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10 TIPS to improve your candidate experience (for free)

By now you have grown to appreciate the value of the Candidate Experience. If you’re a recruiter, sourcer, coordinator, a hiring manager or part of the team of interviews you’re probably asking yourself: Is my team providing the best candidate experience possible? How can I make sure we’re doing the best for our candidates?

Here are some tips and ideas you can use to, that won’t cost you a penny:

1) Provide Feedback, every time!
Good or bad, let candidates know where they are at every step of the way. Call or email them if next rounds will be delayed for any reason. If the decision has been made and a candidate is not a fit, just let them know right away. If you’re moving them forward, let them know ASAP too! The wait can be nerve wrecking and can affect their decision to interview with other companies.

But more importantly, make it a habit to give a reason (detailed feedback) whenever possible. If they are not moving forward, there could be a learning opportunity for them: Do they need to work on their presentation skills? Or to practice with a certain tool? Or if they should sharpen their skills in a given area? If they are moving forward, absolutely, give them that reason why you love them: The manager loves your creative solutions, your confidence, your great questions, etc. Let them know so they can bring that into the next interview. You’ll have a more engaged candidate and they’ll be more prepared for the next round of interviews.

2) Prep your candidates: Give them insight on the role. What does the team need? Who are the managers or what is their style? If they are going on a technical assessment, give them a heads up. Some folks get interview anxiety and don’t perform well, but time to get mentally ready helps them. If you can, tell them the topics that will be covered so they can brush up if needed. Remember, as a recruiter, you want candidates to ace their interviews!

3) Be responsive: If you look around the internet, this might be the 2nd biggest complaint from candidates and will tear down your reputation pretty quickly. No one is perfect, but you don’t want to be known as those people that never call back. Answer that email, take that call (or call them back as soon as you’re free), reply to that text message! Never ghost a candidate.

4) Keep it short: Limit your interviews where possible to 30/45 minutes. Take a look at your interview process. Do you really need 7 rounds? Can you make do with 3 or 4 instead? Think of the time someone’s just wasted by taking 7 interviews to be told they’re not getting an offer! Think of the time you’re wasting too! This is the time to review your interview process and at each step think about whether or not it’s absolutely necessary or not.

5) Update your ATS with notes: Don’t ask things over and over again. It makes you look unprofessional and shows your team’s lack of communication. If during an initial interview a candidate has explained why they left their previous job, do you really need the next 3 people to ask it again? I’ve personally consulted at a company where we reduced the interview process from 5 rounds to 3 rounds. One way we did this was by ensuring interviewers took clean notes and updated feedback on the ATS right after the interview.

6) Schedule with your candidates in mind: They have jobs, families, and other interviews. Work with them. Give them plenty of notice so they can accommodate you. Give them various options, or use a calendar scheduling tool like Calendly. And work with your hiring managers/interviewers. I always tell my managers: If you’re too busy to interview for this super critical role, then it’s not so critical after all, is it? So get them to be available, have them agree that they’ll keep a spot open for interviews or that they’ll be willing to reschedule certain meetings to make interviews happen. Don’t always expect your candidates to move everything around for you!

7) Don’t be a robot: Don’t just follow a script, engage in conversation instead. Yes, I have all my questions written down so I don’t miss anything important, but let the conversation flow a little. You can ask about their weekend. You can tell them if you’re excited the office just got a new espresso machine. If they’re talking about how much they love to volunteer, you might want to mention your company gives extra PTOs for that, and you can drop in how you use them yourself, and maybe that leads into your benefits package or other topics. You can get all the information you need without going down a list of questions like, well, a robot.

8) Be kind: That’s all. Treat your candidates with respect and be kind.

9) Let candidates interview YOU: It’s a candidate driven market. Be ready to sell the role. You can tell them all the great things about your company, but be ready to answer their questions too. Give them the platform to do this and they’ll be grateful for it.

10) Listen: Ask for feedback, comments, thoughts on their experience. Run a survey. Take a look at sites like Glassdoor or Indeed. What are candidates saying about your hiring process? Make your candidates feel listened to and, hey, show them you’re listening by implementing the changes they’re asking for.

There is a lot more that you can do, but this is a good place to start and you can get started right now.


Founder & Recruiter

About ELI

We are Recruiters that take enormous pride in what we do. That means getting the right candidate the first time, taking care of our client and the “candidate experience”.


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