#8 Ingredients for a great candidate experience

You should be aware that every candidate you interview is likely to share their experience with others. It's human nature, which is why prioritizing a positive candidate experience is crucial.

A few slip-ups can create the impression of disorganization in your company to the wider world, and once that perception takes hold, it's challenging to change. Here are 8 ingredients for a great candidate experience that you can consider. Let’s find out with Recruitery!


What is the Candidate Experience?

Although there is no official definition for the candidate experience, it commonly refers to how job applicants perceive and respond to the various aspects of the recruitment, screening, hiring, and interview processes. It can be gauged through candidate feedback collected via questionnaires, employee retention rates, and employee referrals.

In the past, many employers didn't pay significant attention to the overall quality of the candidate experience during their hiring processes, as the consequences of a poor experience were relatively low. If an applicant had a negative experience with an employer, the outcomes were typically limited to:

  • Unwillingness to reapply.

  • Potential loss of customer loyalty (if applicable).

  • Sharing their experiences with close friends and family.

However, in the age of social media and the internet, candidates now possess the power to share their experiences and emotions with a wide and highly relevant audience, particularly future candidates. If a candidate is treated poorly, they can post negative reviews about the company on multiple online platforms.

Furthermore, thanks to the pervasive influence of social media, candidates' social networks have expanded significantly. Platforms like Twitter and Facebook enable candidates to reach a large number of people within their circles and even beyond. This amplification can cause far more damage to a brand compared to the pre-internet era.

Conversely, a positive recruitment experience can lead to more and higher-quality applicants, ultimately resulting in better hires. Satisfied employees and candidates are more likely to refer qualified candidates and potentially even customers. Enhanced recruitment experiences can help reduce hiring costs and the time to fill open positions.

Why is Candidate Experience Important?

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Consider candidate experience in a manner similar to customer experience. If your organization provided poor service to customers, addressing it would likely be a top priority, right? How you treat your candidates reflects directly on how you treat your employees, and both aspects significantly impact your overall business performance.

Let's delve into why a positive candidate experience is ultimately beneficial for business:

  • A positive candidate experience makes top talent more inclined to join your team.

  • Conversely, a poor candidate experience repels top talent.

  • Candidates and employees share their experiences. Negative encounters with your company can be disseminated on platforms like Glassdoor, Indeed, LinkedIn, and through word of mouth.

  • Negative talk about your company harms your employer brand and hinders the recruitment of top talent.

  • A positive experience sets candidates off on the right foot and makes them feel valued and part of a caring team.

This last point is crucial for understanding the immediate advantages of a positive candidate experience. Employees want to feel welcome, supported, and part of a team that values their well-being and growth.

Providing a positive candidate experience directly benefits both companies and employees by:

  • Increasing long-term retention rates.

  • Fostering employee loyalty.

  • Enhancing engagement and commitment to achieving results.

  • Cultivating a strong organizational culture.

  • Reducing costs associated with attrition and high employee turnover.

In addition to these tangible business benefits, job seekers now expect a positive experience when interacting with a company. They are willing to explore other opportunities if their experience is unsatisfactory.

Here are a couple of candidate experience statistics that underscore this point:

  • 69% of candidates will never reapply to a company after a negative experience.

  • 72% of candidates who have a negative experience will share it with others.

Clearly, candidate experience is of utmost importance. However, what constitutes a "good" or "bad" experience?

What Constitutes a Poor Candidate Experience?

Think about what job seekers typically expect from a company: clear communication, efficiency, friendly interactions, and honest feedback.

Conversely, negative candidate experiences involve:

  • Poor communication or unresponsiveness from the employer.

  • A complicated and time-consuming job application process.

  • Difficulty completing the application on their preferred device.

  • Unpleasant interviews with unfriendly or disinterested staff.

  • No chance to ask questions or learn more about the company.

  • No opportunity to provide feedback on the process.

Gone are the days when a company's brand alone can attract top talent. In reality, candidates have just as much power to say, "I'm not interested."

The repercussions of a bad candidate experience range from missing out on top talent to potentially losing valuable employees due to a misalignment between the hiring process promises and the actual work environment.

8 Ingredients for a great candidate experience


1. Keep Candidates Informed

Always maintain clear communication with candidates, informing them of what to expect next. From the initial "we received your resume" email, keep them updated at every stage. Send reminder emails, express gratitude, and respond promptly.

2. Delight Candidates

Surprise and delight your candidates with thoughtful gestures. For instance, consider sending a driver to transport candidates to their interviews or assign a dedicated "candidate concierge" to ensure their needs are met.

3. Prompt Rejection Notifications

Send rejection emails promptly once you decide not to proceed with a candidate. It's better to provide honest feedback than to send nothing. Many candidates genuinely appreciate this gesture. The proof of their appreciation? Over 25% of the candidates I reject now send me a "thank you" just for informing them.

4. Implement a Structured Interview Process

Employ a structured interview process, where each interview serves a specific purpose and every candidate undergoes the same set of interviews. This approach streamlines decision-making, prevents redundancy in interview questions, and minimizes the number of interviews required. Greater efficiency and speed lead to success.

5. Gather Candidate Feedback


Send candidates a survey about 30 days after they exit your hiring process. This will provide valuable insights into your recruitment process. Candidates in the running for a position may not provide honest feedback, and 30 days allows rejected candidates to offer feedback without bitterness.

Keep the survey concise, perhaps with five questions: Overall experience assessment, helpful and hindering factors, interviewer performance, understanding of strengths and weaknesses, likelihood of recommending your company, and reapplication interest.

6. Challenge Candidates

Top candidates value challenges. As long as the questions are relevant, a rigorous interview process underscores that your company sets high standards and is committed to hiring exceptional talent.

7. Train Your Team

The conduct of your interviewers can either attract or deter candidates. Organize brief (30-45 minute) training sessions to enhance their interviewing skills and ensure they can effectively respond to common candidate questions.

8. Include Support Staff

Incorporate your receptionist or interview coordinator as part of your interview team. They can offer valuable feedback on candidates' behavior when they believe they are not being observed. Did the candidate interact politely or condescendingly with the coordinator? Did they exhibit diligence in responding to emails?

Candidate experience plays a crucial role in cultivating a strong employer brand and attracting top-tier talent. Though it may demand added focus and evaluation, be sure not to overlook these seven aspects. Recruitery believes that 8 ingredients for a great candidate experience can alleviate candidate anxiety and enhance the overall candidate experience.