5 Essential Steps to Creating an Incredible Candidate Experience

How would you rate your company's 'candidate experience?'� Low? Average? Not really given it any thought? You need to read this blog post.

June 20, 2023

We’ve all been there.

We all know what it’s like to look for a new job.

The tension, the nervousness, the excitement - and the disappointment when things don’t work out.

But it’s our job, as recruiters, to ease that process for our candidates; to provide them with a relatively stress-free experience.

So today, I’m going to ask you to step into your candidates’ shoes and consider how you could be improving your recruitment process, with them in mind.

Why is the “candidate experience” so important?

(Other than the fact that it’s the right thing to do for your candidates…)

It will boost your employer brand, help you to attract better staff members to your business, boost your productivity and culture and make your clients love you more. (Amongst other things).

So ye - it’s pretty important.

1. Be transparent about the process.

Most people don’t like the unknown.

So it’s important that you set expectations for your candidates about the recruitment process, from day one. This will ease any self-doubt, nervousness and/or confusion.

Either within the job advert or job description or when you first contact a candidate let them know:

  • How many interview stages there will be.
  • When those interviews are likely to be held.
  • How long the process is likely to take.

And of course, if anything changes or things get held up, let them know that too.

These things are all very simple, but they could truly improve your candidates’ experience.

They will feel less stressed and more valued by your business – and they won’t feel like you’re messing them around.

2. Personalise the process.

Do you know what’s really frustrating for candidates?

Receiving stock emails like this one:

“Dear [First Name], Thank you for your application for the role of [Role]. Unfortunately, due to the huge number of applications we have received, we will not be able to take your application any further. We wish you luck in the future. Kind regards, Mark”

Now, I’m fully aware that it’s almost impossible to write a personal email to every single applicant, for every single vacancy – but for some roles, you certainly can and should.

And if not, you can definitely come up with a better automated email than that.

Add a touch of personality and show off your company’s brand, within all of your candidate communication, both positive and negative.

This will make the process seem a lot less automated – and your candidates will appreciate that.

Recruiter Pro Tip If a candidate responds to your email, asking for more feedback, don’t ignore them. This will make them feel undervalued and probably pretty frustrated! (And that means they might end up venting and leaving you an angry review on a site like Glassdoor or negative comments on social media.) Personalising communication humanises you and shows that you really care!

3. Be reachable.

Think back to our initial point: candidates don’t like the unknown.

So they’re bound to have questions and queries throughout, about the company, the role and about the process.

If you ignore them, they may start to have doubts – and they certainly won’t feel loved.

If they call you and you’re (genuinely) busy, then call them back. If they email, just drop them a quick line back. It shouldn’t take long! But it should also save you from getting harassed.

Show that you do care, you are there for them and they’ll feel like your company is one that they actually want to work for.

4. Give feedback.

You’ll have heard this time and time (and time) again.

But that’s because, unfortunately, many recruiters are still not doing it – it’s still one of the most common complaints we hear from candidates.

Mainly, because they need a reason for being rejected – they don’t want to feel like they’ve been unfairly treated. They want to understand the situation and they want to improve for the future.

Not providing any kind of feedback will probably make them feel suspicious and certainly frustrated.

At the very least you should provide feedback for everyone you interview!

But for less popular roles you should also let candidates who don’t make it to interview know why they’re not being considered.

Click here for more on why you should (always) follow up with candidates.

5. Be honest.

Finally, stop lying to your candidates!

It’s not only unethical; you’re also setting yourself up for a big fail in the future.

  • Don’t tell them you can’t offer them more money (when you definitely can).
  • Don’t tell them you can offer them X, Y and Z (when you definitely can’t).
  • Don’t tell them they were “perfect” if they weren’t.

These are three of the most common lies and they are SO annoying.

Honestly, you’d be surprised how many people approach me, just months after starting at a new company and say they’re leaving because “it’s not what was promised to me.”

And that just means you’ve wasted time and (a lot of) money.

A little bit of honesty could go a long way!


So as you can see, the above steps essentially come down to three key things:

  • Great Communication.
  • Honesty.
  • Being human.

If you do that, then your candidate experience should be pretty incredible.

And the best thing is; there are so many companies out there NOT doing these things that you’ll really stand out in the crowd – people will want to work for you!

If in doubt, think back to when you were a job-seeker. What would you want and expect?

If you’d like to receive a weekly update like the one above, please feel free to subscribe to our HR and recruitment blog here.

Good luck.

Coburg Banks - Multi-Sector Recruitment Agency
We help great people get brilliant jobs in top companies.