The hiring process is about more than finding the best talent for your company’s open position. In today’s competitive hiring environment, your recruiting strategy must also focus on the candidate experience.

From submitting a job application to going through the interview process, job seekers are also trying to decide if your company is a good place to work. Your ability to provide a good candidate experience will help determine if they accept a job offer or not.

So, how can you create a positive experience that shows off your company culture? In this article, we’ll show you how to do this at each step of the hiring process.

How to Create a Positive Candidate Experience

Your employer brand can make more people want to work for you. Reflect that brand through a strong candidate experience that helps prospective employees feel valued and helps them know that they will be treated well if they work for your company. It highlights your company values — what makes you different from other potential employers. 

Let’s look at how you can positively present your brand in each step of the hiring process.

A Streamlined Job Application Process

streamlined job application process

For potential candidates, the experience starts when they first apply. Whether they come across a job description on your careers page, a third-party career site, or even a social media platform like LinkedIn, you must make it easy to submit a job application.

This starts with writing clear job descriptions that are free of jargon and unnecessary filler. Clearly list responsibilities, “must-have requirements,” a salary range, and benefits. In fact, one Glassdoor survey reveals that 67% of potential candidates look for salary information in job ads, while 63% look for benefits. Transparency is key for attracting top talent.

The application process should be clear and simple. Don’t require candidates to log in to your site or manually enter their resume information. Let candidates upload their resume or use tools like LinkedIn’s “Easy Apply” feature to quickly submit their application.

Prompt Communication

During several touch-points throughout the hiring process, a hiring manager or recruiting coordinator will reach out to candidates. This begins before someone even submits a resume by encouraging prospective candidates to apply. Outreach should also always occur after reviewing a candidate’s resume. Even if an individual will not be called in for an interview, you should do them the courtesy of letting them know.

Regardless of whether communication occurs via email or a phone call, you should promptly reach out to candidates for such crucial steps as scheduling an interview or extending a job offer. You can’t afford to delay your communication and let top talent slip through the cracks.

This will become especially important after someone accepts an offer and you start the onboarding process. Effective communication will help a new hire feel at home, understand your company culture, and reach full productivity that much sooner.

An applicant tracking system can streamline many of these steps by helping you track previous interactions and hiring decisions for each applicant. For example, you could use this tool to send an automatic email response confirming that an applicant’s resume has been received, or to follow up with a candidate who hasn't responded to an interview request.

Convenient Interview Scheduling

Interview scheduling can be a surprisingly time-consuming process. Making phone calls or emailing back and forth with a candidate to find a time that works for both them and your interviewer can drag on for quite a while. Now, consider how much time this can take (and how many mistakes can be made) when manually scheduling interviews with multiple candidates each week.

Instead, the easier solution is to give candidates the opportunity to self-schedule. The candidate receives an email with a calendar that shows available time slots for a given time period (typically the next one or two weeks). Simply clicking on a time that works for them will schedule the interview with your team. 

This allows candidates to easily schedule an interview at a time that works for them, helping reduce some of the friction of the candidate experience.

When you schedule an interview, communicate how long the interview(s) will be, who the candidate will meet with, how to join the call or get inside the building, and any particular materials you’d like them to prepare.

A Quality Interview Experience

quality interview experience

How an interviewer presents themselves in a meeting will directly reflect on your company culture and values.

Each candidates’ time is valuable. Whether conducting in-person interviews or a remote call, the interview experience should provide you with a strong assessment of a candidate’s abilities, and help them decide if your company is a good fit.

Preparedness will help interviewers focus on the candidate and ask high-quality questions, rather than simply having the candidate repeat information that is already in their resume. You can help your interviewers by providing a template of questions they should ask each candidate. Also, have them review the individual’s resume before the interview. If skills assessments are required, ask the candidate to complete these before the interview so interviewers can review the results ahead of time.

Interviewers should also develop skills such as active listening and display positive body language (such as maintaining eye contact or leaning forward when the candidate is speaking). Truly focusing on a candidate helps build rapport and trust. It shows that the interviewer is genuinely interested in the candidate. Most importantly, it helps them gain greater insights into who the candidate is as a person.

The candidate will be aware of all these factors — your attentiveness, body language, and questions — during the interview as they form an opinion of you. An interviewer who comes prepared and shows genuine interest will make a far better impression. They will help the candidate feel valued, and like their time and experience matter to the company. 

Solicit Candidate Feedback

Despite your best efforts to optimize the candidate experience, there’s no guarantee that each applicant will have a stellar experience. A bad candidate experience will likely drive away a potential employee, no matter how great your salary and benefits packages are. Naturally, hiring managers should try to learn from such negative experiences so as not to repeat them.

One way to do this is by sending a candidate experience survey. Ideally, you should try to survey applicants after their interview. You can also survey new hires after they finish the onboarding process. 

There’s no guarantee that a candidate who doesn’t get hired will respond to a survey request, but you should still ask. Their insights could reveal key weaknesses in your hiring process that need to be addressed.

These questions can cover the entire experience, including:

  • Did the job description help you clearly understand what we were looking for?
  • Did our recruiter clearly explain the hiring process?
  • Was our communication prompt and clear?
  • Was it easy to schedule an interview time?
  • Did you feel welcomed by the interviewers or others you interacted with when you arrived?
  • Did the interview process help you learn about our company and the position?
  • Were the interview questions relevant to the position?
  • What would make our processes better?

Attract Top Talent With a Great Candidate Experience

attract top talent with great candidate experience

The current job market favors qualified candidates, with nearly twice as many job openings as unemployed people. Today’s candidates expect a better candidate experience. They are content to go back to their job search if your company isn’t up to snuff.

When candidates have a quality experience throughout the recruitment process, they gain a powerful first impression of your company and start to see this is an exceptional place to work. You can also set appropriate expectations for the job, which can improve retention with new hires.

Prelude can help improve your candidate experience. From simplifying self-scheduling to training your interviewers, Prelude helps infuse your employer brand into the entire hiring experience and build a people-first candidate journey. 

By focusing less on the process and more on the people, you can find the best candidates — and provide an experience that helps them choose you.