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5 Essential Tips to Cultivating an Outstanding Candidate Experience

Updated: May 31, 2022

You know the saying, “first impressions are everything”? Well, it’s true… especially when it comes to the hiring process. Cultivating an engaging and effective candidate experience is the first, crucial step to creating overwhelming positive brand awareness, and of course, happy employees.

What does the candidate experience entail?

As the name suggests, a candidate experience describes all of the interactions a job applicant has with a company throughout its recruitment process. At first glance, this process may seem neatly wrapped up within the confines of a job interview, but it actually starts much sooner than one may imagine. Traced back as early as the candidate’s first visit to the corporate career site or perhaps even a specific job posting, a particular candidate experience establishes the impression one has of a certain company, whether they end up securing the position or not.

Why should companies care about positive candidate experiences?

In short, a positive candidate experience is a surefire way to make prospective employees feel valued and help them to stay engaged in the work your company is doing. Better yet, they also provide greater incentives for the most competitive talent in your industry to apply for consideration.

So, where does my company start?

It may come as a surprise, but ensuring a positive candidate experience doesn’t require copious amounts of time, money, or energy. With empathy, support, and the following tips, your company can be well on its way to establishing itself as a dream employer.


Offer support prior to the application process

To best prepare candidates for application and interview processes, establish a supportive presence from the very beginning. Offering resources and a guiding hand before candidates ever submit an application is essential to making a striking first impression. These resources can be as simple as a few blog posts or instructional videos–perhaps even (remote) preparatory sessions to help personalize the pre-application experience.

Strive for consistency

If you earn a good reputation, you’ll surely want to keep it. The best way to reel your market’s top talent is by making the candidate experience great and predictable. In fact, 77% of the 2020 Universum’s World’s Most Attractive Employers are keen on providing a repeatable experience, so as to promote inclusivity and consistency throughout the hiring process. By ingraining these best practices into your company’s recruitment culture, you can expect a steady flow of qualified candidates.

Keep your career site compelling (and up to date!)

Many candidates’ first experience with your company will be through a mere job posting on your corporate career site; but if written well, it will be enough to have talented professionals inquiring for more information. Even a sizable portion–a whopping 56%–of leading American companies are increasing their investments in career sites, as these channels seem to have a significant impact on attracting and retaining impressive candidates. Additionally, ample information in a job description can set crystal clear expectations and help prospective hires envision a future with your company.

Set candidates up for success

Applying and interviewing for a job can be quite a nerve-wracking experience, but this incredibly common anxiety can be quelled through a reassuring candidate experience. Similar to offering support in the pre-application stages, preparing candidates specifically for your company’s interview(s) will allow for better performance and a clearer vision of their potential in the position. Be transparent about interview and company expectations from the very start–from general tips to preparatory questions to employee insight. Remember, anything and everything helps.

Lead with empathy

Most importantly, treat your candidates with respect. The recruitment process can be stressful for all parties involved, but your company can play an active role in minimizing pressure all around. Really get to know your candidates, answer their questions, and show as much interest in them as they have in your company. When in doubt, engagement is the key to personalizing the candidate experience.

Word of an exceptional candidate experience gets around quickly. If your company is prepared to offer the best possible introduction to your recruitment process, positive awareness for your brand will spread beyond applicants to consumers as well. Even candidates who didn’t wind up with an offer are bound to report a positive experience, funneling an even more competitive and diverse hiring pool your way.



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