Employment Hero

How to Design a Great Candidate Experience

The candidate experience is crucial when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent. It can be the difference between acquiring standout talent, or not so stand out — so it’s essential you get it right. With 83% of working professionals stating that a negative interview experience can alter their minds about accepting a role, this is no task to push to the side and ignore. Designing a strong candidate experience is just one of the many HR trends we can expect to continue well into 2020 and beyond

How to design a great candidate experience - 83% of working professionals say a negative interview experience can change their mind about accepting a role - Employment Hero

If you’ve never thought of the candidate experience holistically, we suggest taking a step back and breaking down each stage of the process. This is a great way to assess and reflect on what you’re currently doing and how you can make your experience better. By taking this first step, you’ll be able to identify any opportunities for improvement. If you’re not sure how to get started, you could send around an anonymous survey for your newest team members to complete. This would provide you with personalised insights into what is and isn’t working. 

What does the candidate experience cover? It includes: 

  • How you attract top talent
  • The way you write job descriptions and how you advertise
  • Communication with candidates throughout the process 
  • Tasks you assign candidates to complete
  • The way you train hiring managers to conduct interviews 
  • The content on your careers page
  • How you ask for feedback 

If you’re ready to create a standout candidate experience, read on as we share different ways you can attract talent to build a high performing team. 

Reply to all candidates at each stage of the process

There’s no reason that you should not be replying to all candidates. For those who were unsuccessful, it’s crucial you get back to them in a timely manner. After all, they’ve expressed an interest in working for you and took the time to prepare an application. It can be as simple as sending an email saying thank you for your application, however, we’ve decided to move forward with other applicants. If applicants are ghosted during the candidate experience, they’ll begin to talk to their connections — and we can guarantee this won’t be positive. This could be detrimental to your employer brand and deter top talent from applying for other roles in the future. There’s also the possibility that they could share their poor experience on review websites like Glassdoor, which could cause further damage to your employer branding

Customer Success Specialist Interview Review - Employment Hero Candidate Experience

Employment Hero interview review on Glassdoor

From the initial application, you should send a thank-you note to all applicants with a time frame they can expect to hear back. This acknowledges that you appreciate the time they’ve taken to submit an application and their interest in your company. This can be set up through an applicant tracking system like Workable. You should try to get back to all candidates as soon as possible and make communicating early and frequently a top priority. 

Keeping people in the loop if there is a delay or role goes on hold

There’s nothing worse than applying for a role and being left in the dark throughout the process. If there is a delay in the recruitment process, it may give the impression that the candidate has been unsuccessful in their application. This could cause them to look elsewhere for roles, running the risk of top talent slipping through your fingers. If there is a delay or the role goes on hold, give the applicants a quick call to let them know of the situation. Being 100% transparent and honest with your candidates will only make them think more highly of your company. 

Talk them through what the company does and what the role is 

What Is Employment Hero - Candidate Experience

There’s no reason that you can’t prepare your candidates for the interview process. By talking to them through what the company does and more about the history, they’ll feel more confident walking into the interview with the hiring manager(s). We know interviews can be daunting and nerves can set in (especially if candidates are particularly interested in the role), so equipping them with what they could expect will help put them at ease.

It’s also crucial you talk them through the role so you can set the expectations clear from the get-go. Does your workplace offer flexible working, employee assistance programs or extra leave? These are all important things to include during the candidate experience. Why? Because if they are successful in their application, there will be no hidden surprises. They’ll know what they’re in for from the get-go. 

Give them constructive feedback if they weren’t successful in their application

For those unsuccessful in their application, you should offer constructive feedback on why they didn’t receive the role. While this isn’t necessary for the unsuccessful applicants at the very start of the application process, it’s important to do this if they come in for a face-to-face interview. In the final stages of the interview process when you’re down to the last few candidates, giving them a quick call to let them know of the outcome coupled with some feedback can make all of the difference. Whilst they were unsuccessful, they now know what they can improve on in future. 

By providing constructive feedback, it also lets them know you’re appreciative of the time they took to complete the process. Whilst they’re not a perfect fit for your company at this stage, there’s a chance that they could be perfect for another role later down the track. With this front of mind, you need to leave them with a positive impression that would leave them comfortable to apply if another suitable role became available. 

💡 Remember: 69% of applicants with a negative candidate experience won’t apply again.  

Write job descriptions that have clear expectations, include a video of the culture and your employee value proposition (EVP)  

When it comes to writing job descriptions, you need to make the expectations clear and concise from the very beginning. This will set the tone and make sure that both parties know what they’re in for from the get-go. According to HR Dive, 72% of hiring managers state they include clear and concise job descriptions, however, only 36% of candidates agree. It seems here that something doesn’t add up. 

How do you make a job description engaging?

Add content to it! If you’re stuck on this, team up with marketing who can help take your employer branding to the next level. This could involve creating video content that highlights the culture of the company or writing engaging copy. You could also direct them to a page which has more culture-related content like your about us or career pages. In the application process, potential candidates want to find out as much information about the company as possible. They’re looking for answers on what it would be like to actually work there, so give it to them! 

The wrap up  

Designing a standout candidate experience is essential for attracting and retaining top talent. When you craft a strong candidate experience, you’ll improve your employer branding. This will set your new team members up to thrive when they join the organisation from day one. By making the process more personalised such as getting back to all applicants and providing constructive feedback, you’ll leave a positive lasting impression that will set you apart from the rest. 

P.s. We’re hiring at Employment Hero! Take a look at our open roles here.

Want more? 

Looking for more information on what employees are looking for in their role? You can download our FREE “What Employees Want” whitepaper here. 👇👇👇

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