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Improve the Candidate Experience Fast With These 7 Strategies

From chatbots to one-way video interviews, these seven recruiters share their top tips for improving the candidate experience.

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Recruiting is littered with buzzwords that can lack real meaning to those charged with doing the work. 

That’s why it’s tempting to dismiss “candidate experience.” 

Our advice? Don’t.

Candidate experience is how an applicant feels about you as an employer. It’s the sum of all the interactions they had with you when applying for a job at your company. 

Get it wrong and applicants are far more likely to tell others not to apply to your organization.

Get it right and 87% of people will change their mind about a role or company they once doubted.

The key takeaway: focusing on candidate experience can be your competitive advantage.

If you’re not sure where to start, here are seven tips from seven recruiters who spend their time in the recruitment trenches.

1. Use AI Screening Software

A long and cumbersome hiring process is one of the main things to avoid. 

Candidates lose interest in a company if they are required to jump through too many hoops and face a drawn-out hiring decision.

It’s why 57% of candidates say the most frustrating part of the job search is the long wait.

Darrell Rosenstein, the founder of the Rosenstein Group, recommends using AI screening software to automatically match job requirements and qualified candidates. 

A quick turnaround in shortlisting candidates means that you can get in touch with them faster, and therefore screen, interview, and ultimately fast track the final hiring decision. 

"Another benefit of using AI screening software to improve candidate experience is that it reduces bias in the recruitment process, giving candidates an equal chance at being hired."
Darrell Rosenstein
Darrell Rosenstein


2. Use Chatbots to Stay In Touch With Candidates

Paul French is the owner of Intrinsic Search. Based on the feedback he receives from candidates, real-time communication is essential to a positive recruitment process.

He’s tried to meet this need by leveraging chatbots to provide close to real-time communication and feedback. This keeps applicants engaged throughout the entire recruitment process.

His firm’s chatbot answers frequently asked questions and even gives feedback that candidates require in the early stages of the hiring process.

"By availing real-time feedback, we have seen great improvement in conversion rates, with more candidates accepting job offers. This is a big win considering the challenges the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) industry presents when it comes to recruiting quality candidates."
Paul French
Paul French


3. Avoid the Clutter of an Email Inbox 

Chris Holtzhaeur, Headhunter and President at Holtz & Bernard, uses text messages throughout the entire recruitment process, from the initial point of contact up to receiving an acceptance of an offer. 

When a candidate is at work they are typically not going to answer the phone, and if they do they are often uncomfortable discussing new opportunities around their co-workers. 

Text recruiting allows for private, to the point communication.  

"I’ve found that in most cases candidates prefer texting rather than email or phone calls. Communicating with candidates the way they want is a surefire way to improve the overall hiring experience."
Chris Holtzhaeur
Chris Holtzhaeur

President & Headhunter

4. Expand Your Screening Methods

Jon Hill is the CEO and Chairman of The Energists, an executive search and recruiting firm in the energy industry.

His primary focus lately has been on improving the remote candidate experience. 

Remote hiring can feel impersonal, especially if a candidate is not being sent periodic updates or given a timeline of when they should expect to hear back.

With that in mind, he’s been expanding their screening methods, implementing tools like skill tests and one-way video interviews, to decrease the overall time to hire.

"Both our candidate communications and our screening efficiency have improved. We’ve had fewer issues with communication breakdowns and delays, letting us be overall more responsive for both the candidates and the clients we work with."
Jon Hill
Jon Hill

CEO & Chairman

5. Be a Candidate’s Cheerleader

As a Graduate Business Lead for Chase People, Kate O’Neill tells us that building rapport with a candidate and supporting them throughout the process is crucial.

Her advice is simple: celebrate their wins, whether big or small.

For example, if an applicant received excellent feedback from a job they just missed out on, you should tell them. 

People thrive off praise and encouragement and you may be their only source of that during the recruitment process.

"In recruitment our ‘product’ is a person, and each person is unique in their own ways. Everyone wants to feel valued and that they are dealing with someone they can trust and rely upon, so the time you spend with that person, building rapport, and getting to know them is so important."
Kate O’Neill
Kate O’Neill

Graduate Business Lead

6. Be Upfront About the Role in the Job Description

Honesty is the best policy according to Akram Assaf, Co-Founder of a job search platform called Bayt.

Be clear about the requirements of the role and provide information in the job description about how your business works. Make sure it doesn’t sound vague or generic. 

This kind of straightforwardness helps you avoid unqualified candidates, and also increases the quality of your interviews. 

"You might have fewer candidates to choose from, but the candidates you do have will be better qualified. Not only will the candidates that have self-selected be a better fit, but this will also save a lot of time, and your choices will be easier to make."
Akram Assaf
Akram Assaf

Co-Founder & CTO

7. Focus on the Structure of the Recruitment Process

Jessica Lim is an HR Business Partner at MyPerfectResume.

With the recruitment process occurring online, she wanted to find ways to improve communication between the company and its candidates. 

As a result, she made three simple changes in their recruitment process:

  • Assign candidates with only one point of contact: candidates can directly communicate with one person if they need any support or have any questions. 
  • Share what the hiring process looks like: sharing the number of interviews, people they will interview with, and timelines can help candidates better prepare.
  • Include their future colleagues as part of the hiring process: this creates a more relaxing interview experience.
"This year has brought many changes along, one being the way we recruit. We no longer have the opportunity to meet candidates face-to-face and create a personal connection so these changes have been crucial to creating a positive candidate experience."
Jessica Lim
Jessica Lim

HR Business Partner

The Secret Sauce of a Great Candidate Experience? Communication

From seeking to boost a candidate’s confidence, to clearly defining expectations, these experts reinforced what matters most: communication.

To build your talent acquisition and retention advantage, you’ll need to make sure that you’re communicating the way that your candidates expect.

Drew Wilkinson
Drew Wilkinson

Drew Wilkinson is the Head of Marketing at SimpleTexting. Drew has more than a decade of experience managing successful integrated marketing programs to build brands, raise awareness, and generate demand.

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