10 Ways To Improve The Candidate Experience
April 12, 2024
min read

10 Ways To Improve The Candidate Experience

Rebeka Meszaros
Rebeka Meszaros

Today's job market is fiercely competitive, and candidates' experience during the hiring process can make or break a company's reputation. Ensuring a positive candidate experience is crucial — not just for the sake of manners but for a company's ability to attract the best talent. Shockingly, 58% of job seekers have turned down offers due to poor experiences with potential employers.

On the flip side, companies that put effort into improving the candidate experience report a significant 70% boost in the quality of their hires. This isn't just about making a good impression; it's about saving substantial amounts of money by avoiding the pitfalls of bad hiring decisions. This article explores ten strategies to improve candidate experience, aiming to make applicants feel respected and engaged right from the start.

1. Streamline the application process

Streamlining the application process is crucial for attracting top talent. Eliminate repetitive tasks like re-entering resume details by using software that pre-fills application fields. Make sure your application portal is user-friendly, with minimal clicks from start to finish. Prioritise collecting only essential information initially, saving detailed work history and references for later stages or to be easily uploaded. Remember, 60% of job seekers abandon overly long or complex applications, while forms with fewer than a dozen fields see the highest completion rates. 

Simplifying your application process shows respect for candidates' time and ensures your company doesn't miss out on qualified applicants due to unnecessary barriers. For example, make sure to avoid asking candidates to record videos of themselves answering questions. This can create unnecessary stress and deter potential applicants — this just adds another barrier to the application process.

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2. Provide detailed and simple job descriptions

Clear, concise job descriptions are the foundation of a positive candidate experience. They should accurately reflect the role's responsibilities, necessary skills, and any specific requirements. To avoid confusion and ensure transparency, use straightforward language and avoid industry jargon that might not be universally understood. Also, there’s no need to list every single possible skill and experience you require. Stick to mentioning the core skills — as agreed with the hiring manager — and add some nice to haves. Be explicit about job expectations, including any non-traditional aspects or potential challenges candidates might face. This clarity helps candidates self-select, ensuring those who apply are better matches for the role. 

Additionally, include information about company culture and values to give candidates a comprehensive view of what working for your organisation entails, further streamlining the hiring process. And, when using AI tools like ChatGPT to write job descriptions, be aware that it can sometimes produce descriptions that are too general, overly comprehensive, or miss the mark. With that being said, it’s crucial to review and personalise AI-generated content to make sure it accurately reflects the role and requirements.

3. Outline the application process

Outline the application process clearly. Let candidates know what to expect at each step, including the type of interview (panel or one-on-one), who they’ll be meeting, and any assessments involved. This heads-up helps candidates prepare better and eases their nerves. Share an interview agenda upfront, showing that you value their time and effort. Additionally, provide a timeline, so candidates can better plan and understand how long the process will take, ensuring they are informed and can manage their expectations accordingly. Taking this approach not only boosts the candidate's confidence but also makes the process more transparent, setting the stage for a more meaningful and productive interview. Plus, clear communication about what lies ahead can greatly improve how candidates view your company, turning even those not selected into potential future applicants or brand advocates.

4. Limit the number of interview rounds

A recent study found that 78% of candidates would drop out of a long and complex interview process, underscoring the need for a streamlined approach. Keep interview rounds to a minimum, focusing on essential assessments of skills, team fit, and company culture. This not only prevents candidate frustration but also reduces the risk of losing top talent to other offers. By making the interview process more efficient, you signal your company values candidates' time and commitment. With that being said, overdoing it with repetitive interviews can make your company seem unsure and inexperienced in hiring, which can turn off potential hires. An efficient process demonstrates you respect candidates’ commitments and shows that you know how to evaluate candidates. 

5. Offer constructive feedback 

Offering feedback promptly is more than just good manners; it significantly influences candidates' perceptions and future decisions. A prompt response with constructive feedback — if requested by the applicant — shows candidates they're valued, even if they're not the perfect fit this time. This approach not only benefits their professional growth but also boosts your company's image. Indeed, talent is four times more likely to reapply if they receive constructive feedback, and 78% view the candidate experience as reflective of the company's employee value. 

6. Simplify assessments and tests

Trim down on preliminary tests and assessments. A common grievance among applicants is the requirement to undergo numerous tests before even talking to HR, only to discover later that the role offers a disappointing salary. Make sure these evaluations are reserved for genuinely interested candidates who are aware of what the job offers, and thus prevent dropouts in the process. Making these adjustments will show that you respect candidates' time and ensure that any tests given are genuinely useful for assessing suitability for the role. To avoid discouraging promising candidates right from the start, consider offering compensation for longer assessments that reflect actual work. This approach shows candidates that their time is valued and turns a hurdle into a positive step, as well as shows respect for their skills and benefits your company.

7. Send rejection letters as soon as possible

Sending rejection letters promptly is crucial. Companies should make this a priority immediately after a decision has been made. Adhering to clear timelines for each step of the hiring process not only demonstrates respect for applicants' time but also facilitates their ability to move on swiftly if not selected. This approach underscores a company's efficiency and respect for candidates. Notably, 80% of candidates are less likely to consider other opportunities at a company that fails to notify them of their application status. Conversely, those informed about their status are 3.5 times more likely to apply for another role within the same organisation, underscoring the importance of timely communication.

8. Personalise the candidate experience

Making the candidate experience more personal goes a long way. Address candidates by name in emails and give feedback that’s specific to their interview performance. This can change how they view the entire hiring process. Small acts, like a thank-you email post-interview or flexible scheduling, show you’re considering their time and effort seriously. It’s these details that can leave a lasting positive impression, painting your company as one that truly cares about its people. Candidates often feel alienated by generic and impersonal processes, which highlights the need for a more tailored approach.

9. Avoid ghosting candidates

Companies should implement a systematic approach for timely communication with candidates to avoid ghosting. This includes setting up automated responses to acknowledge application receipts, providing updates after each interview round, and promptly sending out rejection notifications once decisions are made. Utilising an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) can facilitate this process, ensuring every applicant receives a status update, regardless of their progress in the hiring funnel. For instances where hiring timelines extend unexpectedly, a quick email or call to inform candidates of the delay and when they can expect the next update is crucial. With 77% of job seekers reporting being ghosted, adopting these practices may enhance the candidate experience and bolster the company's reputation for professionalism and respect.

10. Regularly review and update the hiring process

To keep the hiring process streamlined and inviting, it's crucial for businesses to continuously evaluate and refine their recruitment tactics. By integrating audits at regular intervals, companies can identify and eliminate inefficiencies or outdated approaches that might dissuade highly qualified candidates. This process should include gathering and acting on feedback from all candidates, whether they were hired or not, to pinpoint specific areas for improvement. Adjustments could range from streamlining application forms to cutting down unnecessary interview rounds or enhancing communication clarity and speed. 

This active pursuit of improvement, guided by candidate feedback, not only boosts the hiring process's effectiveness but also significantly uplifts the overall candidate experience. The ramifications of a subpar candidate experience ripple out, affecting your company's public image as an employer. With 35% of candidates likely to share negative experiences online and 60% inclined to post positive reviews, optimising your recruitment process can have profound effects on your employer brand, attracting more top-tier talent.

Key takeaways

Fine-tuning the candidate experience is crucial for attracting the best talent. How can we make application steps simpler and communication clearer? By valuing candidates' time and listening to their feedback. Incorporate the above strategies, and your company may dramatically improve hiring outcomes and as well as create a more desirable image. 

Utilising specialised platforms like WeAreDevelopers offers companies direct access to a focused audience of tech professionals. This approach not only streamlines the hiring process but ensures job ads reach the right candidates, making recruitment efforts more effective. Are you ready to stand out with your tech roles? 

Check out our IT recruiting services and discover how we can elevate your hiring process. We’re the largest, and most trusted community of developers in Europe, where everyone is looking for their next opportunity.


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