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What makes a great candidate experience

What makes a great candidate experience

candidate experience

The battle for top talent is fierce, with businesses doing all that they can to ensure that they attract talent ahead of their competitors. An engaging and positive candidate experience can differentiate employers from the crowd, and help you to attract, secure, and retain top-tier talent.

But what if the candidate is not right for your business? Do you still need to make the effort?
In short – yes!

64% of applicants will tell their friends and family, with 27% of applicants actively discouraging others from applying after a disappointing experience. Whether someone is completely unsuitable to the roles offered or not, they may know someone else who is ideal… so do not run the risk of rumours spreading of your company delivering a poor experience.

Here are our top 5 steps to improving / maintaining a great candidate experience…

  1. Outlining what experience the candidate can expect

Manage your candidate’s expectations by outlining what they can expect at each stage of the hiring process (e.g. within a small description in the job advert or post application and over the phone). Outlining your hiring process along with your projected timelines can help candidates imagine themselves at each stage, making it easier for them to prepare throughout and feel more comfortable with the experience, as they know what will be required of them during their contact with you. To dodge candidate’s over-rehearsing, make this brief with only the basic steps they will be taking if successful in each round, helping the process run smoothly.

  1. Communication throughout the candidates experience

Communication will always be the main factor in whether your candidate is satisfied, with 60% of candidate’s thinking better communication would improve their overall experience. Candidate’s should always know what to expect next and be kept informed throughout the whole process. Whether that be post application messages, interview invites and reminders, interview feedback and follow ups, job offers and rejections.

On the topic of rejections, never, ghost people. Even though some candidate’s applying for jobs are completely unsuitable, their opinion still matters. Ghosting angers people, causing confusion and leaves the situation on a bad note. Unsure on how to give bad feedback? A clear rejection message with the offer of more information as to why a rejection has been issued is a great way to leave things on a positive note, hopefully avoiding any backlash online in reviews. 42% of disgruntled candidate’s will not apply for a position with the company again – why risk it?

  1. Candidate Information

Candidate information must be recorded, especially if it could become important in the future. Make sure that relevant information is recorded and stored (remembering to remain GDPR compliant) in one secure database.

Miscommunication can become particularly problematic, for example, if information regarding salary expectations or start dates are not recorded appropriately, this can easily lead to a negative experience and portray a lack of attentiveness.

  1. On-site interviews

When inviting a candidate to an interview, it is extremely important that you are fully equipped to present your company in the best light, as this will majorly influence a candidate’s decision should they be offered the position.

When conducting an interview, you should never leave a candidate waiting too long for you, this will encourage them to believe you aren’t that interested in what they have to offer. You should also offer drinks/refreshments to a candidate; this adds a personal touch and will work in your favour, especially if your candidate is thirsty!

Offering a tour of your facilities is always a good idea as this provides the candidate with the opportunity to experience the environment in the workplace and decide if they like the culture or not. You should take this opportunity to make your workplace stand out and appeal to the candidate, ensuring that all colleagues are polite and helpful, making the candidate feel comfortable.

You should provide the candidate with information about the company and the position, enabling them to make an informed decision on whether it is somewhere they would like to work or not. Throughout the interview you should ensure you give them the opportunity to ask as many questions as they want and answer them to the best of your ability.

  1. Streamline your Process for a panned out candidate experience 

Have you ever stood in a queue for so long that you ended up leaving it? Candidate’s will do the same thing if your recruitment process is too long, regardless of what they can get out of it, they can look for it elsewhere.

Create a screening process that allows you to spend time where it really matters. To speed things up, you could automate certain aspects of this… for example, setting up an automated screening process whereby you ask applicants a series of questions to identify those that have the right skills and experience before they progress.

For those that are suitable, you could try out first stage video interviews, requesting that your applicants answer specific questions within a time limit, allowing you to visualise the candidate and what they’re like, without wasting time organising hiring managers diaries.


At Hunter, alongside our advertising and marketing solutions, we offer an online portal where you can access your applicants information as well as additional features including shortlisting and messaging to help you keep on top of your candidate experience.

If you’re struggling to keep on top of your candidate experience, or have enquiries surrounding our services, please do not hesitate to contact us!


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