10 Ways to Improve Your Candidate Experience – Part 1

From startups to international corporations, everyone must hire employees. By definition, a growing company is constantly hiring for new positions from both internal and external candidates. But no matter how universally necessary the hiring process is, there is no one right way to do it. The perfect hiring process for your business will depend on your industry, niche, and company culture. And there is always room for improvement.

Most hiring managers do their best to hire fairly and quickly, but there are still candidates who have a bad experience in the process. There are countless stories on jobsite forums and social media about candidates who were left on the hook too long, ghosted, or surprised by unlisted job requirements. Some feel deeply mistreated and write inflammatory reviews on GlassDoor, some are simply put off by your brand for years after a clumsy interview process. Candidate experience is a very important consideration in your hiring process, both for your future employee and every professional who you turn down each time.

Today, we’re here to talk about 10 effective ways to improve the experience your candidates have during your hiring process.

1) Clearly Define Job Requirements and Wish-List Skills

By far your most powerful way to help candidates is self-selection. Remember that the hiring process goes both way. You are trying to find the best candidate for your position while candidates are trying to find the best job for the life they want to live. You want candidates who are a bad fit to remove themselves from consideration early. And you want candidates who could grow quickly into the role to apply even if they don’t have a currently ideal skillset.

The best first step is to write a stellar job description. Clearly define the real requirements for the job, don’t leave anything necessary out. Include even ‘obvious’ things like data entry or lifting and carrying. Then give a ‘range’ of skills by creating a separate list of ‘wishlist’ skills that you want and would need to be learned quickly after hiring. Candidates can then self-select based on what they can do, what they know, and how fast they think they can learn what you need.

2) Include a Real Salary Range

Salary range is also very important for hiring. A large percentage of candidate experience complaints have come down to unsatisfying salary discussions. Candidates have a range they are willing to work for and if an offer is too low, they will walk away. Being coy about the pay range only wastes your time and theirs because they will eventually say ‘no’.

If you have hard budget lines, as most do, then be honest with your candidates. Candidates whose lower range is too high will self-select out. Great candidates who are currently being underpaid may jump at the opportunity. Being up-front about salary is a win-win situation.

3) Company Culture and Work-Life Balance

Like salary, candidates also usually have firm boundaries about work-life balance and their comfort with the company culture. Some people love to work late and go out for drinks after hours with their coworkers. Some need to be out the door by 5 every night to have dinner and homework time with their kids. Some love to travel most of the year, some can’t travel at all for personal reasons.

You want candidates who will be happy working within the company, so be transparent about what it’s like to work with you. If late nights and weekends are common, share that. If you have weekly potlucks, share that! You want people who will self-select as good fits for the team and role expectations.

4) Make the Application Process Easy

Next, take the tedium out of applying. Anyone who has ever looked for a job (ie: everyone) knows that not all job applications are made equal. Some applications are excruciatingly tedious, filling out pages of forms about your previous employers. Some are enjoyable questionaries that are almost conversational. And there is everything in between.

Go out of your way to make your application process easy and enjoyable. Not everyone finds the same things easy, so try diversifying application channels. Always allow applicants to submit their resume and cover letters. Some have perfected this form of communication and you’ll be glad to know who they are. Also create a friendly application form that can be accessed on your careers page for anything specific you want to cover. Make sure it is interactive and can be submitted through the site, not just a PDF to download and upload.

Also, do not include background check forms in the initial application. Save this until it becomes relevant. It is more respectful of the time of your candidates not to front-load paperwork that may not matter in the future.

5) Build Up Your Careers Page

Speaking of your careers page, this is one of your best tools for improving candidate experience. Today, we look up everything online before making a decision. Whether that’s where to vacation or which job to take. After a candidate has applied, they are very likely to look up your company and check out your Careers page. Even if they applied through a recruitment service.

Your careers page should not just be an avenue for emails and applications. Instead, you want it to become a portal for job candidates. No doubt, there are a few things you want all candidates to know, but don’t necessarily include in each job descriptions. Even a simple FAQ can really help your candidates who are doing research on their own. But you can do much better than that.

This is your opportunity to welcome candidates and give the a guided tour of relevant job-searching information. Help them to self-select by sharing your facility locations and benefits details. Dedicate a page to company culture and another to helpful contact information. You may even want to offer candidates accounts so they can track jobs and apply to more than one position over time.

Creating a better candidate experience is a matter of consideration. Most of the classic mistakes happen because companies aren’t thinking about how candidates are impacted by the hiring process. This first half of our list has focused mostly one how to prepare your hiring process to be more approachable and help candidates self-select positions that are a good fit.

Join us next time for the second half of this article where we’ll highlight five ways to be courteous to candidates and improve their experience of the interview and decision-making stage. For more personalised information about how to improve your business’ candidate experience, contact us today!


[Continued in Part 2 ]