How to Improve Candidate Experience [2023 Updated]

candidate experience

Do you provide a great candidate experience? Why should you improve candidate experience?

The current hiring industry is candidate-driven. What does that mean?

You don’t pick talent anymore, talent picks you.

That’s why it’s important to provide a positive candidate experience to win the right talent. Bad candidate experience will make candidates lose respect for you. Still, some recruiters don’t understand its importance.

Here’s the List of 10 Ways to Improve Candidate Experience

  1. Write clear job descriptions
  2. Improve your application process
  3. Set expectation about the process
  4. Send rejection email or interview invite emails ASAP
  5. Talk to candidates before asking them to take a test
  6. Give candidates information about what to expect at in-person interviews
  7. Become an interview pro
  8. Respond fast after the final round
  9. Be open to giving and receiving feedback
  10. Maintain candidate relationship

What is Candidate Experience?

You’ve probably heard a lot about the term “Candidate experience”. It’s one of the most important HR buzzwords in a modern recruiting and hottest topic in recruitment marketing.

In simple terms, candidate experience is a perception of a candidate about an employer, based on the interaction during the complete recruitment process. This may include something as simple as a phone call or an email to the user-experience on the careers page of the company website.

Let’s imagine a scene! A candidate applied for a job opening through your career page and receive confirmation email. One or two weeks pass, and there is still no response from your company. The candidate feels frustrated and they may complain to their family, friends or even colleagues.

They may even write a negative review of your company’s Glassdoor profile. Either way, their attitude towards your company is now negative.

Every interaction a candidate has with your company affects their experience. Always try to provide an amazing experience at each of the recruiting phases.

Look at these stats to know the importance of candidate experience:

Why Candidate Experience Is So Important

Here, you’ll find some candidate experience statistics that will help you to understand the importance of candidate experience in 2020.

81% of candidates responded that employers who continuously communicate the status updates improve the candidate experience. (Source)

80% of candidates said when faced with two similar employment offers, they would turn down the one that didn’t offer flexible working. (Source)

60% of job seekers have had a bad candidate experience. (Source)

bad candidate experience

77% of job seekers consider a company’s culture before applying for a job. (Source)

89% believe it’s important for an employer to have a clear mission and purpose — one that’s easy to find on a job posting. (Source)

54% of candidates said having a choice of work location is more important to me than working for a prestigious company. (Source)

Organizations that invest in a strong candidate experience improve the quality of their new hires by 70 percent. (Source)

87 percent of talent says a positive interview experience can change their mind about a role or company they once doubted. (Source)

80 percent of candidates who experience an unsatisfactory recruitment process revealed that they openly tell people about their experience, and a third of these candidates will do so proactively. (Source)

bad reputation

69% of candidates would not accept a job in a firm with a bad reputation even if they wouldn’t have a job. (Source)

In the next section, you’ll find 10 proven strategies for improving your candidate experience.

10 Techniques to Improve the Candidates Experience

How can you make the candidate experience a priority and improve your hiring process? Here are 10 proven tips.

1. Write clear job descriptions

Writing a clear job description that attracts candidates is the very first step in finding, attracting, and hiring the right candidate.

One thing that you must remember: even if candidates know the industry’s buzzwords, it’s best to keep job descriptions as clear and jargon-free as possible.

A Talent Board report said that job description is the most important job-related content that candidates look for when researching a job.

Don’t mention the endless list of requirements, only mention ‘must-have’ requirements.

Candidates also want to know about the salary range, perks, and company values.

2. Improve your application process

Your career page is the best representation of your company and a great place to showcase your current jobs, life at your company, and how you treat your employees.

An employer’s career site is important for getting key information, according to 89 percent of job seekers. (Source)

A career site can help deliver an optimal experience to curious candidates.

Also, make your application process simple and quick. According to research, 60 percent of job seekers quit in the middle of filling out online job applications because of their length or complexity.

Evaluate your application process and consider asking only what you really need from candidates at this first point of contact.

“Apply with LinkedIn” is a great option for making applications more convenient.

Recommended Article: A Buyer’s Guide to Applicant Tracking Systems [2022]

3. Set expectation about the process

83% of candidates say it would greatly improve their overall experience if employers could set expectations about the recruiting process.

If you want to deliver a great candidate experience, you must set expectations about your recruiting process.

Be transparent with timing. One of our attendees told that Amazon’s whole recruiting process takes just six days.

Offer resources to help candidates. Google has a complete page “How We Hire”, a detailed page that tells everything about their recruiting process.

Create a series of emails (based on different stages of recruitment process) that will keep candidates interested and engaged.

4. Send rejection email or interview invite emails ASAP

52% of job seekers stated that the No. 1 frustration during the overall job search is the lack of response from employers.

Don’t leave them out in the dark, make sure to communicate with your candidates regularly and on time.

Getting back to candidates promptly, with either good news or bad, will demonstrate that you value their time.

Send rejection emails or interviews invite emails from a human email address, not from a generic [email protected] email address. Here are some of the best recruiting email templates

5. Talk to candidates before asking them to take a test

Assignments and tests are a great way to test candidates’ skills and make the right choice. But it’s best to talk to people before asking them to commit more time to your recruiting process.

It makes them more comfortable and helps you scale down the number of candidates you ask to spend extra time on assignments or tests.

Provide clear assignment instructions and make yourself available to answer any clarification questions they may have.

6. Give candidates information about what to expect at in-person interviews

Send a calendar invite with as much information as possible, like time, concern person name and position, clear agenda, etc.

Mention some extra information in the invitation email:

  • How many interviewers a candidate will be meeting with.
  • How long the interview will take.
  • Office dress code, if any.
  • Should they check-in at the reception desk?
  • Parking area, if your office is located in a busy area.

7. Become an interview pro

Getting the interview right will win you top talent while getting it wrong can hurt your recruiting efforts.

According to LinkedIn research, 83% of talent say a negative interview experience can change their mind about a role or company they once liked.

Want to become an interview pro? Here are some tips shared in our HR round-table:

  • Offer candidates some water or coffee to make them feel welcomed.
  • Respect their time and start the interview on time.
  • Explain your interview process.
  • Offer candidates a chance to learn about the role and your company culture
  • Avoid multitasking during the interview.
  • Ask them to take you through their career journey.
  • Thank candidates for their time and tell them when you’ll get in touch with them.
  • If possible, simply walk around your workspace after interviews and give candidates a glimpse into your culture.

8. Respond fast after the final round

If you have to reject a candidate, send them a clear rejection message. It’s better than giving candidates the silent treatment. Share your positive feedback and constructive criticism.

Wish candidates well, offer to keep in contact and, if you think they would be a good candidate for future roles, tell them that you will consider them in the future.

9. Be open to giving and receiving feedback

According to LinkedIn, 94 % of talent wants to receive interview feedback. 

Constructive feedbacks help candidates grow as professionals. Make sure to provide feedback for candidates that you didn’t hire. If you do this, they will be more likely to consider your company for a future opportunity.

Don’t just give feedback, ask for it too! Because recruiting is a two-way process. Ask the candidate how they felt about the process. Their inputs will help you to improve your recruiting process.

10. Maintain candidate relationship

There’s a misconception: a candidate’s experience ends when you decide not to hire them.

It’s not true!

Candidates that couldn’t make for this position may be a perfect fit for some other future openings.

Maintaining relationships with high-quality candidates can significantly reduce recruiting and hiring cycles.

Applicant Tracking Systems can help you to build your talent pool. And when a need arises, use this pool to search for perfect-match candidates.

Add them to your recruiting email campaigns. Organize talent networking meetups and invite candidates from your talent pool.


What is a great candidate experience?

In simple words, “how a candidate feels about your company based on how you treat them in your hiring process.” 

And their “feelings”, influence candidates in their decision to apply to your company or accept your job offer.

How do you provide candidates with a positive interview experience?

In this article, you’ll find some proven candidate experience best practices to provide a positive interview experience to your candidates.

Why is the candidate experience important?

Bad candidate experience will make candidates lose respect for you. A better experience encourages them to share their good feelings with others, helping build up your authority.

How do you measure candidate experience?

Asking for a candidate’s feedback on your interview process gives you more insight into key areas to work on and it will also give the candidates a voice.

Do you have any other tips to improve the candidate experience? Just drop your thoughts in the comment section.

Originally published on Feb 11, 2020 02:33 PM, updated Feb 05 2021

Pawan Kumar

I'm a Content Marketer at Springworks. I've been featured in many reputed publications and online magazines! I'm an avid reader and movie buff. Let's connect on Social Media.

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