4 ways to achieve a great candidate experience

In an era of social media sharing, we’re all well aware that a positive (or negative) experience an individual receives with a business can have an enormous reach. And this doesn’t just include your standard retail transactions, with a whopping 97% of candidates referring others to the organisation if they had a positive candidate experience when seeking a new role – regardless if they got the job or not.

A recent report carried out by CandE, gathered together candidate experience insight from 3,000 job seekers and highlights just how important a great candidate experience can be for attracting quality applicants and strengthening your bottom line.

Some interesting figures from the study include:
• 88% of candidates are more likely to buy from a company that gave them a positive recruitment experience
• 95% of unsuccessful candidates would re-apply if another suitable role came up
• 54% rated their most recent candidate experience as ‘very good’
• 50% would utilise social media to tell their contacts about their experience
Creating a good candidate experience isn’t exactly a new concept, but you’d be surprised at how many businesses fail to invest in this area and reap the rewards. It can be a daunting task, but these easy to follow steps show how you can easily achieve a fantastic candidate experience for your company.

Communication is key
When you’re attracting candidates, clear, concise and accurate information is the ticket to quality applications. Ensure that your company career page is up to date and any vacancy advert you post on a jobs board or social media is accurate and in-line with the information on your website.
There’s nothing more frustrating for a candidate than finding the perfect job only to discover it’s been filled, so make sure you keep things up to date.
Another pet hate for candidates is complex or lengthy application forms, so keep it simple to stop them clicking away from your vacancy.

Be transparent
Did you know that candidates can spend up to two hours researching your company and vacancy before making a decision to apply? That’s why you need to ensure that you give them a clear indication of your culture, values and why your company is a great place to work.
Your company career page is the perfect place to give this information, but many businesses miss a trick here by neglecting the voices of their current staff. By using testimonials from your existing team members, you give your spiel on why your company is fantastic credibility by utilising the opinions of the people that actually work there.

Manage their expectations
Setting expectations from the start and continuing to communicate with the candidate at all stages of the application is the winning formula for a great candidate experience. Ensure that they are aware of the length and stages of the application process plus when interviews are likely to be held as this gives them the indication that your company is well structured and organised.

In terms of communications, there are three key phases where you should be touching base with your applicants:

• Send an immediate ‘Thank You’ email after receiving the application, here you can also advise next steps in the process and data privacy information
• If you’ve received a number of applications that will take you longer than expected to sort through, it’s common courtesy to communicate the delay to your candidates
• Let each candidate know if they’ve been successful or unsuccessful at any stage of the process. With those candidates who you won’t be taking through to the next stage, thank them for their interest and provide any feedback or reason why they’ve been unsuccessful if possible.

Collaborative working
Unfortunately, most of us can admit to being so stretched at work that we miss the little things. And it’s exactly these little things that can make all the difference to the candidate experience. Simple tasks such as fine tuning a job spec, creating a winning advert, calling someone back or following up an application can seem like a lack of effort to candidates when in reality it’s just a case of trying to juggle too many tasks. Companies that worked in close collaboration with their recruitment agencies reported a satisfaction rate amongst candidates of 87% during the recruitment process and the first few introductory weeks.

This is in stark contrast to 40% satisfaction for those businesses who took on the overwhelming task of recruiting and starting the induction and settling in period for a new candidate on their own.

Get the most out of your working relationship with your agency by allowing them to work in close collaboration during all stages of the process. Think of them as a spare pair of skilled and experienced hands to pick up the slack if any task has not been completed or you’re overwhelmed with responses.
The more involvement you have with your recruitment agency, the more they can help you to provide a fantastic candidate experience.

With many companies reporting increasing difficulties in finding the talent they need, the candidate experience is becoming a key differentiator. Make your candidate experience the best it can possibly be and you’ll soon begin to reap the rewards.

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Emma Bonfiglio

About the author, Emma Bonfiglio

Managing Director at Appointments, Emma has spent 15 years building up a stellar reputation for commercial recruitment excellence across a variety of industries and sectors. There’s no staffing challenge Emma hasn’t encountered and her insight into the recruitment landscape has assisted countless clients achieve their goals over the years.


Specialising in the legislative and procedural side of business operations and through her extensive knowledge and continual training, Emma has a wealth of legal and contractual recruitment knowledge to help advise and support organisations of any size and in any industry.