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How to Create a Stellar Candidate Experience in Recruitment

How To Create A Stellar Candidate Experience In Recruitment

The outcome of the recruiting process is centered around the overall experience of the candidate. Recruiters that make candidates feel valued and appreciated will be much more likely to source top talent. In this article, we'll discuss some tips for creating a positive candidate experience in recruitment.

1. What is candidate experience in recruitment

Candidate experience in recruitment refers to the overall impression that a candidate has after going through the entire interview process. If the recruiter ensures that the process is smooth and efficient, then the candidate will most likely have a positive experience.

Every candidate wants to feel respected and valued, so it’s crucial as a recruiter you communicate clearly, and portray a standard of professionalism while at the same time showing you’re personable. Providing a positive and memorable experience for the candidate is the center of your success as a recruiter.

2. What makes a positive candidate experience?

All candidates want to feel like they're being treated well. When they get a positive hiring experience, they are more likely to accept the job offer. So how do we define a great candidate experience?

Easy access

Candidates will most likely first contact you online, whether it be LinkedIn or a job site, it’s important to have a strong online presence, as well as an easy-to-find job portal.

Mobile-first, high-interaction

Candidates today are mobile-first, and value engagement. Recruitment agencies that offer efficient communication streams are more likely to create an improved candidate experience.

Whether you communicate through LinkedIn DM’s, chatbots or phone calls, all are great for efficiency and to keep candidates engaged during the recruitment process. Always look for ways to make the candidate experience journey better to increase your job acceptance rate.

You may be interested in: Mobile recruitment: Modernize your recruiting methods

Fast and frictionless recruitment process

According to a survey conducted by Greenhouse, 60 percent of job seekers are dissatisfied with the lengthy hiring process and are now demanding a more modern recruiting experience.

If your job descriptions are dull and lack clarity, if the application process is tedious and long, they’ll become frustrated and look for a more convenient option. And there’s even more risk of losing out on potential candidates in today’s current recruitment climate. Modernizing the application process while keeping it as short and smooth as possible will undoubtedly increase the number of applicants.


Greenhouse’s survey also pointed out that candidates are looking for meaningful interactions and actionable feedback from recruiters. Nearly 58% expect to receive a response in one week or less after the initial application. Unfortunately, many recruiters are failing to keep up, especially with those that do not meet their requirements.

A simple text, DM or email to candidates throughout the interview stages can instill trust and set the tone. When you shortlist a candidate, don't forget to tell them! An automated message or a phone call is enough to inform them of the next steps. Even if they're not chosen for an interview, they would be grateful to hear updates from you.


The interview process should be as short and straightforward as possible - so as to ensure the best candidate's experience. Tell them exactly what you're looking for - and how you plan to evaluate them. Try to cover all important points in a reasonable timeframe. And finally, let candidates know when they'll hear back from you, as well as the next steps after the interview.

3. Why should we always strive for a great candidate experience?

For many recruiters, improving candidate experience is an issue that they often overlook. That’s why those who do pay attention will eventually reap the following benefits.

Boost applicants

Given that the demand for candidates is higher than the demand for jobs, job seekers are not exactly short of options. Candidates are more likely to apply for jobs with a short and simple process, rather than those that are complicated and long. A study conducted by Appcast has found that recruiters can improve conversion rates by up to 365 percent - just by making the application process five minutes or less.

Attract top candidates

Agility is crucial for recruiters to come out on top in the current talent market. According to Top Echelon Network, 40% of candidates would reject offers - simply because there’s another one that comes much faster. This means that recruiters need to streamline the interview process - and be available to take candidates' calls, texts, and emails for as many hours of the day as possible. Some crucial recruiting tips to help attract top candidates might help you out.

Improve business outcomes

According to American International Group, good communication with candidates is necessary to increase the success rate of the recruitment process. As a recruiter, you should think of your candidate experience as a sales tool — the thing that motivates them to accept your job offers. Top talent will choose you if you give them what they need and want.

4. Challenges to a positive candidate experience

A no-problem mindset

Some recruiters believe that the candidate experience has no impact to their success. However, the talent market has become increasingly competitive in recent years, making it extremely difficult to source top candidates.

Overwhelming responsibilities

A recent survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reveals that the average recruiter these days is responsible for about 30-40 job openings at a time. This high level of responsibility makes it extremely challenging to offer a personal touch experience for each candidate. Recruitment automation is a must - in order to ensure a more personalized approach without sacrificing the ability to manage multiple applicants at the same time.

Lack of professionalism

Not closing the loop with candidates is one common mistake in the recruiting process. By failing to inform them about the end results, you are making candidates feel like they were never even considered, and that you simply forgot about them.

5. Negative candidate experience

A negative candidate experience in recruitment can seriously hamper your agency’s reputation and discourage potential candidates from applying for future positions. Candidates frequently express frustration with the hiring process due to poor communication, lengthy wait times, and a lack of feedback. Many applicants are also disappointed by:

  • Lack of information about the position they are applying for.
  • Non-transparent hiring decisions.
  • Uninterested or unfriendly interviewers.
  • No opportunities for deeper discussions.
  • No system to provide feedback on the process.
  • Technical limitations (i.e.: device-specific forms etc.).

It’s crucial to have methods in place to measure the candidate experience. Additionally, it’s a great opportunity to collect data and feedback for you to take the necessary steps to improve. An example would be to send out an automated survey after every interview, including questions i.e.:

  • How did you find the overall process?
  • How long did it take for you to receive feedback?
  • Did you feel the process was clear at every stage?

6. How to enhance candidate experience in recruitment

Plan each step

In order to source top talent, implement new processes into your recruitment strategy. As a recruiter, it’ll feel more organized and efficient, you’ll reap the benefits and candidates will have a more well-rounded understanding of the job.

Well-written job descriptions

Recruiters should provide an overview of the roles and responsibilities associated with a particular position. Avoid using jargon, use of reference numbers and overly technical language, as this can alienate potential candidates. Instead, use clear and concise language that accurately reflects the nature of the position.

User-friendly application process

Design a landing page to reel in potential candidates and make it visually appealing so it leads job seekers to the application page.

Don’t forget to do a test – submitting your own application will help you understand it from a candidate’s perspective.

Build relationships with candidates

Maintain a good communication flow throughout every stage of the process. It’ll show that you’re reliable and more importantly that you care. A simple thanks can go a long way.

Inform candidates before the interview

When scheduling an interview, give candidates a heads-up about what to expect i.e.:

  • No. of interviewers that’ll be present
  • Give a time frame for the interview
  • Any requirements i.e., dress code, relevant documents etc.

Let candidates know the interview results right away

It’s always best to get the rejection out of the way as soon as possible. A follow-up message expressing your gratitude for their time and offering feedback about why they weren’t hired can reflect back positively on you as a recruiter and the company candidates are applying to.