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What is candidate experience - and how can you improve it?

Candidate experience

Finding and attracting top talent is crucial for the success of any organisation. While most companies focus on the end result of recruiting – hiring the right candidate – many overlook the importance of the candidate experience throughout the recruitment process.

Candidate experience refers to the overall journey a candidate goes through from the initial job application to the final hiring decision. This article explores why candidate experience should be a priority for your company. We take a closer look at how a good candidate experience can significantly impact your employer brand, employee retention, and save you costs in the long run.

Why candidate experience matters

The candidate experience plays a vital role in shaping how candidates perceive your company. It is often their first impression of your organisation and can determine whether they choose to continue with the application process or seek opportunities elsewhere. To attract and retain top talent, your company needs to prioritise creating a positive and engaging candidate experience.

When candidates have a positive experience, it not only reflects well on your company. It also demonstrates your commitment to treating candidates with respect and professionalism. Investing in the candidate experience shows that you value their time and effort, which can leave a lasting impression. Candidates who have a positive experience are more likely to perceive your company as an employer of choice – and to promote your brand to other potential candidates and clients.

A positive candidate experience increases the likelihood of candidates accepting job offers. When candidates feel valued and engaged throughout the recruitment process, they are more inclined to accept an offer from your company. This can significantly reduce the time and effort spent on re-hiring, saving your company valuable resources.

Picture of engaged employees interacting with technology

The impact of a positive candidate experience on your employer brand

The term employer brand refers to how your company is perceived by potential candidates and existing employees. A positive candidate experience contributes to a strong employer brand, which can help attract top talent and retain current employees.

When candidates have a pleasant, seamless and personalised experience, they are more likely to share their positive experience with others. This word-of-mouth promotion can enhance your employer brand reputation and make your company more desirable to job seekers.

A positive candidate experience can also lead to higher employee retention. Employee retention is a significant concern for many companies, as high turnover can be costly and disruptive. By providing a great candidate experience, you are building a solid foundation for a long-term relationship with your employees.

Approximately 78% of applicants assert that the comprehensive candidate experience provided is a reflection of a company's appreciation for its personnel. And 80 to 90% of potential employees indicate that a favourable or favourable candidate experience has the power to alter their perspective on a specific role or the company itself. This shows that candidates who have positive experiences during the recruitment process are more likely to feel valued and engaged. Which, in turn, tends to lead to higher employee satisfaction and retention.

Learn how Croisette is using Eletive to build a stronger employer brand >

The cost-saving benefits of investing in candidate experience

While some companies may hesitate to invest in candidate experience due to financial concerns, the truth is that a positive candidate experience can save costs in the long run. By streamlining the recruitment process and improving communication, you can reduce time-to-hire and minimise the need for re-hiring. This can result in significant cost savings for your company.

Moreover, candidates who have a positive experience are more likely to refer other qualified candidates. Employee referrals are a valuable source of talent and can significantly reduce recruitment costs. When candidates have great experiences, they are more inclined to recommend your company to their network, helping you attract top talent without spending excessive amounts on advertising or recruitment agencies.

Attracting top talent through an exceptional candidate experience

An exceptional candidate experience can give your company a significant competitive advantage. Top talent is often sought after by multiple companies, and providing an exceptional candidate experience can differentiate your company from the rest. By prioritising candidate experience, you can attract and secure the best candidates for your organisation.

And remember, the candidate experience is not just about the recruitment process itself. It extends to every interaction a candidate has with your company, from the initial application to the final decision. By creating a positive and engaging experience at every touchpoint, you can leave a lasting impression on candidates and position your company as an employer of choice.

9 steps to building a winning candidate experience process

Creating a winning candidate experience process requires a thoughtful and strategic approach. To ensure that candidates have a positive experience throughout the recruitment process, consider implementing the following best practices:

Evaluating and improving your current candidate experience

Start by evaluating your current candidate experience to identify areas for improvement. Solicit feedback from candidates who have gone through the recruitment process and review their experiences. Use this feedback to identify pain points and make necessary changes to enhance the overall candidate experience.

One way to evaluate your current candidate experience is to conduct surveys or interviews with candidates who have recently been through the recruitment process. Ask them about their impressions of the application process, the clarity of the job descriptions, and the level of communication they received. By gathering this feedback, you can gain valuable insights into areas that may need improvement.

Once you have collected feedback, it's important to analyse the data and identify common themes or issues. Look for patterns in the feedback that indicate areas where candidates may be experiencing frustration or confusion. This could include things like unclear job descriptions, a lack of communication during the process, or a lengthy and complicated application form.

Based on the feedback and analysis, you can then begin to make improvements to your candidate experience. This might involve rewriting job descriptions to make them more clear and compelling, streamlining the application process to make it easier for candidates to apply, or implementing regular communication updates to keep candidates informed of their status.

Creating employee personas to enhance candidate engagement

Develop employee personas to understand your target candidates better. By creating detailed profiles of the ideal candidates for your organisation, you can tailor your candidate experience to meet their needs and expectations. This personalisation can significantly enhance candidate engagement and satisfaction.

When creating employee personas, consider factors such as the candidate's skills, experience, and values. Think about the type of person who would thrive in your organisation and the qualities that are important for success in the role. Use this information to create a detailed profile that represents your ideal candidate.

Once you have developed employee personas, you can use them as a guide when crafting your candidate experience. For example, if one of your personas is a highly motivated individual who values autonomy, you might emphasise the opportunities for growth and independence in your job descriptions and interviews. By aligning your candidate experience with the needs and preferences of your target candidates, you can increase engagement and attract top talent.

Crafting clear and compelling job descriptions

Job descriptions are often the first interaction candidates have with your company. Ensure that your job descriptions are clear, concise, and accurately reflect the role and its requirements. Use compelling language to capture candidates' attention and encourage them to apply.

When crafting job descriptions, it's important to strike a balance between providing enough information to attract qualified candidates and keeping the description concise and easy to read. Avoid using jargon or technical terms that may be unfamiliar to candidates, and focus on highlighting the key responsibilities and qualifications for the role.

In addition to providing clear and concise information, it's also important to use language that is compelling and engaging. Instead of simply listing the required qualifications, try to paint a picture of what it would be like to work in the role. Describe the impact that the candidate could have on the organisation and the opportunities for growth and development.

By crafting clear and compelling job descriptions, you can attract a larger pool of qualified candidates and increase the likelihood of finding the right fit for your organisation.

Simplifying the application process for candidates

A lengthy and complicated application process can deter potential candidates from applying. Simplify your application process by minimising the number of steps and streamlining the application form. Make it easy for candidates to submit their applications and provide any necessary supporting documentation.

One way to simplify the application process is to eliminate unnecessary steps or requirements. For example, if a certain document or certification is not essential for the initial screening process, consider removing it from the application form. This can help to reduce the time and effort required for candidates to complete the application.

In addition to streamlining the application form, it's also important to provide clear instructions and guidance to candidates. Clearly outline the required documents or information and provide examples or templates where applicable. This can help to reduce confusion and ensure that candidates provide the necessary information in the correct format.

By simplifying the application process, you can remove barriers for candidates and increase the number of qualified applicants for your roles.

Involving direct superiors in the hiring process

Including direct superiors in the hiring process can have a significant impact on the candidate experience. Candidates appreciate the opportunity to meet and interact with their potential supervisors, as it allows them to gain better insights into the role and the company culture.

When candidates have the opportunity to meet with their potential supervisors, it provides them with a chance to ask questions and get a sense of what it would be like to work in the role. This can help candidates to make a more informed decision about whether the role is the right fit for them.

Involving direct superiors in the hiring process also benefits the organisation. It allows supervisors to assess candidates firsthand and provide valuable input into the hiring decision. This can help to ensure that the selected candidate is a good fit for the team and has the necessary skills and experience.

To involve direct superiors in the hiring process, consider including them in the interview panel or arranging for candidates to have a one-on-one meeting with their potential supervisor. This can help to create a more comprehensive and informative candidate experience.

Providing prompt and transparent follow-up to candidates

After candidates have submitted their applications or attended an interview, it is essential to provide prompt and transparent follow-up. Communicate with candidates regularly throughout the recruitment process to keep them informed of their status. This will demonstrate your company's respect for candidates' time and effort.

One way to provide prompt follow-up is to set clear expectations with candidates from the beginning of the process. Let them know when they can expect to hear back from you and stick to those timelines as closely as possible. If there are delays or changes to the timeline, communicate this to candidates and provide an updated timeframe.

In addition to providing prompt follow-up, it's also important to be transparent with candidates about their status in the process. If a candidate is no longer being considered for a role, let them know as soon as possible and provide feedback if appropriate. This can help candidates to understand where they can improve and can contribute to their overall development.

By providing prompt and transparent follow-up, you can create a positive candidate experience and maintain a good reputation as an employer.

Conducting well-structured and meaningful interviews

Interviews are a critical stage in the recruitment process and an opportunity to further engage candidates. Ensure that your interviews are well-structured, relevant to the role, and provide candidates with an opportunity to showcase their skills and experience. By conducting meaningful interviews, you can make candidates feel valued and appreciated.

When conducting interviews, it's important to have a clear structure and set of questions that are relevant to the role and the organisation. This can help to ensure that all candidates are evaluated consistently and fairly. Consider using a combination of behavioural and situational questions to assess candidates' skills, experience, and fit for the role.

In addition to asking relevant questions, it's also important to actively listen to candidates and engage in meaningful conversation. Show genuine interest in their responses and ask follow-up questions to delve deeper into their experiences and qualifications. This can help candidates to feel valued and can provide you with a more comprehensive understanding of their suitability for the role.

By conducting well-structured and meaningful interviews, you can create a positive and engaging candidate experience that sets your organisation apart.

Providing open and constructive feedback to candidates

Provide candidates with constructive feedback throughout the recruitment process. This feedback can help candidates understand how they can improve and can contribute to their overall development. It also portrays your company as invested in candidates' growth, even if they are not ultimately selected for the role.

When providing feedback to candidates, it's important to focus on specific areas for improvement rather than general criticisms. Be specific about what the candidate did well and where they can improve, and provide examples or suggestions for how they can develop their skills or experience.

It's also important to deliver feedback in a constructive and respectful manner. Frame the feedback as an opportunity for growth and development rather than a criticism of the candidate. This can help candidates to feel supported and motivated to continue their professional development.

By fostering open and constructive feedback with candidates, you can create a positive candidate experience and contribute to their overall growth and development.

Nurturing long-term relationships with candidates

Even if a candidate is not selected for a specific role, maintaining a positive relationship can be beneficial for future opportunities. Keep in touch with candidates, inform them about other relevant positions, and update them on the progress of their application. This long-term relationship building can lead to future hires and positive word-of-mouth referrals.

One way to nurture long-term relationships with candidates is to maintain regular communication. This could include sending periodic updates about the organisation or industry, sharing relevant articles or resources, or inviting candidates to networking events or informational interviews.

In addition to regular communication, it's also important to keep candidates informed about other relevant positions that may become available. If a candidate was a strong contender for one role but ultimately not selected, they may be a good fit for a different position in the future. By keeping candidates in the loop about other opportunities, you can increase the likelihood of finding the right fit for both the candidate and the organisation.

By nurturing long-term relationships with candidates, you can build a network of potential hires and create positive word-of-mouth referrals. This can help to attract top talent and enhance your employer brand reputation.

In conclusion, candidate experience plays a crucial role in successful recruiting. By prioritising candidate experience and implementing best practices throughout the recruitment process, your company can attract top talent, improve employer brand reputation, increase employee retention, and ultimately save costs. Investing in candidate experience is investing in the future success of your organisation.

How Eletive can help

The transition from candidate to employee starts when your candidate signs the contract and continues with the onboarding phase. To be able to continuously improve every aspect of the candidate and employee experience, it's crucial to collect feedback from candidates and employees.

With onboarding surveys, and regular employee surveys, you can gauge how candidates and employees experience their journey with your organisation. Getting realtime insights into the level of satisfaction and engagement will make it easy for you to know what works well - and where there are areas of improvement.

Get in touch with our sales team today to learn more about Eletive, and how our platform is helping HR teams around the world build better workplaces!

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