Seven ways to create an awesome candidate experience

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Despite many employers making efforts to improve their candidate experience, some still fall short on the simplest aspects. Lee Biggins, chief executive of CV-Library, shares seven tips to help ensure that even unsuccessful candidates leave with a good impression of your business.

Candidate experience is essentially how someone feels about your company once they have engaged your hiring process. These feelings can play a huge part in whether they choose to accept your job offer. And that’s why creating an amazing candidate experience is key for attracting top talent.

After all, if your candidates are treated properly and with the utmost respect, this can really influence their decision if they have multiple job offers on the table.

A good candidate experience can really help, but an awesome one will set you apart from the competition. People want to feel valued and, if they’re made to feel like your top choice, they’re far more likely to accept an offer.

So, how can you create an awesome candidate experience? Here are a few places to start.

1. Write clear and concise job descriptions

It all starts with clear and to-the-point job descriptions. Don’t beat around the bush or mislead your candidates; whether that’s around salary expectations, responsibilities or the experience and skills required.

The last thing a candidate will want is to apply for a job they believe they’re perfect for, only for them to be rejected because they need one more skill not specified on the job advert.

Also, make sure you really understand the role that you need to fill. This will shine through and show the candidate that they’ll be extremely valuable at your company, rather than just being another cog in the machine.

2. Make it easy for candidates to find and apply for your jobs

Now that you’ve written a great, engaging job advert, how easy is it for candidates to find and apply for your jobs? If your vacancies are hidden in the back pages of Google or not properly displayed, you won’t be creating a great candidate experience. People won’t want to jump through hoops in order to find your jobs; this will only put them off.

The same can be said for applying to your jobs. Nobody wants to trawl through pages and pages of unnecessary application questions. Candidates simply don’t have the time.

3. Communicate with candidates early and often

Once your candidates apply, make sure you’re in regular contact with them. Start with thanking them for the application and let them know when they can expect to hear back.

Bespoke replies to each candidate are ideal, but we understand that for larger companies that attract hundreds of applications, this may not be possible. However, early, effective communication can go a long way to creating an awesome candidate experience.

4. Brief candidates with instructions before an interview

Once you’ve whittled the applicants down to a shortlist, send a clear and concise email to each candidate letting them know what to expect from your interview process, alongside a clear set of instructions on what to bring, where to go and how to prepare.

Attending an interview is a nerve-wracking experience for even the most confident candidates. So, providing interviewees with instructions on how to get to the office, what time to be there, the dress code and the type of interview questions they can expect is extremely helpful. Anticipate candidates’ questions and help them out as much as you can; your candidate experience will really benefit from it.

What’s more, as you’ll only be interviewing a handful of candidates, there’s no excuse to not send individual emails and reply to any questions!

5. Don’t ghost unsuccessful candidates

It may be the easy route out, but it can leave a real sour taste in a candidate’s mouth if you leave them hanging. After an interview, this is a huge taboo and awful practice.

In fact, this can deter candidates from ever applying for your jobs again. So you may miss out on a great candidate who might be the right fit in the future. What’s more, candidates talk. Don’t be surprised if you see fewer applications for your roles if you continue to treat candidates as not worthy of a parting comment.

While this is the end of the hiring process for unsuccessful applicants, it’s important to be polite and respectful in order to reaffirm a great candidate experience. Instead of leaving someone annoyed and in the lurch about their application, make sure they feel respected and that it just wasn’t quite the right role or timing.

6. Give feedback, and ask for criticism

Providing feedback for unsuccessful candidates is great practice. It can help people learn from their mistakes and understand why they didn’t progress further. Rather than leaving them thinking the decision was unjustified or unfair.

What’s more, asking for criticism in your hiring process can show a human, personal side to yourself as an employer. This will create a strong and relatable connection with your candidate that will only strengthen their experience, regardless of whether they got the job or not.

7. Keep in touch with promising candidates for any future roles

While the hiring process may be over, it shouldn’t be for the few promising candidates that fell at the last hurdle. Keep in touch with these individuals and be sure to let them know about any future relevant roles you’re recruiting for. You never know, it might have been the wrong role for the candidate at that time, but a better one could crop up in the future.

Not only does this increase your chances of sourcing a quality hire for future vacancies, it can also create an awesome candidate experience. Not being offered the job at the final step can be heart-breaking. But the boost you can give unsuccessful candidates by telling them you’ll keep in touch with any future roles can be encouraging – just make sure you stick to your word!

Creating a powerful and memorable candidate experience can have a lasting effect. Candidates talk after all, and if you don’t treat them properly and with respect, this can only lead to less applications for your jobs.

Businesses that prioritise their candidates’ needs and create a good experience don’t tend to struggle with their hiring efforts. And with the skills shortage still rife in the UK, attracting top quality talent to your jobs is critical – creating an awesome candidate experience can help you achieve this.

Lee Biggins

About Lee Biggins

Lee Biggins is CEO of CV-Library.
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