How to create an amazing candidate experience

The way we work, communicate and engage with each other has completely changed over the last 16 months – we have had to be agile and adaptable to new ways of working and collaborating each other. Working within the recruitment industry, and focused specifically on publishing, we have worked really hard to give the best candidate and client experience, and be as supportive as possible in this ever-changing world where we are still navigating our exit.

Candidates have been thrown the new challenge of interviewing remotely, taking on nerves that are already there and these being multiplied, but I think it’s fair to say that some our clients are feeling the same and have had to navigate similar challenges and with that in mind, we wanted to share our thoughts on how to create the best candidate experience which is instilled not only in our values, but in our clients’ too.

As it stands, we are in a busy market – the confidence is back when it comes to recruiting which is fantastic, but this means we are also up against a market which is ‘candidate led’. Talent is not always as easily accessible as it might have been previously so when the right candidate comes along, it is up to us, and our clients to deliver that amazing candidate experience! This is everything involved from the moment they find out about the company, whether this is through an advert, or though communication via an agency, through to how the company or brand is communicated, how quickly the client comes back with feedback on their CV or indeed the interview process and experience. The most successful recommendations come from word of mouth, and if the candidate experience is negative – then this can have a negative impact on the brand or company recruiting.

Candidates can engage with the company in many different ways before the interview process, and so there are many different touchpoints involved.

We’ve put together 8 key ways to improve the candidate experience – ensuring candidates are engaged and left with a positive message, no matter what the outcome of the recruitment process for them:

  1. Start with your job description! Is it clear? Does it ‘sell’ the company values and exactly what you are looking for in the role? Is it a true representation of your company and most importantly, will it attract candidates to apply? It’s also important to include here the salary, and any benefits or perks that could be a driver for candidates.
  2. What is the process? The more candidates know about the process, whether this is the deadline for applications, or the interview process overall – the more invested they will become in the job. This includes the application process – let them know exactly what you expect whether this is just a CV and a short summary of why they are suitable, or a covering letter with examples of their work. The more information they have, the better the opportunity for them to showcase why they’re suitable.
  3. Does the company website reflect your brand values and give a positive and accurate representation of your company? This is often the first-place candidates will look so it’s important to make sure this is up to date.
  4. Respect the time a candidate has put into their application – if they have put together a great application but ultimately, they’re not the right candidate for the job. It’s important to let them know, ideally with a line on why they’re not right for that role. Candidates appreciate the feedback and will be more inclined to apply for more relevant jobs in future.
  5. Communicate with candidates / agencies! Even if there is no update, the value and positive message that can be portrayed by just letting a candidate know that there is a delay, or that there will be feedback in X number of days is often such a relief as they are not constantly waiting to hear back and are aware of the situation.
  6. Master the interview process – ask your recruiter for advice if you are working with an agency. It’s important of course to interview the candidate by asking great questions and finding out their suitability for the role, but also letting the interview process be an opportunity for them to ask questions and learn more about the role and the company will leave a really positive impression.
  7. Feedback! Even if the feedback is not the positive news the candidate might be hoping for, candidates love to hear feedback and this can help the candidate improve personally and professionally, and they will have a much more positive view on the company.
  8. Finally, in a candidate led market it is important to try as much as possible to move forward with strong candidates at speed. This shows candidates that you are engaged with them as relevant candidates for the job, but also mitigates the risk of them being snapped up by other employers for other jobs. If they have had well communicated, positive process through your company – chances are you will leave them with the impression that they want to come and work for you!

As an agency, it is our job to support this process and ensure strong communication and engagement with candidates at every step of the way – but ensuring a positive experience for the candidate once they have engaged with your brand directly is a fantastic way to build a positive message, and to secure the best candidates to join your business!

Keep an eye out for next weeks’ tips on how to secure your first choice of candidate when it comes to offering!