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The Hiring Human Blog

7 min read

Candidate Experience in 2020: Tips for Humanizing the Recruiting Process

Nov 19, 2019 1:25:07 PM

In today's cutthroat hiring economy, a candidate’s experience during the recruiting process is everything. An average of 85% of people report that a positive or negative candidate experience can change their minds about a role or the company entirely.

As the job market continues to intensify and become increasingly competitive, providing a grade A candidate experience is a top priority for talent acquisition leaders looking to get a leg up on their competition in 2020. Candidates simply do not have time to waste with prospective employers that take too long to hire, do not communicate effectively, or make a less than appealing first impression. A memorable and unique candidate experience, however, can have a profound effect on your ability to attract, hire, and retain top talent.

This leads us to the concept of “candidate centric-recruiting” - a strategy that prioritizes candidates throughout the entire process, from start to finish. The primary focus of candidate centric-recruiting is to develop strategies around humanizing the recruiting process in order to keep candidates happy and engaged before, during, and even post-offer (or rejection). 

According to a 2018 Talent Board North American Candidate Experience Benchmark Research Report, candidates said that the top three reasons why they withdrew from the recruiting process were:

  1. Their time was disrespected during interviews (37%)
  2. Poor rapport with recruiters (32%)
  3. Process took too long (29%)

In this blog post, we’ll answer the following questions to help you develop a successful candidate experience strategy:

  • What is candidate experience?
  • What does a great candidate experience entail?
  • Why is the candidate experience important?
  • How can I improve the candidate experience?

What is Candidate Experience?


Candidate experience is a job seeker’s perception of an employer based on all points of contact during the recruitment process.

These points of contact are comprised of any communication or interaction that a candidate has with your brand messaging, software systems, and/or employees. This may include your corporate career site, communication from your applicant tracking system, your job advertisements, communication with HR professionals, team members and leadership, and even your candidate rejection or job offer. 

Improving the candidate experience involves reviewing every single touchpoint of the recruiting process to ensure that it’s smooth, positive, and enhances the employer brand.

What does a Great Candidate Experience Entail?


In general, candidates are more likely to have a positive experience with your company if the communication that they receive during the recruiting process is clear, consistent, honest, and timely.

A positive candidate experience usually results from an employer that:

  • Gives candidates a clear picture of what the application process entails
  • Provides a transparent and seamless interview experience
  • Makes their Employee Value Proposition easy to find and understand
  • Treats candidates with respect during all stages of the interview process
  • Smoothly transitions selected candidates into new employees
  • Respectfully rejects candidates

Why is the Candidate Experience Important?


Candidates start to form an opinion about your company, both as a future employer and as a business, well before they begin the application process. The way that you attract top talent is one of the most critical components of a modern talent acquisition strategy, and the way that you present your employer brand and the opportunities that you provide ultimately set the tone for the overall candidate experience. 

80–90% of talent say a positive or negative candidate experience can change their minds about a role or company.

In today’s candidate-driven market, the candidate experience that you provide deeply impacts your company’s ability to attract and hire top talent. 

How Can I Improve the Candidate Experience?


Curious how to improve the candidate experience in your own recruitment efforts? Our answer is pretty simple: Humanize the process, from start to finish. Start by auditing all of the  touch points during your recruiting process to determine where you can make improvements to the overall candidate experience.

To get you started, here are some of the most crucial touch points that are worth focusing your efforts on when it comes to creating a successful candidate experience strategy. 

Your Career Site

It’s no surprise that 65% of applicants found career sites to be helpful when researching a company. This is great news for recruiters since it means that candidates are turning to a platform where your brand has 100% control over the content. 

Diving a little deeper, the number one piece of marketing content that candidates want is a list of a company's core values (44% report they find this valuable), followed by employee testimonials and information about your company culture (both 37%). What’s your takeaway? Make it painfully easy for candidates to access the information that they value the most, starting with your website. 

Additionally, a career site that clearly defines your Employee Value Proposition, showcases your current employees, and is mobile-friendly are all great ways to impress candidates and improve their overall experience. 

The Application Process

A whopping  60% of job seekers quit in the middle of filling out online job applications because of their length or complexity. It’s imperative that you remove unnecessary steps and ensure that your application process is mobile-friendly in order to make the process as easy and friction-free as possible. Bottom line, the easier it is to apply, the wider and deeper your candidate pool will be. 

Looking for additional ways to simplify the application process and improve candidate experience?

1. Set Candidates Up for Success

Applying for a job is stressful.  To position your company as supportive and encouraging—rather than cold and intimidating—make sure that you are providing your candidates with enough information about the entire recruiting process from the very start. 

83% of candidates say that it would greatly improve their overall experience if employers set clear expectations about the recruiting process. Being transparent about your application process sets the tone for a positive candidate experience and relays to the candidate that you value their time and effort.

2. Communicate Frequently 

According to research by the Talent Board, candidates are 52% more likely to refer a company to others, apply again in the future, and also make purchases as a customer if they receive feedback on the same day as their interview.

Communication is everything. Keeping an applicant informed on their status and giving them a timeline greatly reduces their anxiety and results in a higher level of respect for your company—even if the answer is “thanks, but no thanks.” 

How you treat job candidates (the ones you hire and also the ones you do not) broadcast a clear message about your values and company culture. By offering honest and timely feedback, you improve the candidate experience and increase the odds that they will consider their experience with your brand a positive one.

The Interview Process

A LinkedIn survey found that 77% of candidates base their final decision on their interview experience. A ton of onus is put on the candidate, but interviews are a two-way conversation where your company is also being evaluated during the process. It’s crucial not to overlook the importance of an interview as an opportunity to make a lasting positive impression. This is your chance to show candidates why you're the ideal place to work.

Creating a memorable first impression during this phase is therefore critical. That’s why we created a platform that puts candidates first. Using the Turazo software, companies directly engage candidates by connecting them with current employees during one-on-one live video conversations. By allowing top candidates to connect directly with your team and your brand, you provide an authentic look into the culture, the business, and “a day in the life” of your company, which will ultimately put your company ahead of your competitors when it comes to making a first impression.

Remember that the candidate experience doesn’t end when a candidate accepts an offer or is rejected for the position. Just because a candidate didn’t make the cut for one specific position, doesn’t mean they couldn’t be a fit for a future opening. 

This is where the importance of a candidate relationship management platform comes in. By moving high-quality candidates into a talent pool or database, you continue to nurture these relationships and keep them engaged. This is a great way to make efficient and effective hires when future opportunities inevitably arise. This approach also significantly reduces recruiting costs and hiring cycles for you and leaves your candidate feeling valued and excited about you as a potential employer. 

Is Your Candidate Experience Humanized? Download the Candidate Experience Checklist!

Wrapping Up

Transforming your candidate experience to make it more “human” comes down to fulfilling three basic human needs: ensuring candidates feel heard, responded to, and respected.

When you’re dealing with a high volume of candidates, it can be challenging to create a personalized, yet streamlined experience that keeps everyone happy. However, building clear and consistent lines of communication and keeping candidates up-to-date at every step is possible. Utilizing recruitment platforms, like Turazo, ensures that your talent acquisition strategy is competitive and that your hiring team operates more efficiently and with greater success. 

Julia Falk
Written by Julia Falk

About the Author: Julia Falk is the Marketing Director at Turazo. She is also the Founder of Rolling Hill Media, a boutique digital marketing agency out of Napa, Ca, specializing in content and social media marketing, branding, and email marketing.

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