5 Tips to Improve the Candidate Experience

By Tom Mornement

Share on: 

Our economy has overcome unfortunate hardships over the last few years and there are now welcoming growth predictions for 2015.

With such a prospering economy, businesses throughout the country are hiring top talent; giving candidates the upper hand. Recent stats revealed by Jobvite show that ‘45% of workers will jump ship for a new job even if they’re happy in their current role.’

Whilst having a larger pool of top talent to choose from is very beneficial for those in HR or Talent Acquisition, it also means that candidates have many more ships they can now jump onto. If your candidate experience isn’t up to scratch, they certainly won’t be looking to join your organisation.

Follow our 5 top tips to ensure your candidate experience is second to none!

1. Carry out an Audit

Carrying out an audit of your current application process may seem like a mighty task but it is a very important one if you want to attract the top talent to your roles.

Put yourself in the candidate’s shoes – it’s all too easy believing your application process to be seamless from a HR perspective, but how exactly does the candidate see it? The only way to find out is to become the candidate!

Go to your career site and apply for a job then ask yourself the following questions:

  • Did you find all the necessary information easily?
  • Was your career site easy to navigate?
  • Could you apply for the job on a mobile device?
  • Did it take long to submit an application?
  • Was it clear what the next steps would be?
  • How could the process be improved?

Once you have answered all these questions clearly and concisely, share your findings with your stakeholders. People to get involved in this audit would be hiring managers, the rest of the HR team, and the marketing department.

Discuss your findings with everyone and brainstorm ideas on how to improve the process. Together you can create some useful calls to action and really improve the candidate experience.

2. Candidate Feedback

What better way to learn about your recruitment process than to ask candidates directly? Both successful and unsuccessful candidates can present feedback on your process because they have experienced it first-hand.

They can tell you the good, the bad and the ugly about applying for a job with your company but remember if you are going to reach out for feedback, be sure to act upon it and make improvements where necessary.

An effective way to collect feedback would be to build a simple feedback form on your website, or use one of the many online survey tools that are available, and share the link in your email communications with candidates asking if they could provide details of their experience with you. Whilst you might get a few disgruntled people making negative comments because they were unsuccessful in getting a job with your company, many will be flattered to be asked.

3. Reduce Lengthy Application Processes

More often than not, the application process can be timely and is likely to result in candidates giving up halfway through and looking elsewhere. A recent Jobvite study revealed that 28% of people said that the amount of time to complete a job application is important.

Ensure your application process is as efficient as it can be. Does it currently require a candidate to fill in a three page application form? Do you really need this or is it duplicating information that can be found on their CV? It may be more convenient for you to have information laid out in identical fashion so that you can compare applicants but if it’s causing you to lose quality people then you need to address it.

  • Whenever possible, remove application forms and go back to basics by requesting a CV and Cover Letter
  • Implement an apply via LinkedIn button
  • Give candidates the option to call you directly to discuss the role

Make the application process quick and easy - going one step further than your competitors will ensure candidates apply for your jobs instead. It’s often possible using whatever analytics software your company has installed to find out where you lose people during their applications on your site, and this can provide some really interesting insights.  Don’t lose out on 28% of the top talent because your application process is too timely.

4. Carefully Select Your Recruitment Partners 

Do the agencies that you work with also provide a great candidate experience? If a candidate is applying for a role at your company they often won't distinguish between applying with you directly and going through a third party so you want to make sure that your agencies aren't tarnishing your reputation.

When selecting an agency it's important to do some research about how they operate and how they're regarded in the industry. Speak with your peers and employees at your organisation to find out which agencies they've had a good experience with, and which they haven't. Once you've decided to engage an agency it's important to spend some time making sure they really understand your business and will represent it as you would like. This understanding is also crucial in making sure they put people forward who are likely to be a good fit, and so a good agency will be keen to have these conversations.  

Using multiple agencies will do nothing to improve the candidate experience. In a bid to get to people first, recruiters will often rush and so the first conversation they're having with a candidate about the role at your organisation is unlikely to be as professional and prepared as you would like. Equally, a candidate may get several calls from different recriters about the same role, which is frustrating for them and reflects negatively on your brand. It's better to invest well in a few relationships, which will be more manageable for you anyway, and consider working exclusively for best results.

5. The hiring process – be flexible

Before you even advertise a role ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do the hiring managers understand the current market?
  • Do they know exactly what they are looking for in a candidate?
  • Have they decided upon the interview process and the timescale?

It’s your responsibility to reconfirm that hiring managers have a plan of action when looking for new talent. A long, drawn out, unorganised hiring process will put candidates off straight away, resulting in the company losing out on sought after talent.

The candidate must be kept informed during the whole process and know exactly when the next stage will happen. There’s nothing worse than having a great interview but waiting three weeks for feedback because the hiring manager is too busy.

Another common occurrence that often happens is under offering candidates. This occurs when hiring managers don’t understand the current market and are not flexible. You need to educate them to ensure they understand what the market rate is to attract the best talent to their company.

Once an offer has been made, ensure the hiring manager follows it up. Remember the market is buoyant and your offer may not be the only one the candidate has. Follow up with the candidate and reiterate how keen the company is to have them on board; this is also a perfect time to answer any questions or concerns they may have. Even when the offer has been accepted you should keep in touch as you can still lose a candidate at this stage. Some companies have put great processes in place so that the candidate starts to feel engaged with the company before they’ve even started, meaning less chance of them accepting another offer.

Hopefully these tips have proved useful to you. What do you think is the biggest challenge in providing a great candidate experience and how do you go about it at your company?


Written by Tom Mornement, Director of Purple House HR, a niche recruitment consultancy specialising in the placement of Human Resources professionals. If you’re looking for a new HR position, or need to hire an HR professional, then get in touch: www.purplehousehr.com / 0117 957 4100


The kind of stuff that Social Hire do...

At Social Hire, we don't just do social media.

Isn't it time to stop making difficult personnel choices that don't work well for your online marketing?

Our team of managers are a team that assists our partners improve their digital presence by producing online marketing services on a regular basis. Our service is transparent and economical, which ensures that you get a great service and results that make a difference when you utilise our services. We arrange many different marketing services for enterprises from small businesses to large corporations to help make the most of of your company's social media marketing.

You might like these blog posts Starting Up Part 2: Conquering the Lean Startup Phase, Starting a Business? How to Get the Ball Rolling When Funds Are Limited, How does inbound marketing work?, and How to Create a Successful Marketing Team.

  Back to Recruitment blogs