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How to Improve Candidate Experience During Recruitment

You probably spend a lot of time thinking about the types of candidates you want to attract. Motivated, passionate professionals at the top of their respective fields. People who mesh with your organizational culture, and who understand and embody your company’s mission and values. And while that’s all well and good, it’s important to spend some time thinking about the candidate experience, too. Otherwise, you’ll never find those dream candidates at all.

The candidate experience during the recruitment process makes all the difference when it comes to a prospective employee deciding to sign on the dotted line. It has very real, data-driven effects on recruiting. And here’s the good news: There are things you can do to improve the candidate experience if you find yours is lacking.

Let’s discover what the candidate experience is and why it’s so important. Then, we’ll discuss how to improve the personalized candidate experience you’re offering, and how a staffing partner may be able to help.

What is the Candidate Experience?

What is the candidate experience, exactly? It’s how job seekers perceive your recruitment cycle – and how they react to it. The candidate experience encompasses the entire process from attracting, sourcing, recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and onboarding. Essentially, it covers the moment a candidate finds your job posting all the way through to when they’re being onboarded.

When a candidate feels they’ve had a good experience throughout the recruitment process, they’ll feel like their time has been respected – not wasted. And they’ll feel that they’ve been communicated with transparently. Even if they’re not hired for the job, they can look back on the recruitment process in a positive light.

Why is the Candidate Experience Important in Recruiting? 

To put it simply, the candidate experience says everything about your organization’s reputation. You want your recruiting experience to stand out, even for candidates who don’t ultimately get the job offer.

This works in two directions. If a candidate has a great experience but doesn’t get the job, they’re still likely to reapply with your company for other roles in the future or apply to that same role if it opens again later. On the other hand, if they have a poor experience, they’re more likely to complain about it to peers, colleagues, and even friends and family. Consider this: According to data from Talent Board Candidate Experience, 51% of candidates share positive recruitment feedback online, and one in three candidates share negative experiences.

Impact on Conversion Rates

Creating a positive candidate experience boosts your conversion rates. When candidates have a good experience, they’re that much more likely to keep applying at your company, even if they don’t get the job the first time. And because responsiveness is so important to candidates in the recruitment cycle (we’ll learn more about that in a moment), companies can capitalize on that. Companies who improved their candidate experience by automating parts of the cycle through email automation or chatbots have seen a 15% higher conversion rate on their career sites, and a 23% decrease in cost-per-hire.

Effects on Retention

74% of candidates who rate their experience with a company as “great” say that they’ll strengthen their relationship with the company by applying again, referring others, or making purchases (if possible). That kind of impact on retention – getting candidates to stay engaged with your company even if they’re passed up for a job – is huge. Remember, first impressions are important. When candidates feel they’re respected, listened to, and kept in the loop throughout their first interactions with your company, you’re setting up a good relationship throughout the candidate’s employment. If you make candidates feel valued through the recruitment process, you’re assuring them you’ll value them once they’ve been hired, too.

What Makes for a Good Candidate Experience?

You might be thinking that your company’s candidate experience could use a little improvement. And that’s okay. There are plenty of things you can do to make the candidate experience a better one for the people applying to your open positions.

Concise Job Descriptions

Think about this: Your job description is often the very first thing a candidate will interact with when it comes to your company. That’s why making a clear, concise job description is so important. You want to clearly outline the job responsibilities and the qualifications you’re looking for. It’s also important to post the salary range in the job description so the candidate isn’t left wondering – this will save both you and the candidate a lot of time.

Remember to keep it concise. According to a survey from hiring software company Greenhouse, more than 70% of job seekers will not complete a job application if it takes longer than 15 minutes to complete. Candidates won’t even bother finishing if they feel like the process takes too long, so keep things as brief as you can.

Ease of Application Process

Give clear application instructions detailing exactly what the candidate needs to do as they’re applying for your job. If at all possible, don’t force candidates to make an account in your system in order to apply; this turns off many candidates straight away. Keep the application process to one page, saving candidates from clicking through an entire sequence and getting lost in the process. Last but not least: Make the process mobile-friendly, because many of your applicants will be applying on-the-go from their phones.

Employer Responsiveness

One of the most important parts of creating a great candidate experience is being responsive. For a candidate, there’s nothing worse than applying into a black hole. And it’s a widespread problem: According to a 2022 Greenhouse Candidate Experience Report, over 75 percent of candidates have been ghosted by an employer after an interview.

Provide status updates throughout the candidate experience, even if they’re automated through email or text. Keeping the applicant in the loop is the best way to keep them satisfied and engaged in the process. It also boosts your reputation as an employer who really cares about the experience your candidates have.

How Partnering with DAHL Can Help

Want help creating a positive candidate experience? Turn to a recruiting partner. DAHL Consulting can work with you to improve and streamline your candidate experience throughout the recruitment process. (We discuss this in even more detail in our blog post, Acing the Candidate Experience.) And because we source candidates for you, a lot of the heavy lifting is taken off your plate – you can rest assured we’re providing a great experience for candidates before they reach you.

Consistent Onboarding Process

A solid onboarding process is absolutely key to a great candidate experience. Those first days as a candidate is getting to know your company can make or break their entire employment. Included in DAHL’s onboarding process is background screening, equipment preparation for candidates prior to their start date, and communication to ensure the candidate is ready for the first day. That means candidates are set up for success before onboarding even begins, making it that much more likely the placement will be successful.

Maintaining Communication After Onboarding

DAHL doesn’t just find you candidates to fill roles and then exit the process. We make it a point to maintain communication with candidates after onboarding, ensuring that talent and hiring managers are happy with the fit. In fact, it’s the final step in our rigorous 12-step process. Learn more about DAHL Talent Team’s Solutions here.

Create a Positive Candidate Experience with DAHL Consulting Today!

It can’t be overstated how important the candidate experience is when it comes to attracting, hiring, and even retaining top talent. When candidates have a good experience throughout the recruitment process, they’re likely to apply for jobs with your company again, even if they don’t secure the role the first time. They’re also more likely to recommend your company to colleagues and friends. On the other hand, candidates who have a bad experience are likely to turn to social media and sites like Glassdoor to leave negative reviews, which can harm your reputation in your market.

Creating a positive candidate experience in recruitment involves staying in close communication, making the application process easy, utilizing concise, clear job descriptions, and making the onboarding process simple. That way, job seekers don’t feel cast aside as they pursue a role with your company, and they are able to be the motivated professional you need them to be.

A recruiting partner can help with all of this – that’s where DAHL Consulting comes in. For more information about our professional staffing services, get in touch with one of DAHL’s talent acquisition specialists. We look forward to learning more about your needs and finding the right solution for your company.