Want to Attract Top Talent? Focus on Candidate Experience.

Want to attract the best talent to your team? You’re going to need a great recruitment process.  

There’s one element that significantly affects your ability to hire the best-of-the-best for your team: a candidate’s experience. Expectations around the hiring process have changed significantly in the past few years, and if your organization is stuck in “the way we’ve always done it,” it may be more difficult than necessary to secure the right people for your company.  

So, what does it take to create a better-than-average process? Start by evaluating a candidate’s experience with your organization.  

What’s Included in the Candidate Experience? 

“Candidate experience” refers to how someone feels about all the interactions – job postings, application processes, interview experiences, offer negotiations and paperwork, onboarding procedures – they have with a company while applying for a job.  

Why Does Candidate Experience Matter? 

Candidates have many options and opportunities, and organizations must differentiate themselves to stand out and attract talent. When candidates have a positive experience with a company, they’re more likely to: 

  • + Accept job offers: Candidates who have a seamless, enjoyable recruitment process are more inclined to accept job offers from the organization.  
  • + Recommend the company: Satisfied candidates are more likely to speak positively about their experiences with friends, colleagues, and on social media, effectively becoming brand ambassadors. 
  • + Remain engaged with an organization: Even if a candidate isn’t selected for the role, a positive experience can encourage them to stay connected and remain open to exploring future opportunities with a company. (On the flip side, top-notch candidate experiences can also help retain your team members.) 

What Are Key Elements of a Positive Candidate Experience?

> Clear and prompt communication

By keeping transparency and clarity throughout the hiring journey, organizations can build trust and credibility with prospective candidates.  

  • +  Give prompt responses to inquiries and applications: Acknowledging when you’ve received candidates’ applications and inquiries shows respect for their time and interest in the role. Whether through automated email responses or personalized messages, timely communication sets the tone for a positive experience from the start. 
  • + Share regular updates on the process: Keeping candidates informed about their progress is crucial for managing expectations and alleviating uncertainty. Regular updates – even if there are no significant changes – show that the organization values their engagement and investment in the process. 

> User-friendly application process

A streamlined, intuitive application process can significantly enhance the candidate’s experience.  

  • + Optimize for mobile devices: With a growing number of candidates using mobile devices to search for jobs and send applications, mobile optimization is essential. Ensuring that your application platform is responsive and accessible on various devices increases convenience and accessibility for candidates. 
  • + Simplify application forms: Lengthy, complex application forms can deter candidates from completing their applications. Streamlining the process by minimizing required fields and cutting unnecessary steps can reduce friction and frustration, leading to higher completion rates. 

> Engaging job descriptions

Job postings should not only outline the responsibilities and requirements but also provide insight into company culture and values.  

  • + Highlight culture and values: In addition to outlining responsibilities and qualifications, job descriptions should reflect the organization’s unique culture and values. Incorporating language that showcases the company’s mission, vision and workplace culture helps candidates envision themselves as part of the team, fostering alignment and interest. 
  • + Set realistic expectations for the role: Clearly communicating the expectations and challenges associated with the role helps candidates make informed decisions about their fit for the position. Offering realistic insights into the day-to-day responsibilities, growth opportunities, and potential challenges ensures alignment between candidates’ expectations and the realities of the role. 

> Personalized interactions

Tailoring communications and feedback to individual candidates proves respect and appreciation for their time and effort.  

  • + Express your interest: When you find your top contender, tell them. Demonstrating your enthusiasm and genuine interest in hiring a candidate is important. It gives them a clear understanding of where they land on your list and minimizes the possibility of doubt (or your competitors) moving in and messing up your plans.  
  • + Provide tailored feedback for unsuccessful candidates: Providing constructive, personalized feedback to candidates who were not selected for the role shows respect for their efforts and interest.  
  • + Offer personalized onboarding experiences for successful candidates: Once a candidate is selected for a role, the onboarding experience sets the stage for a successful transition into the organization. Tailoring onboarding plans to match candidates’ backgrounds, skills, and career goals helps them feel valued and supported from day one, fostering engagement and retention. 

By prioritizing these elements, your company can differentiate itself as employers of choice and cultivate long-term relationships with top talent. 

Three Ways to Start Improving Candidate Experience at Your Organization

1. Gather insight to find areas for improvement

Implementing feedback surveys is a proactive approach to understanding a candidate’s experience at various stages of the recruitment process. Analyzing survey data can show trends, common pain points and opportunities to perfect the candidate journey. (And if you don’t want to reach out to former candidates, consider polling recent hires for their suggestions.) 

2. Find ways to surprise and delight candidates

Even small efforts can make a huge impact. Perhaps you create a policy to always offer interview feedback at least one day earlier than the date initially given to candidates. Maybe the standard, out-of-the-box automated email templates you’ve been using need to be run by your copywriters to inject a little more brand personality into the mix. Every effort makes a difference.

3. Demonstrate a commitment to candidate satisfaction

By acting on feedback received from surveys (and staying consistent with your efforts over time), you showcase a willingness to listen and adapt, fostering trust and goodwill among candidates and employees. 

In today’s talent-driven market, prioritizing candidate experience is not just a competitive advantage – it’s a necessity. By investing in clear communication, user-friendly processes, and personalized interactions, you can differentiate your company as employers of choice to attract (and keep) top talent.  

Need Help Hiring?

Smart, Savvy + Associates is a recruitment agency that specializes in connecting companies with marketing, communications and creative professionals at all levels, from coordinators to C-suite. Based in Vancouver, B.C., our team of marketers-turned-recruiters have an in-depth understanding of the industry and work diligently to find best-in-class talent for each search. Get started today.