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Candidate Experience

Published 11th Jan 2022

From creating the job advert to interview feedback, find out how to improve your candidate’s experience, provide a positive first impression and how a negative experience can affect your business.

Today’s job market is extremely challenging, and it seems that candidates currently have the upper hand when job searching. There is a high shortage of workers and skills in most sectors, resulting in there being more jobs than workers at this current time. So it’s important you are taking all the right steps to ensure you’re offering a positive experience for your candidates from beginning to end as your competition to attract the best talent will be higher than ever.


What is Candidate Experience?

Candidate experience is the perception of the job seeker around a recruitment process. Ultimately, it’s the experience of how candidates distinguish the overall hiring process, from the first point of contact to the job offer. A candidate’s journey begins with the first sight of the job advert so it’s vital you set a good impression.

• Job advert – How the advert is presented
• Company search – Your visibility online
• Application – Is it a seamless process?
• Communication – Regular communication between you and them
• Interview – Face-to-face, video or phone call
• Feedback – How the interview went and did they get any feedback from you
• Job offer – Whether or not they got the job


What makes a positive experience for the candidate?

Good communication
Regularly communicating with your candidates will help keep them engaged throughout the process as it can feel tedious waiting for the interview date, next steps etc. and especially if the candidate has to do all the chasing.

Regular feedback
Always give feedback throughout the process, whether that’s from interview preparation or next steps. Highlight what they have done well and what could be improved.

Be transparent
Be clear when discussing the job role, go into as much specific detail about the role as you possibly can. If you don’t, the employee expectations may not be met if the role is different to what was discussed.


Why is it important?

It’s important for so many reasons because having a negative candidate experience can be a real deal-breaker for your business in the long term as it will cause a bad reputation. Usually, companies push this to the back of their priorities but it’s the one thing that can really affect people wanting to work for you.

Social media has become such a big part of companies reputations when it comes to hiring and most candidates will look at your online presence and comments being made from other candidates and this can have a big impact on a job seekers decision whether to apply.

Candidates have the power when applying for roles and attending interviews, remember this. If the employer doesn’t set great standards or provide a great experience it will reflect on who will accept a position and your employer brand.

A bad experience will drive talent away whilst providing a great experience will attract top talent and their comments will help to attract even more to your business.


Stages of Candidate Experience

Job advert – Having a great advert is the first step in the door to catching the candidate’s eye, the simpler and more realistic the advert the better it will reflect your business.

Company searches – Your reputation online contributes a lot to someone’s reasoning whether to apply to your company. If you have had a lot of unanswered negative feedback/reviews around your business it’s unlikely a great candidate will apply.

Application – Ensure your application process is seamless, if an application is super long-winded candidates will easily get fed-up and leave it unfinished.

Communication – Having regular communication with your candidates is a deal-breaker, it will make them feel in the know and build a trustworthy relationship.

Interview – Make the interview a safe space for the candidate this will allow you to get the most out of candidates and see a true representation of them. The more you relax a candidate at an interview the more of the real candidate you will see which will help you decide if there is a great match for them in your business.

Feedback – Nearly all candidates want to hear feedback from the interviewer, whether it’s positive or constructive feedback about something else they could have delivered to you.

Job offer – Whether or not they got the job it’s important that you communicate this rather than leaving candidates out in the cold and likewise if you say you will keep a candidate in mind for future roles, you stick to it.


How to measure  
  1. Collect feedback from applicants

Ask candidates to fill in a short survey on how they found their experience and what they liked and if they would have liked anything else in your candidate process.

  1. Ask your current employees 

What they think could improve about the process, examples from their past businesses or opportunities they previously applied for and also what experiences they didn’t like and should avoid in your candidate journey.

  1. Check your socials 

Check out what candidates are saying on your social feeds and respond as well as actively take on board any feedback to improve your process.


Typical feedback on company socials:

“It was such a complicated process”

“The application took me hours”

“Went for an interview 2 weeks ago and still not heard back”

“Company made false promises about the role”

Could these be about your business?


Don’t hesitate to get in touch, it’ll be great to chat.

We have supported many businesses in 2021 to re-design their recruitment process and worked with them on their candidate journey.  If this is something you feel we could help you with then please give us a call and speak to Ian on 0161 828 8726.  For more information on these and the many consultancy services, we can offer visit our Consultancy Services – McCarthy Recruitment page.



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