Caroline Mameesh

Caroline Mameesh

CodeSubmit Team

How to Create a Winning Candidate Experience

Company CultureHiringRecruiting

If you want to attract and retain the best talent, candidate experience must be a top priority during the hiring process. While this aspect of hiring was always important, it’s trickier than ever to craft a winning candidate experience today, where a lot of the hiring process is handled remotely.

This is especially true for tech candidates, particularly developers, as these people are used to working collaboratively, speaking up, and receiving feedback. According to a Career Builder survey, 68% of candidates feel that how a business treats them during the hiring process is indicative of how the company treats employees.

Here’s precisely why candidate experience matters so much and how you can go about improving it.

Why is Candidate Experience Important?

Considering a positive candidate experience makes potential employees 38% more likely to accept a job offer, you’ll need to make the recruitment process as smooth as possible to compete for top talent.

Top talent gets hired within 10 days, so time is of the essence. Neglecting candidate experience means the best talent will accept offers elsewhere.

Further, to improve candidate experience, you’ll want to accelerate your hiring timeline. While this may seem like a hassle, 60% of applicants drop out of your recruiting process if it takes too long, so it’s worth the investment on your end.

Considering 72% of candidates who dislike your hiring practices will tell others about it, and 81% share positive experiences with others, it’s critical to focus on providing the best hiring practices possible. This spreads a positive word about your company, boosting applicant quality and numbers.

All in all, a focus on candidate experience not only increases quality-of-hire, but it reduces time-to-hire.

How to Improve Candidate Experience

The following are some candidate experience best practices you can begin implementing right away.

Craft Clear and Honest Job Descriptions

Job descriptions are often a potential employee’s first touchpoint with your company, so you’ll want to make a positive first impression.

Use simple language in your job description. Even if you’re confident that candidates know industry jargon, it’s best to keep your JDs simple.

However, there’s a fine line to this. Avoid stereotypical phrases such as “results-oriented,” “self-starter,” or “competitive salary,” as these are often perceived negatively.

Make JDs easy to read. As with writing blog posts or other long-form content, you’ll want to make your job description clear and organized. List the most critical information first, use present tense verbs, avoid biased terminology (such as masculine pronouns only), and structure sentences in the verb/object format. Learn more.

Carefully choose “requirements.” Since overly-daunting lists of requirements can turn off even qualified candidates, keep your requirements list free of “nice-to-haves.” Those should be listed separately, so it’s clear to potential employees what skills they truly need.

Follow Up Frequently

There are a few different ways to properly follow up with candidates, all of which contribute to a positive candidate experience.

Send emails from a personal email. Of course, you should use your work email, but when contacting candidates, it’s best to use an individual email address rather than a corporate careers email. This pertains to interview invites and especially rejection notes.

Communicate as soon as possible. Whether these are rejection emails or interview invites, make sure to send communications out promptly. Remember that 60% of applicants will drop out of your recruiting process if the timeline is too long.

Give Candidates Full Information on the Interview Process

83% of candidates feel the hiring process would be significantly improved if it came with a clear timeline. Here’s the information you should provide candidates:

  • Length of the interview
  • How many people they’ll be meeting with, and when
  • What the dress code is
  • Interview format
  • If in-person: how to enter the building, where parking is

As part of creating a positive candidate experience, it’s helpful to send a comprehensive email detailing the above information well in advance; this helps talent feel prepared and informed, and it’s easy for them to reference later. You can also include pertinent information in the calendar invite.

Positive candidate experience means being open and honest with all potential employees

Use Proper Technology

Nowadays, there exists loads of technology that can improve candidate experience.

Your application software must allow for short and straightforward applications. An SHRM study found that 60% of job seekers neglect to finish half-complete applications because they’re too complicated or involved.

Further, you’ll want to use a robust applicant tracking system (ATS) that integrates with your HR software to help process large numbers of applicants. However, even if you use an ATS, remember to send personalized follow-ups.

If you’re hiring developers, your coding tests must be meaningful and engaging. A simple Google search of these tests reveals an overwhelmingly negative sentiment. However, tech such as CodeSubmit puts candidate experience at the forefront of coding challenges. Learn more about how you can improve candidate experience with CodeSubmit.

Provide Feedback to All Candidates

Whether you accept or reject a candidate, feedback is critical. Especially for developers and other tech hires, feedback is part of their working process, so these candidates appreciate transparency.

Deliver this feedback honestly but kindly with the intent of helping a candidate get hired elsewhere.

Additionally, welcome feedback as the company. You can send out candidate experience surveys to gather such feedback on the recruitment process.

Personalize the Final Decision for Each Candidate

In addition to providing feedback to all candidates, you’ll want to personalize the final decision for accepted and rejected applicants. Staple rejection emails sting worse than an honest and personalized note that thanks the candidate for their time and wishes them well.

Considering that ghosting candidates can cause serious damage to your employer branding, it’s best to let all candidates know your decision, even if it’s a rejection. Never leave someone hanging.

Your Candidate Experience Strategy Matters!

A positive candidate experience makes a huge difference for you and your potential employees. If you aren’t already making it a priority, now’s the time. You can start with any of the suggestions above and go from there.

As soon as you make candidate experience a top priority, the nature of your hiring process and future employees will completely change!