Do you ever struggle to attract the right candidates? Or perhaps you find that the candidates you interview turn you down and accept jobs elsewhere? There are lot of factors that can cause issues like this and one of them is definitely the candidate experience. Your company may spend a lot of time on their customer experience, after all if someone has a bad experience making an online purchase as a customer they would probably boycott the company, tell their friends about the bad experience and even take to Twitter to complain to millions of people! The same goes for candidate experience, get it wrong and you risk losing out on great candidates and may even have your good name tainted in the market! Here are 9 things to consider to improve your candidate experience:

1. Make a plan

Before you go all guns blazing into redesigning your candidate experience it’s important that you are in a position to make informed decisions. You need to fully understand your current process, your candidate market as well as what may need improving before you set out to change anything. Take time to survey current candidates as well as your employees on their application / interview process to outline any positive / negative ‘moments of truth’ they experienced. Seeing the positives and negatives will help you devise a clear plan of what to change.

2. Look at your careers website

Invest a lot of time into the UX / UI of your corporate site? You need to apply the same thinking to your careers site! Put yourself in the candidate’s shoes. Can they apply easily on a mobile phone? Are you asking lots of in depth questions before they can even submit their CV? Are your vacancies up to date and easy to find? All of these things can make or break an application, so if you want to avoid putting people off applying, or ensure you delight candidates at the very first touch point then make sure you look at your website UX!

3. First response

What processes are in place when a candidate applies through your website? Do you reply to everyone who applies or only those you want to interview? We know time is precious so you might not want to sit and reply to every single person, but a lack of reply can often leave a ‘bad taste in the mouth’ for applicants, and put them off applying to you in the future or recommending you to a friend. Why not create some simple email templates, then at least you can reply to everyone with an update on their application even if they haven’t been successful this time round!

4. Booking the interview

Consider how this works – do candidates select interview slots online through your ATS? Or do you have an assigned member of staff to organise this? Whatever it may be, make sure you include plenty of information for candidates on things like the expected dress code, directions (trust us, even the most qualified candidates can still get lost) as well as information to prepare them for the day. Those extra bits of information can put your candidates at ease, resulting in a much more pleasant interview experience. Are you speaking to candidates directly to book in the interviews? Use it as a chance to tell them more information about the company, it’s important to sell as much as possible (without being over the top) even at this early stage in case they are out to interview at your competitors!

5. Your interview style

Look at your current interview set up and consider your candidate market. Is the environment suitable? What kinds of questions do you ask? What is the pace of the interview? Is there a technical test? Who gets involved? Feedback from surveys will help you build a picture on what parts of your interview work, and which ones don’t! Make sure your interview style lends itself to the candidate market you’re aiming for, and if you have any negative feedback try to take it on board and make a change!

6. The fast (not the furious)

One of the main complaints candidates have after an interview has taken place is the lack of feedback or having to wait too long for feedback. Waiting can not only be frustrating for candidates, but it leaves them open to speak to other employers / recruiters and potentially accept a job elsewhere before you give them their feedback! Aim to give feedback within 24 hours of the interview, and if it’s going to be longer make sure you manage the candidate’s expectations at the interview so they don’t sit waiting by the phone!

7. An offer they can’t refuse

Making the offer is a crucial part of the candidate journey. You need to reassure the candidate with all the important stuff like salary, benefits package, start date etc. but still inject as much enthusiasm into the conversation as you can. Being offered a job should fill your candidate with joy – so if you fail to do that on the call then you might face problems down the line! Remember to follow up the call with an email containing all of the important information so your candidate has the reassurance of the offer in writing.

8. Keep in touch

So you made the offer, the candidate said yes and now you’re in the notice period stage. This can be anything from a fortnight, to two months (or even more), so it’s important not to forget about your candidate and go quiet. Use the opportunity to make your new candidate feel like part of the team – send them any company updates / news via email or drop them a call to see how they’re getting on. Making contact in this phase will also give you the chance to combat any potential counter-offers from their current company as well.

9. Remember the onboarding

Don’t invest all of your time improving the candidate experience if you’re not going to continue through to the employee experience too! There are key moments of truth in the onboarding process, from first day, to training and support, probation period etc. If you fail to deliver a positive experience at these stages It can effect employee retention and your company reputation.

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