7 Ways to Improve the Candidate Experience

If candidates are rejecting your competitive job offers, you’re not alone. In this tight job market, it happens more than you think. The question is: why does it happen—and how can you turn things around? 

Chances are, your recruiting process may be part of the problem. According to a survey by PwC, nearly half (49%) of 10,000 respondents reported declining job offers due to poor candidate experience.

After all, while you’re evaluating candidates, they’re returning the favor. Poor communication, a seemingly-interminable process—any number of factors can alienate applicants, and they can afford to be picky! 
Now is a great time to improve the way candidates experience your recruiting process. You only have one chance to make a first impression—here’s how to make sure it’s a good one.  


1. Streamline Your Application Process        

According to SHRM, every recruiter should periodically complete their own online job application to see how long it takes and what it feels like. That’s because 92% of almost-applicants bail on applications that are too long or hard to complete. 

Plus, make sure your app is mobile-friendly. More jobhunters are applying by smartphone—even though it takes longer (and abandonment rates are higher). Don’t give candidates reason to decide you’re too hard to work with before they even apply.


2. Speed It up, Buttercup

Of course, you want to screen applicants thoroughly. In addition, sometimes, it takes some doing to get all the decision-makers on the same page. But when prospective employers drag the process out too long—say, beyond a month—candidates lose interest or accept other, more timely offers.

Consider using your applicant tracking system’s reporting function to analyze your process. How long does it take to hire, on average? How many steps are involved? The answers are your roadmap for simplifying and speeding things up. 


3. Communicate Every Step of the Way 

Often, a negative candidate experience is grounded in poor communication. When someone takes the time to complete your application and take an interview, don’t they deserve to know where they stand? 

Make sure your hiring process includes letting applicants know what’s next in the process or if they’re still in the running. Be transparent. It shows that you respect your candidates, even if you choose someone else. Plus, it protects your reputation as a quality employer.   


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4. Plan Wow-worthy Interviews 

One dismal interview is enough to alienate some candidates—and sometimes, it’s more than bad chemistry. For example, an American Staffing Association survey found that inappropriate questions were the top dealbreaker for job seekers!   

Needless to say, employers should ensure that their HR personnel and managers are skilled, thoroughly-trained interviewers. Beyond that, interviews are an opportunity to showcase what you have to offer. Make it part of your plan to impress every applicant. Show them why they want to be on your team.   


5. Bend Over Backwards for Long-Distance Interviewees 

  • If you like a candidate enough to fly them in from afar, go the extra mile throughout their stay. Give them a warm welcome; host a reception in their honor. This is your chance to sell them on your company, culture and city—all of which help you get to “yes.”

    Therefore, book your guests at a great hotel. Show them the town. If they’re seriously thinking about relocating, they’ll want to know everything about your area: housing costs, schools, and the lowdown on commuting. It’s in your interest to curate their experience.  


6. Reimburse Travel Expenses Promptly 

How long does it take you to reimburse candidates for their travel expenses? Four weeks? Six weeks? That’s pretty standard—but makes a terrible statement. Finding a way to reimburse travel expenses promptly will enhance your candidate’s experience and help you stand apart. 

If your in-house accounting process can’t make it happen, consider outsourcing this function. For example, Candidate by UrbanBound ensures applicants are reimbursed in one week or less, while creating a dialogue and showcasing your company and city.


7. Give Candidates What They Want 

Finally, when you’re extending a job offer, offer candidates what they want—beyond competitive compensation. Great work/life balance. Meaningful benefits (including stellar relocation benefits, when applicable). Opportunities for advancement. 

These are the hallmarks of a warm, caring employer—and that’s what candidates really want to experience. The better you can convey this, the more impressed and intrigued your candidates will be. Every step of the way.

Human Resources Today