidate experience can build your reputation; on the other, a poor candidate experience can destroy it.
Candidate experience report by Talentegy, a candidate experience survey, states that 68.6% of the candidates won't reapply in the company with which they had a bad experience. At the same time, 82% of the applicants will share their positive candidate experiences with their friends and family.
A candidate's experience is now a significant consideration in the hiring process as it impacts your company's talent pool. A candidate with good experience will share his good feelings with others, attracting better talent. At the same time, a poor candidate experience can even lead your organization to a court of law.

What is candidate experience?

"A candidate's experience can be defined in various ways, but the most commonly accepted definition is the perception and feelings of an applicant about an employer and their job application process. It includes all points of contact during recruitment, from the initial contact to the being hired."
In a nutshell, we can say that candidate experience in recruitment is a candidate's entire experience of his journey from the process of applying to onboarding.

Why candidate experience is important

1. To build a robust talent brand

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A candidate's experience can both make and break your talent brand. Candidate experience statistics state that around 65% of candidates drop out of the hiring process after their interview round. It matters how you treat your potential employees, and such substantial dropout numbers can destroy your brand within no time.
Interviews are more awkward for candidates as they are in a more vulnerable position at times. Therefore, you should try to make them more comfortable, so they leave with a good experience. Rather than making interviews grueling, try to make them quality conversations to map out mutual interests.

2. Saves time

Interviewing new candidates every other day is tiresome and frustrating. That is why candidate experience is important, as it saves your time and energy.
Imagine how frustrating it would be that you screened a candidate, checked his background, then reached the interview round, and after all this, the candidate decided to leave due to a poor experience. It can be worse if the candidate chooses to go after onboarding. That is why candidate experience is vital in the hiring process.

3. To attract smart recruitments

Words spread faster than a forest fire, and they spread fastest in the digital ecosystem. People like to share their experiences with other people, and no publicity can be better than the one where a candidate shares his personal best experience with your firm.
With good candidate experiences, you are much more likely to attract the most qualified and talented pool. More than salary, what fascinates the most skilled workers is the fact that they are valued!

4. Saves resources

Writing job descriptions, putting them on hiring platforms, hurling through the tests, and setting up interviews require a lot of resources. And doing them time and again merely leads to the wastage of these resources.
A good candidate experience in recruitment will help you retain the existing candidate and get you more skilled candidates. Therefore, instead of working on hiring candidates more frequently, it will be better if you work on improving your candidate experience.

Ways to improve candidate experience

Best practices for great candidate experience

1. Write clear job descriptions

The first way to enhance candidate experience is writing clear job descriptions that are easy to comprehend. Keep the given below things in mind while writing your job descriptions.
  • Simple language
Job descriptions must be written in the simplest language possible so that nearly everyone can decode them. Avoid using jargon and specialized language. A simple and sophisticated language will do more good.
  • Mention only the most specific requirements
Rather than going on to mention everything, only mention the top needs or must-haves. A long list of requirements will turn away most of the candidates.
  • Structure it appropriately
Follow the chronological order of most to least important. The most significant details must be given in the beginning, and then the latter can follow. Break your long sentences into short ones, use bullets, and prefer active verbs.
  • Always mention the HR
When writing a job description, mention who the HR is. It will bring a personal touch to your job description, making candidates believe in your firm.

2. Don't put and ask for unnecessary details

  • Short and crisp instructions
Long and varied instructions will turn off your candidates, leaving the application in the middle. Simple and precise instructions will suffice.
  • Only ask for files you need
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Don't ask for unnecessary files or documents such as the matriculation certificate, residence certificate, etc. You can ask for these documents later in the document verification process. At the start, ask for the relevant files only.
  • Mark 'required' only if required
Set the required mark only to the items that are required. Otherwise, you will not just waste the candidates but also your time and energy.
  • Don't make it mandatory to answer salary history
Candidates are pretty woke to not mention their salary requirements. And if you make the salary requirements a 'required' field, they might leave the application in the middle without completing it. It will draw eligible candidates away from your company.
  • Design short and clear assignments with a transparent timeline
Keep them short as they are merely assignments, not projects. Give clear instructions and keep a transparent timeline.

3. Make it easier for candidates to apply

  • Easy to find career pages
Most of the time, candidates must hunt down the entire website to find the career page. Hence it would be best if you locate them in easy-to-find places.
  • Logging into your system shouldn't be mandatory
Logging in is a simple yet monotonous task, especially when you need to establish a password that asks for capitals, numbers, or special characters. Those candidates looking for a job are already tired enough; hence, it is better you don't ask them to log in. Setting an option to sign in using Google can be one alternative.
  • Offer easy-to-submit options
Ensure you provide 'easy-to-submit' options for the document you ask for. If you are hiring from AllRemote, you wouldn't need to worry about these things.
  • Keep the entire application process on one page
Everyone hates when they are redirected from one page to another. It isn't easy to go back on a page to fill in or correct details. That is why you must stop the multi-application process and use a single-page application process instead.
  • Short and mobile-friendly application process
Candidates are not always sitting in front of their systems. Hence, a short and mobile-friendly application process is more favorable than the latter. For instance, using Google forms will save data simultaneously. Take inspiration from our application process below.
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4. Follow-up early and often

  • Send an interview invite or rejection update as soon as possible
Nobody likes to be kept hanging; hence, giving candidates an update regarding their acceptance or rejection is mandatory. Do it as soon as you can to enhance the candidate experience. A quick update makes them feel that you value their time.
  • Add a personal touch to the rejections and invite
It is advisable that you add your and the applicant's names. It will make them feel they are in contact with an actual person, not a bot.

5. Keep communication spontaneous and thank them often

  • Always communicate over a phone call
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Messages are a convenient way to communicate, but a phone call is much better. A phone call, however, adds a personal touch and inspires candidates. They feel valued, confident, and connected when they hear a voice from the other end.
  • Thank candidates after each step
You should always thank the candidates after each step. Thank them after the submission of their application in the beginning. Then thank them once they submit their assignment. It adds value to the whole process.
  • Keep the candidates updated
To enhance the candidate experience:
  1. Keep the candidates updated throughout the process
  1. Give them consistent feedbacks and updates to help them reduce their anxiety levels
  1. Avoid ghosting and instead update the candidates at every step
According to a candidate experience survey:

6. Guide candidates

  • Guidance at every step
Guide the candidates so they don't end up doing something that might hurt their chances of getting the job. Moreover, with personal assistance at each step, the candidates will not feel alone throughout the process.
  • Explain assignment instructions over the phone
Instructions for assignments can be tricky, and thus, you should explain them over the phone. Tell the candidates that you are always available in case they have any confusion.

7. Give candidates your complete attention during the interview

  • Arranging everything beforehand
Ensure you are ready with everything before the candidate arrives. It includes reviewing the application, the results of assignments, and booking the room in advance.
  • Arrange for someone to greet and guide the candidate
Be it an online or an offline process, an employee of your company must be there to greet the candidate when they arrive. Proper guidance and instructions are necessary as the candidate is unfamiliar with the place.
  • Be on time
Show the applicants that you value their time by beginning the interview on time. Don't make the candidate wait outside your office or a zoom call. It will poorly reflect on your company's values. It would help if you asked them for coffee or tea to make them more comfortable or inform in advance for delays in case of a virtual interview. Meanwhile, you can explain to them the whole interview process.
  • Be attentive
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Do not multi-task when interviewing someone. Make eye contact and take notes during the interview. Thank them after the interview, and ask the candidate if they have any questions for you. As per a candidate experience survey, 65% of candidates lose interest in a job due to bad interview experiences.

8. If you are not considering them, tell them as soon as you can

Tell the candidates right away once you have decided not to consider them. This way, you won't be wasting their time which they can utilize applying elsewhere. By doing so, you will save them from the anxiety they are going through.

9. Keep track of candidates you want to consider in the future

  • Track down the candidates
The applicant tracking system (ATS) can help track the candidates you would like to consider for future openings. Otherwise, it will be tough to track the potential candidates, and eventually, you will lose them.
  • Ask the candidates to apply in the future
If the candidate's experience highly moves you, you can ask him to apply in future job postings. You can tell them you update job postings on social media, and they can track jobs from there. It will make them feel special and acknowledged.
  • Tell them about other job postings
If your company has other open job requirements that meet a candidate's achievements, then you can tell them. Or if your company will post some new jobs soon, you can provide the information to the candidate.

10. Giving and receiving feedback is crucial

  • Giving feedback
Giving constructive feedback to the candidates goes a long way in enhancing the candidate’s experience in the recruitment process. Another candidate experience statistics, 94% of candidates desire to receive feedback after their interview, as per LinkedIn's Talent Trends report. Structure your feedback in a way that doesn't hurt the sentiments of the applicant. Giving feedback is a statement that you were highly involved throughout the process and that you acknowledge the efforts put in by the candidate.
  • Receiving feedback
Receiving feedback is as crucial as giving feedback. Feedbacks always provide you with insight from the perspective of other people. Hence receiving feedback directly from the candidate's end can help you enhance candidate experience at multiple levels.

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