Creating a positive candidate experience – why & how

As a recruiter or hiring manager, it’s important to understand that creating a positive candidate experience is crucial to attracting and retaining top talent. A positive candidate experience can lead to a better reputation for your company, more referrals, and ultimately, better hiring decisions. A negative candidate experience can lead to the opposite effect – a bad reputation and fewer, if any, referrals. People talk and they share their experiences, so if you treat your applicants badly, word will get out and this will impact your ability to attract talent. Take control now and don’t let that happen.

Every step in the process should demonstrate to the candidate that your job is the right match for them. 

In this article, we’ll explore how you can create a positive candidate experience.

Start with clear communication

Clear communication is key to creating a positive candidate experience. Ensure that job descriptions are accurate and up to date, and that all communication with candidates is clear and concise. Candidates may have questions about the hiring process, so be prepared to answer these questions promptly and thoroughly. Don’t be vague with the idea that, if you leave things open ended, you can change things later. Know what you need first, and then start looking for it. Recruiters can be a key line of communication for companies and hiring managers, keeping the conversation going and everyone updated, so that busy stakeholders can step back and focus on other important areas.

Create a welcoming environment

Candidates will form an impression of your company based on their experience during the interview process. Make sure that your company is presenting itself in the best possible light by creating a welcoming environment. This could include offering candidates a tour of the office when they come for an interview, introducing them to key team members, and providing them with a clear understanding of the company culture. Be warm, and be friendly. Ask yourself how you would like to be welcomed into a new place and create the environment you would appreciate.

Be respectful of candidates’ time

Just like you, candidates have busy lives. And they may be applying to multiple jobs at once. Make a big effort to be respectful of their time by scheduling interviews at convenient times and providing them with clear expectations of the interview process. Don’t draw out the hiring process or be overly demanding. You don’t need four interviews to fill an entry level role – or six interviews to fill any role, period. Try to keep it to two interviews. If you are a company using a recruitment service, keep everyone up to date with time frames and other candidates in play so the recruiter can manage candidate expectations. Recruiters can also manage any interview scheduling changes and ensure that the impression of your organization remains solid. 

Personalize the experience

Working with a recruitment company can help businesses personalize the candidate experience. For example, before the hiring manager meets a candidate, a recruiter can provide them with important information, like what sort of advancement opportunities the candidate is looking for, whether they are an active or passive candidate, and their compensation expectations. This information can help you structure the conversation to gather and share the most valuable information for both of you and help you create a connection with the candidate during the interview. 

Provide feedback

Candidates appreciate feedback on their interviews, even if they are not selected for the position. Providing feedback is an opportunity to show candidates that you value their time and effort. It can also help candidates improve their interviewing skills, which can benefit them in future job searches, and they will be grateful for this. If you have the opportunity to share constructive feedback, do so. Again, recruiters can help with this. 

Keep the process moving

Candidates are often anxious to know where they stand in the hiring process. Keep the process moving by following up promptly after interviews and providing candidates with a clear timeline for the hiring decision. This will help reduce anxiety and uncertainty and create a more positive candidate experience. Leaving people hanging for weeks or months on end is unfair. People have to eat and pay for things. They need to know what is happening and if they should move on to something else. Don’t ghost. Ghosting is one surefire way to make people angry. It’s also just cruel, so don’t do it.

Don’t play games when it comes to the offer

If you’re truly interested in securing the best person for the job, make your best offer. Hiring managers and recruiters should work together to determine how much compensation to offer and what else is important to the candidate. This is a careful balance and you get one shot at creating that great impression at this crucial stage. Make your very best financial offer, not one that makes the candidate feel devalued. Companies should consider allowing recruiters to deliver the offer, not only because they’re skilled at doing so, but also because they may hear some honest feedback that the candidate might not share with the company directly. Personalize the offer and put it in writing. 

Creating a positive candidate experience is crucial to attracting and retaining top talent. By starting with clear communication, creating a welcoming environment, being respectful of candidates’ time, providing feedback, and keeping the process moving, you can create a positive candidate experience that will benefit your company in the long run.

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