How to create and provide a positive candidate experience 

The job market is more candidate-driven than ever before. Irrespective of sector or size, attracting and recruiting the best people in the market is a challenge for businesses and that’s never been truer than it is now. 

The best candidates are in such high demand that many have multiple options to choose from and the bargaining power lies in their hands. 

To combat his, companies are having to pay over the odds, increase their benefits and offering more equity or stock in order to overcome the challenges they’re facing and secure top talent.  

Yet, while this may be an option for some, many are reassessing their recruitment processes and focusing on how best to maximise their candidates’ experience. 

 

Why is candidate experience important? 

 The way candidates engage with potential employers and what they want from their employer has changed, not least since early 2020. 

The workforce wants to feel valued, trusted and supported by their employer and companies can use the recruitment process as an invaluable way of demonstrating who they are to potential new recruits. 

Covering the entire journey, from initial application right through to job offer, the candidate experience has a huge bearing on whether a candidate chooses to join or not. Every interaction can positively or negatively impact their decision-making, so a well thought out recruitment process is essential.  

The candidate experience covers the whole recruitment process from the initial application to the potential job offer. Every interaction a potential candidate has with a business can positively or negatively impact their decision to join.  

Therefore, to attract the best talent, every stage of this process needs to be well thought out and every action carried out with the candidate in mind.  

How can you create a positive candidate experience? 

 

1. Develop a simple, effective recruitment process 

Ask yourself whether you could be missing out on securing the best people because your process is too long, it includes one too many stages or multiple teams need to be involved in it. 

Recruitment processes can be very time consuming for potential candidates, with many businesses having multiple stages which can be deemed unnecessary. Multiple interviews asking the same questions can not only be off-putting to candidates, but it also makes a business appear to be disorganised.  

2. Ensure regular communication 

All candidates long for regular communication, to be kept in the loop and to know where they stand throughout the process. 

So, it’s important to set expectations on when they should hear from your company and how long each stage of the process should take. 

 Equally, it’s crucial that you adhere to what you have said. If a candidate is expecting a response by a certain date, they need to receive this response by that date. By standing by what you’ve said, you’re demonstrating that your company is reliable.  

Overcommunicating will be far more appreciated than radio silence. 

 

3. Re-evaluate your job descriptions and adverts 

To engage the best talent and create excitement about potentially joining the company, demonstrating what you’re about as a business, what makes you unique and where your core values lie is essential. 

Simply creating a long list of day-to-day tasks isn’t enough anymore, and it’s as much about you telling them why YOU think they should work for you as much as why they think they should. 

Candidates want clarity on what’s expected of them in the first month, 6 months, year etc. and what support they’ll get along the way. This clarity will mean they go into the process with a better understanding of the role they’ll be able to play and the impact they can have. 

This goes a long way to creating engagement, interest and buy-in at the early stages of the hiring process. 

 

4. Continuously review and learn 

Taking stock of what’s working on a regular basis (e.g., every 6 or 12 months) is a great way to ensure you’re delivering the best candidate experience you can. 

What’s important to the modern workforce and what they expect from their next employer is changing all the time, so being adaptable and open to change won’t compromise your ability to recruit top talent.

Asking candidates to give you feedback can help you to improve too. Using this information to make changes and keep developing your process to provide a positive candidate experience is important because it gives you an objective look at what it’s like to apply for a job with your company from an unbiased perspective. 

 

Any tweaks or changes don’t have to be ground-breaking, but at a time where the best candidates in the market have more opportunities than ever before, placing their experience at the heart of hiring strategies could see companies overcome some of the recruitment challenges they face.