Four Ways to Improve the Candidate Experience

June 26th, 2019 by Mitchell Sullivan

In our last article, we spoke about how bad candidate experiences affect more than just your ability to keep/attract new recruits. In this article, we look at the ways you can prevent those bad experiences from happening in the first place.

There’s a good chance that every step of your interview process will be scrutinised and discussed throughout various platforms. And when those discussions occur, information from that can be found by those who look hard enough. Think Google reviews, Glassdoor etc. If there is a common theme of negativity throughout these conversations and the way you treat candidates, your company’s reputation will suffer. Overall, affecting your ability to attract future candidates and potentially, even win new business.


While the consequences of bad candidate experiences are obvious, what are the benefits of giving candidates a positive experience?

A 2015 CandE Research Report found that of the candidates who had a positive candidate experience with a company:

  • 62% will increase their relationship with a brands products and networks.
  • 78% would refer someone in the future.
  • 62% would apply again.

(Source: Monster).

A candidate is, in many ways, a customer. Able to influence word of-mouth sales through their depiction of your company.

And the benefits and or negatives of that depiction are clear. Positive candidate experiences ultimately result in positive outcomes for the business and its bottom-line, and vice-versa for negative experiences.

businesspeople holding up speech bubbles

Now that you understand why you should, here are four ways to improve the candidate experience in your organisation:

  1. Improve your employment brand – Who are you as a company, and what do you stand for? Do you take care of your employees? Are you involved in any philanthropy? Why do you exist as an organisation? An employment brand is the market perception of what it’s like to work for your company. In other words, it’s the image that your prospective, current and past employees have about the employment experience at your organisation.


Think of a few words to describe an employment situation, such as ‘fun’ or ‘startup vibe’. Now think about words like ‘formal’, ‘procedural’ and ‘controlling’. In just a few words, a candidate is able to completely visualise everything from your company’s lunch room to your dress code. Either giving them the wrong, or the right idea about who you are and what your company represents. All influenced by your perceived employment brand.

Do you think the company that is “cool” and has a “startup vibe” would receive better applicants than one often labeled as “procedural” or “controlling”?

The candidate experience begins before an application is even submitted. Online reviews, word of-mouth and recommendations from friends/family are all taken into account before, during and after the process.

Control your own employment brand, rather than leaving it for the review sites to dictate. Post photos to your social media/website of your office life and highlight particular areas of communication that should be enhanced. Make sure all employees follow your employment brand guidelines.


2. Improved Communication process.  

Candidates want to be informed, prior to, during and after their interviews.


  • Prior toExpectations need to be set ahead of time for the candidate. This can include addressing everything from your dress code to parking instructions at the interview location. For initial phone screens, establish an objective prior to the conversation.
  • During – Create clear expectations for the candidate during their first interview. Include who they will be interviewing with after and what to expect as far as a timeline is concerned for any future steps.
  • After the interviewStay in touch with the candidate after he or she has accepted the position to answer any questions they may have moving forward. Staying in touch is equally as important for candidates who have been unsuccessful in applying. Take time to notify the candidate. Failure to do so may result in negative feedback.


Candidates often complain that the process is generally loose and bends to the needs of the company, not the candidate. This should be flipped. The candidate should feel like they are the most important part of the interview process — because they are (Forbes). Be flexible with your interview process, this will highlight who you are as a company and the experience you offer.  


3. Manage online reviews.

As previously stated, your candidate experience begins before the application has even been submitted. The way you conduct yourself online and the resulting feedback from previous encounters are all deterrents to a potential candidate.


Be active online and address any negative or positive feedback. Show empathy towards negative reviews and thank the positive ones. Also, encourage employees to post about their experiences at your company.


4. Make technology improvements.

There is a reason why LinkedIn’s ‘Easy Apply’ feature is so popular amongst candidates – it’s streamlined, simple and clearly outlines what’s required. Contrast LinkedIn’s one-click apply to a shonky careers page that is difficult to navigate and even harder to submit your application.

Your careers page is one of the first impressions you make as a company. Make sure the content and functionality of the site is streamlined to enhance the candidates experience.


“You are not just recruiting employees, but are sowing the seeds of your reputation”. 


An interview process is often a very short period of time to find compatibility between candidate and company. Individuals are often required to turn to sites like Glassdoor and Google to fill in the hidden gaps in your company’s culture, policies and working environment. If these review sites display frequently negative experiences, you may deter potential superstars from applying and working at your organisation. Take the necessary steps based on the feedback you’ve encountered to improve your candidate experience.

In summary, here are the 4 ways through which you can improve the Candidate Experience:

1) Improve your employment brand

2) Improve your communication process

3) Manage online reviews

4) Make technology improvements



If you enjoyed reading this blog post, why not dive deeper and learn more about Improving Candidate Experience:

- 6 Ways Of Successfully Luring Passive Candidates 

- 4 Steps To Prevent Candidate Ghosting 

- Why Building Trust Is Important For Recruiters

- 3 Biggest Mistakes That Hurt The Candidate Experience