How to Create a Positive Candidate Experience

At its core, recruiting is all about attaining and retaining talent, and that starts with the candidate experience.

Prospects who enjoy your process will be eager to work with you, improving your quality of hire and strengthening your pipeline. Good recruitment experiences also foster long-term employees, thus reducing attrition. This will improve your bottom line: employee turnover costs on average £2,000 per employee.

Successful recruiting starts with engaged, happy candidates. Here are some tips on how to give your candidates that positive experience from start to finish.

Make every interaction count.

Have a consistent brand story

Candidates interact with your company in a variety of contexts. It’s important that they get the same positive experience and message from each one.

That experience starts with their first exposure to your brand — reputation as an employer, community events, job adverts — and not their first talk with HR.

The expectations you set during the recruiting process also need to align with your brand. Great companies with stilted hiring processes can struggle because they’ve set poor expectations for candidates. Worse still, if the recruiting process doesn’t reflect the day-to-day life at your company, successful candidates will find the transition jarring and attrition will rise.

Optimise your communication

Communicate with your prospects with speed and regularity. Don’t let emails slip through the cracks or leave candidates hanging — you might miss your chance with that person.

An applicant tracking system (ATS) can optimise how you interact with your candidates, with live notifications on prospect activities, bulk email capabilities, interview tracking and more.

Remember: humans talking to humans

Make sure to treat your candidates as individual humans at every point of contact. Any member of your company that interacts with a candidate should be friendly and offer a proper hello, from receptionists to recruiters themselves.

Avoid being overly formal. Your candidates are people with personalities and interests, not just numbers in your system.

Give your candidates the best chance to shine.

Be respectful

In recruiting, the golden rule is a good guide: treat candidates as you’d want to be treated.

Your time is precious — and so is theirs. Don’t keep candidates waiting. If you’re running late, offer them coffee, tea or water. If the appointment is an hour, keep it to an hour. Proper time management is essential for a positive experience.

Be thoughtful during the interview, too. Ensure your interview space is tidy and clean, not full of leavings from lunch. Never eat during an interview.

Above all, don’t wait to read a candidate’s CV until the interview has started. Not only will you waste time, you’ll also come across as though you don’t care.

These cardinal sins of recruiting can turn a candidate off of your company more than anything else by making them feel disrespected. Instead, consider the candidate’s perspective to craft a personalised, positive experience.

Train your interviewers

Your interviewers are an essential part of the recruiting experience. Don’t hang them out to dry.

Provide interview training for your HR workers. Prepare them with all the answers they might need during the interview, including job salary, working hours, parking benefits and any other information relevant to the role.

When you set your interviewers up for success, you drastically improve the candidate experience. After all, this is likely the most significant facetime the candidate will have with your company.

Show your interest

It’s easy to forget that your candidates are interviewing your company as much as you’re interviewing them. If you don’t show that you’re invested in that individual, they’ll walk. On the other hand, when you engage with your prospects, they’re much more likely to want to work with you. That mutual interest will yield better-fit candidates.

Carry the experience through to onboarding.

The candidate experience doesn’t end at hiring. Onboarding should be as engaging and exciting as hiring itself; thorough training improves speed to competency.

Putting thought into the transition from candidate to worker helps mitigate risk of attrition during the high risk period of the first 2-3 months, thus saving you money and reducing your need to recruit. An ATS can enhance your onboarding with features like contract generation and new hire workflows.


Looking for more information? Download our eBook “Improving the Candidate Experience” now to learn how to capture the attention of high-quality candidates and optimise your recruitment experience.

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