The 3 Step Guide to a Great Candidate Experience

By Sultan Murad Saidov

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If you're involved in your company’s hiring process, you will have probably found yourself discussing the “candidate experience”.

This sort of conversation typically meanders between an analysis of hiring metrics, such as “candidate drop-off” and “conversion”, and a review of the kind of candidates your careers site, job adverts and interview process are likely to attract.

It’s easy to step away from this dialogue by making minor changes - making an application process less arduous or a careers site more informative. What many companies need to do is step back, and review the 3 essential steps to paving the smoothest path for the best prospective candidates.

1. Make Your Hiring More Visible

Every company has potential top talent sitting on the sidelines, without being triggered to think about working at the company. Potential top candidates sit among everyone who interacts with your brand and visits your website, and your careers page won’t be discovered without prompts.

i) Start with Google - your hiring page should show up as a “sitelink”:

ii) Then ensure that the hiring process is a central part of your site navigation:

iii) And make sure that the site is simple, relevant and accessible:

2. Start With Why

Many companies are starting to tick the core boxes for good hiring content: conveying the company brand, showing profiles of their staff and expressing the skills and personality traits needed for different teams/positions.

Candidates need to understand why your company does what it does, and why it is unique. Many companies simply state a few sentences detailing what the company does, without stirring any emotions from the candidate.

The problem is that candidates are people, and online people have a short attention span. You need to capture a candidate’s attention in under 10 seconds.

i) The Vision Trap

Like most companies, you are probably not looking for more applicants. You’re looking for more relevant applicants. Your company has probably put in the hard work of defining your "target candidate", and the kind of “cultural fit” that you look for. But how well is this culture conveyed distinctly to prospective candidates? You need a sincere and succinct manifesto.

Take a leaf out of Valve’s book.

ii) The Staff Showreel

To attract the kind of person you want in your team, you need to show prospective candidates your staff as people, not “bios”. You need to give a glimpse of your culture, and not just engaging cafeteria pictures. It’s worth investing in a short video showreel - something that will likely also make your existing employees more likely to share and refer people in their network.

iii) The Persona Paragraph

It’s important to highlight the kind of candidate that would be well suited for a role, but it’s equally important to make a prospective candidate that feels they are a good fit to be excited. Most companies carefully think through the content for their candidate fit:

"Do you look at X but see Y? Do you like to A and B? Do you look for C? Sounds like you might be one of us! We’re always looking for talented individuals with a background in Q, W, E, R or T to help us grow…”

But you need to go one step further by establishing an emotional connection with the candidate:


3. Flip the Talent Funnel

i) Generate a candidate conversation

Employee referrals are still the holy grail of recruitment, and HR thought leaders are now advocating for firms to hire at least half their staff through referrals. But referrals shouldn’t just come from your employees.

No matter how big or small your company, you need to start generating a conversation with and among prospective candidates. If your company has a twitter feed, this can put your roles in front of a very relevant audience:

ii) Create Career Content Worth Sharing

Investing in a better candidate experience is not just about moving the needle through a competitive advantage - it’s about projecting hiring as a top priority for your company. Even for small companies, this will encourage not only your employees but your customers and candidates to refer new applicants.

For a great example of how a quirky approach can explode the talent pool, check out the career page for Air New Zealand, complete with a “pull in case of emergency” excel-sheet, which last year generated enormous candidate hype, and led to a nearly 600% increase in site visitors.

iii) Connect Your Content

People often talk about the need for companies to use blogging for recruitment - leveraging the blogs of company staff, and not simply writing about the company, but about topics that people in the industry should be considering. Convert people engaged by the content your company generates through triggers that let them discover opportunities to join your team.

In order to hire the top talent, you need to create more than a community. You need to engage potential hires in the same way you look to engage your customers, and to maintain an active dialogue with every member of that network until the right opportunity arises. To create a great candidate experience, you need to go beyond removing friction in the application process - you need to draw people into your talent community.


Sultan Murad Saidov is the Founder and CPO at , a company applying advanced data science and marketing technology to recruitment. Follow @SultanSaidov

This post originally appeared on the Seed.Jobs Blog - 3 Steps to Creating a Great Candidate Experience


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