What is Candidate Experience and How To Create a Great One?

Are you having trouble finding the right people for the open positions in your company?  

Has the pandemic made it easier for you to find talent from other cities or countries? Or has it made it more difficult to narrow down the selection process and find reliable, dedicated employees?  

It all comes down to providing the right experience for applicants. Regardless of how many other options potential employees have, if you approach them with the right attitude and strive to provide a good job application process, you will have an advantage over other companies' HR departments 

The good news is backed up by numbers. According to Finances Online’s statistics on candidate experience, 75% of personnel who are employed by their organizations were persuaded to go for the job as a result of the positive experience during the application. 

In general, a business is more likely to attract the best talent if the candidate experience offered is competitive. So let us look at the key aspects of the job seekers' experience, its importance, and what you can do to improve it. 

What Exactly is Candidate Experience? 

Let us break down this familiar buzzword. When considering candidate experience, it all comes down to the overall experience of the job seekers during a company's hiring procedures. This is not just about how the organisation communicates with the job candidates during the recruitment process. This term encompasses the full range of feelings, attitudes, and viewpoints that result from the applicant's experience prior to screening, through an interview process, communication, to a negative response or acceptance, and onboarding. 

We are currently in the era of the employee marketplace, as workers in many industries are free to choose between many offers. A positive candidate experience will determine how a company sells its culture to a potential employee. This experience is important for both parties. It is essential to treat applicants for different positions, trainees or workers, equally. 

The applicant's experience becomes comfortable, easy and enjoyable when the recruiting process is well thought out and aligned with a good organizational culture. Below are the areas that are part of a good candidate experience. 

  • Wording and aesthetics of an employment advertisement   
  • Confirmation of receiving a CV, feedback 
  • Communication 
  • Interview Process, Tests, Evaluations 
  • Pre-screening 
  • Negative Answer / Positive Answer 
  • Pre-boarding 
  • Onboarding  

Why is Candidate Experience so Crucial?  

Why? It's simple to see. Disappointing and disrespectful recruiting experiences can negatively impact a company's overall ability to hire talented people. First, a poor or overly lengthy job description will discourage professionals from applying, and a lack of information about the job application process, admissions, or lack of communication in the event of rejection all contribute to a failed employer brand. People who are frustrated are more likely to leave negative reviews than pleasant ones. Therefore, it is important to enrich the candidate experience. 

These are not just empty words; they are backed up by numbers. According to a LinkedIn survey, 27% of job seekers advise against applying for a job with such a company after a poor candidate experience.  

A job seeker is much more inclined to accept a job offer from a firm if they have had a good experience with the candidate. Given that workers today have multiple options, companies must strive to provide a welcoming and enticing hiring process to attract candidates. Why risk an ineffective hiring strategy that results in losing a talented candidate rather than invest in one that would generate significant revenue and enhance processes? 

A positive brand image is shaped in the minds of both employees and customers as a result of a successful candidate. Employer branding is important to attract new talent to the company, but also to retain current employees who may reapply in the future after having a positive experience and feeling well treated. For future clients, your reputation and brand image are equally important as they serve as a benchmark. Clients are more likely to prefer the services of a company known for its moral behaviour than one that has come under criticism for poor treatment of its employees or new hires. Applicants who have had positive hiring experiences can essentially act as advocates for your brand. 

How to Improve Your Candidate Experience? - 8 Best Ways for a Great Hiring Experience 

We all know that companies lose a lot of potentially talented individuals because the application process is neither optimized nor user-friendly. But what can be done about it?  

Below is our handy guide with helpful tips on how to step up the candidate experience so that it does not require additional costly resources or unnecessary changes. It's actually quite simple - the well-designed hiring process and communication are the fundamentals here.  

Make a career page that is inspirational and displays your corporate culture 

Before they begin the application process, potential employees often research the company they would be interested in. They look at the official website and blog to find out if the company is a good fit for them. Based on the corporate culture, brand, values, and attitude toward employees, they evaluate the potential employer. That's why it’s vital to make an effort to design and maintain a unique, eye-catching, yet professional website filled with quality content and quality. 

Carefully consider the claims made in job advertisements 

The job description must be eye-catching yet accurate. Make sure job postings include enough details about the position, such as expected salary, responsibilities, and perks. Do not focus on euphonious but meaningless phrases that do nothing but entice potential employees. Be sure to include the hiring process or the need for additional documentation, such as a portfolio or completion of the recruitment task. The more relevant details, the better. Write clear job descriptions that will attract the best candidates.

Keep up with deadlines to avoid poor candidate experience

It is very important to respect the candidate's time. For the professionals at HR, communication with job applicants should be a priority throughout the recruitment process. No one likes to be ignored two months after the in-person interviews. So be sure to let applicants know if there are delays at any point. The industry standard needs to be sending a notification after the application is received, whether it is a positive or negative response – equality and respect are the keys here. It is better to allow a longer, but reasonable, time for response than to rely on shaky and unreliable communication. 

Make your recruitment process fun and engaging  

Gamification in recruitment can be a hit here. Do not be afraid to invest in a gamification-based solution - test interactive games and surveys for candidates that ask for their practical knowledge in unusual, engaging ways. This is your chance to attract a valuable talent pool, reduce the workload of HR professionals, and find the right people for the open positions - and those who will stay with the company for the long term. Challenges, quests or contests - the choice is really wide. 

Establish clear expectations right off the bat  

Very often, all the effort and dedication you have put into recruiting is for nought if you hire employees who expect something different than what you can offer. The reason for this is often unclear or changing responsibilities once the job starts. Specify the exact requirements and scope of the job, so you do not have any regrets or frustration on either side - and you do not waste more resources re-initiating the hiring process. No one wants to be deceived or misled, wouldn't you agree? And if the scope of daily tasks changes later, remember to mention this in the job description. 

Send out personal communications in a friendly manner 

Cold and official information about the next steps in the hiring process is one of the worst features of modern recruiting process. To boost the candidate experience, avoid this traditional form of communication. When a candidate receives warmer, more direct messages, they feel wanted and respected and are more likely to choose your company - because they are spoiled for choice, let us face it. Putting the language in a personal form can only benefit you - satisfied employees, a good reputation, and branding. 

Care about candidate feedback and respect at all times 

There's nothing worse than voicing your frustrations online. And these feelings are unfortunately often experienced when job applications are rejected. Consider always sending feedback to applicants, even if they do not advance to the next stage. Include an assessment of the rejection or additional constructive reasons for the rejection. Sending an email with a link to a hiring process evaluation survey is another smart move. An applicant should express their feelings via a survey rather than vent it online, right? Measure candidate experience to benefit the employer brand.

Commit to the onboarding that makes a difference 

Provide proper and structured onboarding to the applicants who got lucky and successfully passed all stages of the hiring process. It's important to take care of new hires and show them from the start that the company cares about them and will not leave them alone - this also impacts and contributes to a positive candidate experience. Buddies, guidance, clear processes, and tasks to do or prepare in the first days - all of this matters. 

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Positive Candidate Experience at Your Fingertips – Make The Hiring Process Count 

It does not have to be difficult or costly to provide applicants with a fantastic experience. Review your current hiring practices and change the way you look at candidate feedback, communication, and brand messaging. Improve your candidate experience today.

Applicants today should be treated with courtesy and respect. The best way to achieve that is to complement the hiring process with gamification. A gamified hiring tool can speed up the applicant selection process, assess qualified candidates in a useful and engaging way, and save time for both HR and new employees and managers. If you need some guidance on that matter, our specialists will be delighted to help you out.