What is Candidate Experience? An Exclusive Guide for Agency Recruiters

It’s not anymore about sitting back and relaxing after shuffling candidates from one stage to the other. Believe it or not, recruiters have it tough!

Are your candidates interacting well enough with the entire hiring process? Is the interview process smooth enough? Is the job application too long?

Are you taking care of the small bumps on the road?

Today, these aspects are extremely significant when it comes to recruitment agencies. Your reputation on how positively you enforce candidate experience will make or break your company.

So, let’s dive right in and understand candidate experience in detail.

What is Candidate Experience?

candidate experience

In a candidate-driven job market, a positive candidate experience is essential when it comes to attracting the best talent. How good or bad a candidate feels about your recruiting agency can influence their decision to apply for a job or accept an offer.

In simpler terms, candidate experience is mostly defined as how a candidate engages with your recruiting process.

There are several components that determine this. We have listed a few—

  • The job application process
  • Screening methods used
  • The interview process
  • Candidate feedback
  • Onboarding process

Providing a bad candidate experience will not just affect your recruiting agency but also your recruitment brand.

Read more: 20+ candidate experience stats that’ll compel recruiters to take action.

Why is Candidate Experience Important?

Hiring talent is getting tougher with time and recruiters are focusing more on candidate experience because of the tangible benefits it brings.

Here are a few reasons why it’s growing increasingly popular—

  • Makes candidates more inclined to accept an offer
  • Encourages employee referrals
  • Better job application completion rates
  • Positively influences your employer brand
  • You can attract top talent and build a sustainable candidate pipeline
  • Helps you build a stronger reputation in the market
  • Will set you apart from your competitors
  • A better Return on Investment (ROI)

Today, reviews and ratings are the most relied upon when a company wants to outsource its talent requirements or when a candidate is looking for a job change. Thus, if you end up providing a bad candidate experience, your recruitment agency will accumulate the worst reviews.

Starting from promoting your client company as a desirable place to work to laying the groundwork in providing candidate feedback if they are not selected for a role, it’s the small things that add up.

Candidate Experience: 3 Key Components

candidate experience

1. Job Application

The first point of contact between a candidate and your recruitment agency is via the job application. Whether it’s through your social media platforms or your careers site, a job application that is unnecessarily lengthy will poorly affect your candidate experience.

Ensure that the job application is smooth, short, and to the point. Also, the job description that goes along with the application should be written appropriately.

Read more: How to write the best job description and 50+ ready-to-use templates.

2. Communication

Communication is by far the most noteworthy thing that candidates demand from recruiters.

Imagine a top candidate not updating you for days on a significant job role that you need to close within a stipulated time. How frustrating is that?!

It’s the same on a candidate’s end as well. How are they supposed to trust a recruitment agency that offers no communication?

Time and again, candidates keep mentioning how all they want from recruiters is better and prompt communication. Almost 63% state that recruiters don’t update them adequately at all.

The best way to go about this would be to set up automated email sequences or a text message system that updates candidates on the latest developments regarding their job applications.

Read more: 8 effective recruiters must possess to deliver the best candidate experience.

3. Interview Process

An interview process lets you know your candidates better and understand whether they’re a good fit for the job role. Setting up a structured interview process is really essential in this case.

Talk to your hiring manager and set up a smooth interviewing process. Avoid repetitive interviews with different sets of people. It doesn’t matter whether it’s an online video interview or an in-person one, make sure you’re respecting the candidate’s time and informing them about what to expect.

Post interview, it’s essential to give feedback. A delay in this process can negatively affect a candidate’s experience with your agency.

Read more: Positive candidate experience & organizational culture: How to hire top talent and keep it?

5 Simple Ways How Recruiters Can Give the Best Candidate Experience

Recently we came across a discussion on Reddit (an online discussion website), that was filled with bad experiences candidates faced while dealing with recruiters.

The subreddit (thread) is called #recruitingHell, you can check it out here:

Here Are Some Samples

candidate experience

Spelling mistakes completely kill a job description.

candidate experience
candidate experience

And another one…

candidate experience

No candidate like dealing with something like this! These mistakes are very simple to fix.

1. Approach Candidates With a Short & Professional Pitch

Candidates really don’t like useless buzzwords like a ninja or a rockstar in a job description. If you’re wondering where all those great ninjas are, they’re probably skipping your job description!

candidate experience

Being pushy like this is another way to turn people off

Candidates prefer to be approached via email because it can be checked at their leisure. We’ve created several recruiting email templates that you can use to approach potential candidates and clients.

Read more: 7 free email templates for agency recruiters.

Make sure you’re being accommodating of their time and are flexible with remote candidates especially during a time when travelling long distances for an in-person interview can be demanding.

2. Update Candidates on the Status of Their Application

Did a candidate apply for a job with your agency? Awesome! Now, you have a responsibility to—

  • Send an acknowledgment message to the candidate either by email, phone call, or SMS
  • If there is a vacancy, let them know
  • If the candidate is not a good match, politely reject them (we have an email template for this too!) Access here: Sample rejection emails recruiters can send candidates.
  • If a candidate gets shortlisted, communicate the next steps in the process very clearly
  • Help them be prepared about what’s coming next

Updating candidates frequently about their status leads to a better candidate experience! Sending an email doesn’t take a lot of time. If you use great email templates & have a good Applicant Tracking System, you can allocate just 15 minutes every day to do this like a pro.

Also, there should be a dedicated person that a candidate can reach out to when they’re facing any problems. Usage of chatbots on your website also makes a huge difference when it comes to faster communication.

Another great thing to do would be to be entirely honest about your timeline and help the candidate understand when to contact you back or a time period within which you shall reach out.

3. Write Great Job Descriptions

Six Seconds…

That’s how long a candidate will take to read your job ad!

Poor job descriptions often lead to low numbers of quality applications. A poor JD is a massive red flag to the candidate and can be very damaging to your company’s brand.

Writing appealing job descriptions are really simple, all you have to do is add the following things to the JD to make it look good—

  • Add a Clear Title

Bad example – Tech Lead

Good example – Technical Lead – iOS Developer

  • Avoid Spelling Mistakes

Spelling mistakes are nothing but embarrassments. They happen when you are in a hurry or fail to proofread, and that’s okay. You can avoid spelling mistakes by using free tools like Grammarly or Hemingway.

  • Job Summary Needs to be Direct

The summary doesn’t have to be long. A few, high-quality sentences are enough for the candidate to make a decision.

  • Mention Job Duties

These are the tasks an employee will be expected to do on a daily basis.

  • Skills, Qualifications & Requirements Should be Added

Mention the skills needed to get the job done. If the job requires special certification, be upfront about it and prevent future heartburn.

  • Salary

This point is debatable but being transparent about salary is probably the best thing to do from the very beginning. If you’re not mentioning the salary range in the job description, be honest with the candidate when they ask.

4. Easy Job Application Process

Make it easy for candidates to apply for your jobs. If you have a website then you must have a jobs page where you display all the jobs you have.

Something like this—

Be very clear about what you want the applicants to enter during the application process and do not make them include repetitive fields which are already present in their resume. Try and keep it within one page.

The entire job application process must also be mobile-friendly, especially when 90% of job seekers use their mobile phones to look for jobs.

Read more: 5 tools that’ll help recruiters provide the best candidate experience.

5. Be Honest with Your Feedback

Just as much as it’s important to give feedback to your candidates, it’s equally important to be open to receiving feedback too.

Even if the feedback about a candidate is negative, make sure you are communicating it with an affirmative tone. Similarly, if you’re receiving negative feedback, rather than focusing on the tone try utilizing it constructively.

Send a brief candidate experience survey to the candidates at the end of the hiring process. This will give you the most well-rounded insight into the interview experience.

In addition, surveying every candidate will help your team to enhance and improve the recruiting experience.

Read more: 8 free candidate experience survey questions and templates for use in 2022.

Tell us in the comments what you’re doing in order to provide a stellar candidate experience to your candidates?

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