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How to Improve Candidate Experience

10 min read.



Career Sites, SEO, Talent Attraction, Employer Branding

The talent market has been affected by major changes in recent years - so developing your brand and making sure it is integrated with the hiring process has never been more important!

A rise in demand for certain skill sets, plus new technology and working methods has led to the creation of new job roles. Changes in employment legislation have brought on more detailed hiring processes, which can be time-consuming.

What’s more, review platforms and social media sites make it easy for job seekers to share their views on the candidate experience - whether they had a good experience or a poor one. Feedback from both successful and unsuccessful candidates is published instantly, so employers must work hard to maintain a positive candidate experience - from advert to interview and beyond.

All of this means job seekers can afford to be selective when considering a career move. In many cases, they have the power to choose their employer, rather than the employer selecting them.

But what makes a great candidate experience, and how does it impact your business? If you want your company to be an attractive employment prospect, you’ll need to dedicate significant time and resources to the candidate experience.

What is Candidate Experience? 

Candidate experience describes how job seekers view an employer during the recruitment process. It takes into account all of the communication and interaction a candidate has with the employer during the application process, including:

  • Posts and reviews by other job seekers on careers websites and social media pages
  • The company website
  • The job advert and accompanying documents such as job description, role profile or person specification
  • The job application process, including the application form and any instructions
  • Interactions with the employer. This might include initial telephone calls, acknowledgement of application, confirmation of shortlisting, invitation to interview, notification of interview outcome
  • The interview process, which could be face-to-face, telephone, video-based or a combination
  • Feedback provided by the hiring manager post-interview
  • The candidate’s own perception of the interview panel

What Makes a Good Candidate Experience?

There are a few key touchpoints to consider when evaluating the candidate experience:


The advert is often your first interaction with prospective employees, so you’ll want to make a good impression. Think about why your business is great. Why is it an amazing place to work? What perks do you offer? What are the company values? All of this should be reflected within the job advert. The hiring manager should be involved in writing the advert - they have the best insight into the job role and what it is like to work within their team.

Develop a clear job description outlining the duties and responsibilities of the role. By including key details such as the job location, salary and benefits, you’ll help job seekers quickly decide whether your role is right for them.

Consider advert placement - where is your target pool of candidates most likely to look? If you’re looking for candidates working within a specific profession, you might consider a journal, website or newsletter they will have access to. For technical roles, you might use LinkedIn to target candidates with a certain skill or qualification.

However, you choose to advertise, ensure that your company website has an informative careers section. This is the first place prospective employees will look if they are interested in working for you, so make it stand out.

Application form

Accepting CVs or resumes often means you miss out on vital application information. Consider developing a bespoke application form, preferably online. Make sure it’s clear, concise and easy to navigate. Evaluate the form carefully, only including questions that are absolutely necessary. A long, drawn-out application form will discourage applicants from applying.


Effective communication is one of the best ways to create a positive candidate experience. There are a number of touchpoints to consider when evaluating communication within the recruitment process. Acknowledging receipt of applications is a simple task, but it speaks volumes when a candidate has invested time in their application.

Post interview, schedule time to contact each candidate to confirm the interview outcome. There’s nothing worse than attending an interview and never hearing back. Even if you need more time to consider your decision, update your potential hires so you don’t leave anybody hanging.

Offering feedback to interview candidates is essential, but you should also consider asking job seekers for feedback. After all, potential new hires are well placed to provide feedback on the recruitment process.

Never be tempted to ignore negative feedback. Contact the candidate to follow up on their comments. The benefits to this are twofold - the candidate feels that you are interested in their feedback and they feel valued as an applicant. Most importantly, you can use feedback to pinpoint areas for improvement and offer a better candidate experience in future.


A positive candidate experience is great for job seekers, but it can benefit your company too. Improving communication means your processes are streamlined, reducing bureaucracy and confusion during the hiring process. For example, confirming receipt of applications removes the need for candidates to call to check they’ve received their form. Small changes like this will help to save time and money in the long run.

Not sure where to start? Consider running a short candidate experience survey to collate candidate feedback on the key areas for improvement. You might also choose to survey hiring managers and recruitment staff to gather their thoughts on streamlining the process.


A well-structured interview process speaks volumes about your company. Interviewing is a skill, so make sure your hiring managers receive the right training to create a good impression - they will be the face of the business at the interview. Build-in time to offer a tour of the business or consider running an assessment centre - these activities allow hiring managers to spend more time with interview candidates, allowing them to build up a detailed picture of their suitability for the vacancy.

Candidate database

Have you ever interviewed a great candidate who just wasn’t right for the role applied for? Building up a talent pool is the best way to stay connected with these candidates. After providing feedback, ask if they’d like to connect with you on LinkedIn, invite them to future networking events and keep them in the loop with company news. If a suitable vacancy comes up, you’ll be able to streamline the hiring process by contacting them directly.

Ways to Improve Candidate Experience

With so many recruitment platforms available, nowadays you can reach a wide talent pool at the touch of a button. By offering a top-notch candidate experience, you’ll be able to attract the best quality candidates to your business. If you allow the candidate experience to slip, negative feedback from other job seekers could discourage others from applying.

You know the importance of strengthening your employer brand, but have you considered how to integrate this with the hiring process? Remember, interviewees will share their experience with friends, family, colleagues and even recruitment consultants, so make sure they have something positive to say!

Once you’ve identified a vacancy, you’ll want to fill it as fast as possible. Implementing a streamlined recruitment process is beneficial to everyone - from job applicants and existing staff to stakeholders of the overall business. The hiring process involves time and resources - the faster you can get someone into post, the sooner you can get back to normal business productivity.

Ready to improve candidate experience for your job applicants? Follow these steps to get started:

  • Develop standard operating procedures and recruitment checklists. These can be used to ensure every step of the process is followed for each candidate. You might include steps such as preparing for the interview, video screening calls and completing eligibility to work checks.
  • Consider your own experiences as a job applicant. Chances are, you’ve probably experienced good and bad hiring processes yourself. What were the pain points? Communication is the key to a positive candidate experience. Gather survey feedback from every interview candidate, whether you intend to hire them or not.
  • Involve all areas of the business in improving the candidate experience. We’ll say it again - this is not just about Personnel Services or Human Resources. If you have a dedicated Marketing or Communications team, these staff are well placed to help. Hiring managers across the board should also be briefed on the process so that they know how to manage the recruitment process.
  • Use candidate experience metrics. Doing so will ensure the data you collect is meaningful, so it can be used for reporting purposes and shaping the future hiring process. Using a reporting platform means you can compare candidate experience over time, identify trends and make improvements.

Improve the Candidate Experience with Ph.Creative

As Defenders of Happiness, we change the way people think about your company and help you thrive.

Want to create an incredible candidate experience for prospective new hires? Our strategy team is on hand to help breathe your company values into the hiring process.

Contact Ph.Creative today to find out how we can help your company create a first-class candidate experience. 

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