5 Steps to create a positive Candidate Experience

The fact that we are living in a candidate driven market, in which candidates have high expectations from a future employer, makes the hiring task a real challenge. There is no doubt that also candidates have to perform and fulfil many requirements in order to get the job that also many other candidates are hoping for. 

There are many moments in which we interact with candidates throughout the hiring process. It is crucial to give them a positive candidate experience. Everyone wants to feel special and important and not just be treated as a number, one out of many others. No matter what religion, age, gender, background or social status they are coming from. Have a closer look at your interview process and see if there is anything that would need improvement.

Let me tell you how I would create a positive candidate experience that candidates would remember.

The job ad:

I would provide as much information as possible to inform a candidate on the job requirements, the skills, experience, personality traits etc. It does not necessarily all need to be mentioned in the job ad. I would provide additionally a link in which more details would be explained or offer a detailed CAREER section on the corporate website. Furthermore, I would definitely make sure that there would be an opportunity for the candidate to have an insight into the corporate culture (video would be most effective or pictures from office environment, team atmosphere, etc.). I consider this as a crucial aspect and last factor to make a candidate decide: to apply or not apply?

I remember that once I wanted to apply for a really interesting job at a start up company. After looking at their team pictures on Facebook I realised that my chances would be very low due to the young age of other team members. Even though I invested considerable time in writing my customized cover letter and CV, I decided not to apply because I felt “I will not fit in.”

Remember the more information you provide your candidates at the beginning the easier you make it for them to decide whether they would be a good fit or not. It would save your and their time.

The job application:

I would not burden candidates with a 10 step process in order to apply for a job position. Keeping it simple, short and mobile-friendly would be key. I would make sure that I have a mobile-friendly website which allows candidates to apply by using any kind of device (tablet, mobile phone, website, etc.). I would not want to miss out on great talent and make it as easy as possible to apply for everyone. I know that the more information I share with regard to the candidate’s interview preparation and the recruitment process, the better. It will make the candidate feel so much more confident because s/he knows exactly what to expect. Believe me, your company will be perceived as much more professional.

The invitation and job interview:

I would make sure that everyone involved in the recruitment process is aware about the importance of leaving a positive impression on a candidate. I would include other panel members who are true ambassadors for the company, have great interviewing skills and know exactly how to make candidates feel at ease. I never experienced this myself, but I would empower candidates to choose their own days and times to come for an interview so that their days don’t get disrupted too much. It might not always be possible to accommodate everyone’s wish but I would give it a try. The way you treat your job candidates in this stage will give them an idea on how they will be treated as employees. I would let candidates know when and from whom they can expect to hear more about the interview outcome.

The moment of rejection:

We know that only one person in the end will get the job. Many will be disappointed. However, the way we let candidates know that they were not chosen for a particular job is crucial and should never be underestimated. I would write a letter which would never attack the candidate’s competence and self-confidence.

The first day of work at the company:

Think back at all the jobs you had in the past. What effort did those companies make to give you a warm welcome on your first day of work? My most memorable experience for my first day of work was in 2001 at a Recruitment Agency. My boss surprised me with a big chocolate bar saying “SUCCESS”.

But how would I WOW my candidate on the first day? I would ask all staff members (no matter what the size of the company is!) to turn up 15 minutes earlier than usually and organise a little surprise party for the new hire. An opportunity to introduce other staff members, have a nice chat, and some nice snacks before getting down to business. Who would not feel happy about a little gesture like that? I could imagine the person at the end of the day sharing this experience with relatives and friends, maybe even on social media. Surely worth a try! Remember, it will make people spread the word and create a positive image. Think about other ways on how you can make the new team member feel at ease, comfortable and special.

If your company is able to create a positive experience in the candidates’ eyes (even after being rejected) you achieved your goal. Bear in mind that job applicants are also consumers and it would be a pity if you would lose both at the same time. Last but not least, never underestimate the power of social media. Online reputation plays already an important role in the way a company is being perceived and it’s not going to change in the near future. On the contrary, it’s significance will increase even more. It’s all about Employment Branding. Watch out! People DO talk and share in private and in public! 

Karin Schroeck-Singh
Karin Schroeck-Singh is a passionate Public Speaker, eBook Author, and a freelancing Online Content Producer. She has an MBA from the University of Leicester (UK) and gained 18 years of international work experience in Italy, the UK and India.