Creating a Positive Candidate Experience: Interview Edition

Written By: Shane Cotner

Across many industries, recruiting firms and departments are experiencing an increasingly candidate-driven market. As a result, these same departments and firms are beginning to realize the importance of providing a positive candidate experience. Ideally, your organization provides a positive candidate experience from start to finish, from application to onboarding. However, the interview stage is where your firm’s efforts to provide a positive candidate experience should genuinely shine, even if done remotely.

First, though, let’s quickly define what “candidate experience” means. The term is a hot new topic within the HR industry and has sparked lots of debate about its meaning and how to incorporate it as a must-have strategy. To put it simply, the candidate experience is a candidate’s cumulative perception of your recruiting process. To delve a little deeper, the term refers to the emotions and attitudes that a candidate may form about your company throughout the application and hiring process.

Why is a positive candidate experience essential during the interview process?

The interview is a significant milestone in every candidate’s journey. A good interview process will win your top talent, while a negative experience will send your top talent to your competition’s doorstep and mar your reputation.

Here are just a few more of the benefits of creating a positive candidate experience during the interview process:

  • Lose fewer candidates – candidates who feel seen, heard, and respected are more likely to stick with the application process; also, they are more likely to apply to other positions within your company.
  • Fewer declined offers – top talent will be inspired to accept your offer over that of your competitors when they have had a positive interview experience with you.
  • Better company reputation – top talent travels in intimate circles; when highly-qualified candidates speak highly of your organization and recruiting department, word will travel quickly.
  • Higher chance of referrals – Top talent that has a positive experience with you but ultimately decides to join another company will feel comfortable referring their friends to you.

How to improve the candidate experience during the interview process

Even if your organization has already begun investing in creating a positive candidate experience, your strategy should be ever-evolving. There is always room for improvement. If you haven’t yet, consider some of these tactics to improve the interview process:

  • Easy application process – most job seekers at all levels abandon applications that are lengthy or confusing. Even worse, a complicated or overly long application creates a negative candidate experience before it’s even begun. Make your application process short and simple, focusing only on what you need to know about the candidate at that stage.
  • Quick and thorough interview process from start to finish – keep your interviews short and to the point. Avoid interrogating candidates or sending them to repetitive interviews with multiple people.
  • Open communication between interview steps – let candidates know when they can expect to hear back from you after each interview. It can be as simple as a text message or email; the important thing is to let the candidate know what to expect and follow through every time.
  • Whether the candidate gets the job or not, provide feedback – in other words, NO GHOSTING! Few things demoralize candidates more than putting lots of effort into an application and interview, then never hearing back. Being respectful of every candidate’s time is one sure-fire way to make sure that your company earns a positive reputation in today’s candidate-driven market.

A capable recruiting firm or HR department poised for growth understands that, especially during candidate-driven markets, candidates are interviewing companies as much as companies are interviewing candidates. For expert guidance creating or improving the candidate experience at your company, contact BRIX today.