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How to Create a Positive Candidate Experience

Developing a positive candidate experience is key to taking down your help wanted sign. 

Hiring isn’t an easy process. It’s stressful for both HR professionals and candidates. Job seekers are hoping to find a job that meets their expectations for compensation, career development, cultural fit, etc. Organizations invest considerable time and resources in finding the right fit for their team.

As a staffing and recruiting company, every day we come into contact with candidates applying for a variety of positions at companies across the country. These candidates have an increasing amount of power in promoting our employer brand to other potential candidates. If they have a bad experience, they may speak out on our Glassdoor page, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or just by plain word of mouth.

According to Talent Board’s 2013 Candidate Experience survey, which surveyed 46,000 candidates, 96.9 percent of candidate who had a positive experience would refer someone to their company. Most candidates (59.5 percent) have some pre-disposition towards the employer (mostly positive), which suggests that positive association is the employer’s to lose. Most candidates (51 percent) that have a positive experience will share it on social media, and even more (82 percent) will share it with their circle of friends.

Attracting the best candidates is always the goal of recruiting and hiring, so focusing on creating a positive candidate experience is imperative to improving your employer brand. Though your organization is putting plenty of resources into finding the right candidates for your open positions, taking the time to ensure that your recruiting and hiring process isn’t a mess is an easy way to improve your reputation as an employer. Candidates can be your assets if you provide them with a fair and positive experience from day one

Here are our quick tips on creating a positive candidate experience, from recruitment to the first day on the job:

  1. Communication: It seems elementary, but communication is where recruitment experiences can go sour. Being transparent and honest can go a long with in the candidate’s eyes. Explain every step in the hiring process to applicants. Meet deadlines you’ve established. If something goes wrong or is taking longer than expected, communicate that immediately to the applicant.

  2. Be Mindful of Time: Job seeking candidates are busy people too. Keep phone calls and emails to the point. See if you can cut down on the time it takes to apply for a position at your organization. If you can’t cut any more out of your application, tell candidates up front how long it should take to apply. Candidates will appreciate that you being transparent and valuing their time.

  3. Get Feedback from Candidates: Who best to provide feedback on the hiring process than the candidates themselves? Implementing a feedback process, such as a survey or questionnaire, can help your organization fine tune your process. According to Talent Board, only 31.2 percent of the organizations surveyed reported asking candidates for feedback. Sometimes it’s hard to put yourself in the candidates shoes, so let them help you! Use a service like SurveyMonkey if you want to keep things anonymous or use Google Forms to quickly create a questionnaire.At RGBSI, we recently implement a new hire survey that covers everything from recruitment to how reception greeted the candidate. Our responses have been mostly positive – great news for our HR department. However, the feedback we’ve received is invaluable since it comes directly from our candidates.

  4. Keep the Candidate Experience Front and Center: We’ve all been on the other side of the hiring process. Designing a hiring process from the applicant’s point of view can help elevate unrealistic expectations. Ask yourself what the candidate would think or do in during the application process. If it helps, role play when you design your process.

  5. Be Attentive and Welcoming: During the hiring process, you’re basically courting candidates, and making a good impression is important. Don’t overlook the small details - anything you can do to make them feel comfortable can make a positive impression on your candidate is a win.If they interview in person, make sure they’re greeted warmly. Offer coffee, tea, water, a snack. Make sure your team is attentive and engaged when they meet the candidate. They’re interviewing you just as much as you’re interviewing them. Even you find that a candidate isn’t the right fit, you still want them to leave thinking highly of your organization.

Hiring is a tricky process that has the greatest impact your organization’s future. Ensuring that you pay attention to the candidate’s experience can vastly improve your organization’s reputation and employer brand. Candidates who are hired after positive experiences are more likely to be productive right from the get go, already committed to your organization’s goals. Those candidates who are not hired walk away from a positive experience feeling respected and appreciated. Candidates are your greatest asset in attracting great talent – don’t alienate them!

Read more: Infographic: 5 Tips to Create a Positive Candidate Experience


At RGBSI, we implement the tips outlined above and would love to help you streamline your hiring process. Our recruiters are seasoned professionals who enjoy working alongside candidates to find the right fit. Check out our staffing and recruiting services if you’re interested in learning more.

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