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4 months ago by Meg Fenner - Jamieson

Creating a good candidate experience and why it matters

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The argument for giving a great candidate experience to your job applicants isn’t really a hard sell. We are all recruiting in an increasingly talent-driven market, and great talent will always have many options as to where they want to work. The way you treat your candidates may be the difference between accepting your job offer or declining it. How you treat them also tells them a great deal about your organisational culture; it is a glance into your company.

So, what is the candidate experience? Essentially, it’s all about how candidates feel about your company once they experience your hiring process. These candidate ‘feelings’, whether good or bad, influence candidates in their decision to apply to your company or accept your job offer.

So, a positive candidate experience will make candidates feel good about your company after they see how you treat them. A better candidate experience might make them want to share their feelings with others, helping your reputation. On the flip side, a bad candidate experience will make candidates lose respect for you, both as an employer and as a brand. Despite this, many companies still get it wrong when it comes to providing a positive candidate journey.

Unacknowledged applications and candidates that never hear back. Overly automated processes and complex application requirements. Poor communication and a lack of useful feedback. Ask any jobseekers and you will find that most have a hiring horror story.

Here are a few tips you can implement to make sure you’re providing a great candidate experience:

Understand your current candidate experience

Try walking a mile in your candidate’s shoes - have you ever applied for a job at your own business, and put yourself through the same process as your candidates? If not, give it a try and ask yourself “how did the application process make me feel?”

A truly great candidate experience relies on simplicity, effective communication and creating a genuine connection.

Giving candidates what they want AND need shouldn’t be all that difficult. A simple application process, with the relevant information provided about the role and the company, is all you need. Candidates don’t want to spend hours completing an online application that asks for all the information they’ve already given on their CV.

Communicate often and always provide feedback

When communicating with your applicants, it’s important you keep in touch frequently and that it’s as personal as possible. Acknowledge all applications, even if they’re not successful – a simple 2-line email is all you need to send, but at least they’ve been made aware and not kept wondering. If someone has taken the time to put together an application and applied to your role, the least you can do is explain that they haven’t made your interview shortlist. Always offer feedback to candidates and, when possible, make it as meaningful and detailed as you can. It’s also important to remember that recruiting is a two-way process. Don’t just give feedback but ask for it too! The responses you get can be useful for improving your candidate experience moving forward.

The recruitment process is a major factor in how candidates form their impression of your company. Unless you're Facebook or Google, most people won’t know what it's like to work for you, so if your hiring team is unprofessional or disorganised, that's likely how your entire company will be perceived.

Similarly, if a candidate has a positive experience during the hiring process, you'll improve your hiring brand, and probably make it easier to get good candidates moving forward.