Creating A Great Candidate Experience

Everyone who has ever applied to more than a few companies knows the drill. You prepare your resume, a great cover letter, you meticulously put together a list of companies you wish to apply to, you send those applications, and … silence. You're lucky if companies respond to you at all. Even when you do have a conversation going, many companies simply ghost on candidates.

Saying no can be difficult, but saying nothing is definitely worse. A great candidate experience goes a long way towards building your brand. It's also not difficult to craft a great experience. Here are some tips that will help you do that:

Be specific

One of the first things a prospect sees is your job description. It's important that you describe the job in a clear and specific manner. Does the job have certain requirements? Do you need specific skills? Mention all of those. Avoid using vague terms. Tell people about the company culture, about their co-workers (if you can), and what they can expect at your company.

Being specific will help both you and the candidate. The candidate gets to know you—the company—better and you often end up getting better applications because of that.

Tell people what to expect

A well-defined hiring process not only helps your team fill job openings faster but also improves the candidate's experience. Write about your hiring process on your blog, and let the candidate know once they have applied.

A great example of this is Intercom. They have a great series of posts that talk about their hiring process. Having this knowledge helps the candidate prepare better.

Talk about your company

Most companies are faceless entities. Nobody has a clue what they are, what they stand for, or what their team is like. A careers page with information about your team and things you believe in will ensure that the candidate can connect to your company better.

When you invite someone over for an onsite interview, the fact that they have an idea about your company and your team will result in much better interviews.

Keep them in the loop

When a candidate applies, there's a lot of anxiety and uncertainty. Unfortunately, most companies do nothing to alleviate either of those. One thing you should do is let people know of their progress.

Send them an e-mail thanking them when they apply, or letting them know of their status if they aren't a right fit. It's even better if you call them personally if they make it past the interview stage but ultimately aren't a good fit.

Make them comfortable

You have someone coming over for an onsite interview. The last thing you want is them not being prepared. Ensure they know about the interview process, the people who will interview them, the interview location, and any other detail that is important.

On your side, make sure your interviewers are prepared. Often, it's when the candidate comes in that the interviewers are decided and an impromptu interview takes place. That is inefficient. It also doesn't give you the right results.

Make sure the interviewers have the interview on their schedule, they know the candidate, and they have a copy of their resume.

Give feedback, where you can

It's not possible to give feedback to everyone who applies, especially if you have a lot of applications coming in every day. However, for those who have interviewed with you, you should try to give them feedback.

Nobody likes rejection. By telling them what they could have done better, you ensure that they get some value out of the time they spent interviewing with your company.

Ask for feedback

No process is perfect. Despite your best intentions, you may end up missing something. By asking for feedback, you give yourself much better visibility into the problems your candidates are facing. Sending a quick survey with your applicant tracking system should be straightforward.

Over time, you can iteratively improve the experience to a point where it's near-perfect.