Attracting, inspiring and retaining suitable professionals for your company have become important new tasks for your HR managers. Thereby the candidate experience plays a decisive role in the whole application process, because negative experiences for candidates can have a major impact on the recruitment process and on the overall success of the company.

Unhappy candidates are more likely to turn down your job offer, never apply for an open position in your company again and encourage others not to apply. These results are damaging for your HR recruitment process and your company’s reputation.

While a positive candidate’s experience, on the other hand, leads to enormous long-term advantages – like a good brand reputation, more applications and higher quality of hiring, which also leads to lower costs per hire and less time spent filling each vacancy. Therefore, a positive candidate experience is a real competitive advantage!

But what exactly does candidate experience mean?

A “candidate experience” describes the sum of experiences and perceptions that a candidate or potential employee gains during the hiring process with your company. From selection and sourcing, screening, interviews, hiring and finally onboarding. Every interaction a candidate has with your company during any of these phases affects the candidate’s experience.

Here are some first steps to improve your candidate experience:

In principle, HR should offer an exceptional experience at every stage of the application process. Some touch points are:

  1. WRITE A CLEAR JOB DESCRIPTION, because it is one of the most important job-related content that candidates are looking for. Try to be precise about the position and responsibilities. A clear salary range, benefits and company-specific characteristics are also very important.
  2. IMPROVE YOUR CAREER SITE! This is often underestimated, but according to research it is the most visited recruitment site. Candidates find the information they need here and are convinced by the company’s web presence. Take the chance, communicate your value proposition, build the brand and make sure you communicate a unique candidate experience.
  3. ENABLE AN EASY APPLICATION PROCESS! Candidates invest time in their applications (3 to 4 hours) and the dropout rate is very high, if you provide a complex and detailed procedure. This also applies to candidates, who are not really sure if they want to change jobs. Have you ever really looked at what you are asking job seekers to do? Test your own application process and try to keep it as simple and short as possible. For example, leave out cover letters. You should also clearly place a career button on the homepage. This is proven to reach more potential applicants.
  4. BE TRANSPARENT ABOUT YOUR RECRUITMENT PROCESS. Expectation management is always very important. Talk about how the recruitment process works – this not only reduces nervousness among applicants, but also makes them feel valued if they know what the individual steps are and how long it takes.
  5. INFORM CANDIDATES ABOUT NEWS AND RESPECT THE TIME OF THE CANDIDATES! Candidates spend a lot of time researching, preparing their resume, application, and the interviews. Therefore, they deserve the appreciation that you respond to their applications as quickly as possible. Have email templates ready for each application phase – it’s quick and not a hassle.
  6. PREPARE FOR THE INTERVIEWS AND PROVIDE FEEDBACK. Ask great interview questions and offer the candidates the chance to learn also more about your corporate culture. Furthermore, constructive feedback is extremely important for candidates to improve their professional skills.
  7. KEEP THE CANDIDATE RELATIONSHIP ALIVE! The relationship to the candidate does not end if you decide not to hire him or her. Candidates who don’t make it to this position may be perfectly suited for other vacancies. Build up your own talent pool, a gold mine for future vacancies, as you can significantly shorten the hiring time with such a tool.

How do you measure your candidate experience?

Measuring and analysing the current candidate experience is the first step towards a long-term improvement. Key recruiting metrics include career site conversion rates, e-mail response rates, conversion rate, time to hire, hires per source, offer acceptance rates and direct candidate feedback about the hiring process. With such measures, you can stand out among your competitors and make a wonderful impression on candidates.

If you have any questions on how to improve your candidate experience, please contact our MD Marie (