Employer Branding
5 min

Guide to better Candidate Experience in 2020

Post by 
Akash Ambade
April 29, 2020
Guide to better Candidate Experience in 2020

Do going through the negative reviews about your company or brand online fill you with remorse? A hiring process without the elements that make the candidate feel good and respected is regrettable. Most companies oversee candidate experience in their entire hiring process. Consider this, nearly 60 percent of the job seekers admit they undergo poor candidate experience and 72 percent are vocal about it. A time when there is a war out there for top talent, candidate experience can make or break things for your company.

Let's get to the point. A poor candidate experience propagates everywhere in the form of negative reviews. It damages the brand more than anything. Whereas a positive candidate experience can propel organic reach & attract potential candidates towards you. If this is all so important, then why do many companies ignore it, how you can improve the candidate experience and why you should not be taking this lightly, let's find answers to all these questions in this blog

Why you should be thinking about Candidate Experience?

Although the primary agenda of hiring is to fill the required open positions, but not at the cost of poor candidate experience. In fact, this has to be the core element of every hiring process irrespective of the positions you are hiring for. Honestly, it all starts right from the moment the candidate comes across your company profile till offer acceptance or rejection. A better candidate experience can do a lot more than just make applicants happy

It helps you to

a) To naturally attract quality candidates

Think of a time when you started applying for a new job after graduation or

candidate experience

was in search of new opportunities. Didn’t you filter companies based on their reputation? You must have refrained from applying to companies that had a bad reputation or heard some negative comments about it. The other way is also true, you applied for a particular company based on positive reviews from a friend.

According to some studies, 65 percent of the candidates apply for a job based on referrals. If you provide a positive candidate experience to the ones that apply for a role, it has a rippling effect. It reaches many through a positive word-of-mouth (WoM). Thus, inviting better candidates naturally in the future.

b) Better Conversion rates

A positive candidate experience helps greatly in improving the conversion rates of candidates. Because the truth as you know it not every candidate offered with a job accepts it and joins your company. The reasons can be many for rejecting the offer but if you employ the right tools to interview candidates and create a positive experience, things are in your favor.

improve conversion rate

Better conversion rate

Offer acceptance by candidates isn’t the end of candidate experience. If you don’t engage candidates constantly till joining date, a candidate might be scooped by a better company that has the right elements. Always show them you truly want them to be a part of your team

c) Enhance employer brand

Employer branding is basically a reputation of your place of work. In simple words, it is how the employees view you as an employer. During the interview, candidates get a picture of how the employees are treated in your company by the way you deal with them.

Therefore, always stress upon rendering a positive candidate experience to all the applicants at every stage of hiring. This shall not only attract better talent towards your company but also help you retain employees longer

d) Reduced attrition rate

Who doesn't hate good talent slipping by after one year of working?

Attrition or the churn rate is usually defined as the number of employees who leave your company after the first year in search of better opportunities. As per Recruiting Brief, 80–90 percent of talent say a positive or negative candidate experience can change their minds about a role or a company.

A positive experience for the candidates builds trust with an employer and a good place to work for every employee. Therefore, Employees stick around for a longer period than leave your company after a year

How you can Improve Candidate Experience

It is surprising that most employers still don’t consider the candidate experience a priority, They fail to put things in practice that ensure a smooth candidate experience in the hiring process. Let us look at some of the ways you can improve the experience for the applicants

To easily understand things, let us look at it phase-wise

1. Pre-Interview

2. During Interview

3. Post Interview

1. Pre-Interview

a) Frame clear and concise job descriptions

Every candidate looks at the job description before applying for a job. Therefore, getting it right should be your first goal towards improving the candidate experience.

The question is what candidates look in a job description?
Candidates are very specific about the roles and responsibilities, estimated CTC, perks of working for you. Therefore, the better your job description the more chances of attracting candidates for further stages of selection.

b) Create a strong first impression

The first touchpoint with a potential candidate is very crucial.

candidate experience

The way your recruiters deal with them leaves a lasting impression on the candidates. Being polite and open to answering any of their queries helps.

A well-planned outreach to the passive candidates and better candidate management builds trust and confidence with your company

c) Seamless job application process

An attractive career page with listed positions and clear job descriptions is if no use when candidates face problems while applying for the job role. That is a blot on the overall candidate experience.

For example, take a look at the LinkedIn Easy Apply feature. It hardly demands any information to be typed by the candidate and auto-fills details from the candidate profile. A lengthy application makes candidates feel it is not worth the effort, especially passive job seekers. According to a study from SHRM, 60 percent of job seekers quit in the middle of filling out online job applications because of their length or complexity.

Also, it is important to test the responsiveness of the application interface for desktop, tablets, and mobile devices. Lacking any of these will result in a poor candidate experience.

d) Respond to every application

As a recruiter, it is very important to make every candidate feel valued and appreciated. One such way is by promptly responding to each application that is received for a job role. Often this is ignored by recruiters in the hectic schedule and other important tasks. However, if you want to improve the candidate experience, you must consider this as an important aspect.

When the position is closed, you have to take down the job role from the career page immediately to stop further applications. In case you still received applications after hiring for the role, you should respond to the candidate informing the same.

2. During Interview

a) Prepare well for the interview

Only the candidate has to come prepared for the interview is a common misconception. As a recruiter, you should be prepared beforehand in order to take the interview. Lack of preparation from a recruiter is clearly exposed during the interview by the meaningless questions hurled at the candidate.

Most candidates express disappointment at this very fact and

candidate experience

even claim the recruiter was clueless. 83 percent of talent say a negative interview experience can change their mind about a role or company they once liked. Silly behavioral questions just for the sake of asking won’t do justice to the hiring process and results in the poor candidate experience. Always remember made-up questions will fetch made up answers.

b) Spend considerable time with the candidate

It is advisable to spend considerable time with the candidate during the interview. Make candidates comfortable by offering water and break the ice upfront. A study by DK Global Recruitment states that 33 percent of the recruiters decide whether to recruit candidates within the first few minutes. This is the thing that needs a change.

Spend a minimum of 30 minutes to interview each candidate to know what they are made of before making your decision

3. Post Interview

a) Communicate well with candidates

Constant communication is an integral part of the hiring process which has a great impact on the candidate experience. Candidates expect regular updates from employers about the status of their application, result, etc.
60 percent of job seekers say that the one area that would improve their experience the most is better employer communication with candidates throughout and after the application process.

Candidates feel valued when you communicate them

give timely feedback

to convey updates in their inboxes or on call. Honestly, from a candidate’s point of view, this matters most than having a well-designed career site.

b) Provide quick & honest feedback

‘We will inform you later’ - The most dreaded statement for any job seeker for so many years and the biggest factor that influences your candidate experience rating. Giving quick and honest feedback to the candidates irrespective of their selection status enhances the experience. This opens up other opportunities for the candidate and helps them improve in their future interviews.

According to a study, 78 percent of job seekers expressed never having received feedback from the employers. By not informing candidates about their status, you are inhibiting the chances of candidates to try for jobs elsewhere.

Measuring Candidate Experience

Anything you do in your professional life, it is important to measure it. Measuring metrics provide you with loopholes to act and improve upon. Here are a few metrics you should consider to measure your candidate experience effectiveness.

1. Application drop-off rate

This is an indication of the effectiveness of the job application form created for the candidates. It reflects the percentage of candidates that quit filling the application form in the middle. i.e started filling the application form but didn’t apply

application drop off rate

Higher the rate, more issues with your application form. To reduce the drop-off rate, you can think of shortening the form and only request information that is required at first contact.

2. Conversion rate

Basically a conversation rate is the percentage of candidates that applied to the jobs to the total candidates that visited the careers page of your website. To accurately measure this metric, you have to set a particular time frame ( 1-3 months). Now note the total number of visits to the careers page and the total number of applications received. These numbers can be obtained easily from your Google Analytics account.

For example: Say 3000 unique visitors landed on the career page and you received 300 applications in 3 months.

conversion rate

If the conversion rate is decreasing for consecutive quarters, it is an indication to fix some of the things
- Be clear and specific about the open positions
- Provide easy application interface
- Check page for mobile responsiveness
- Showcase your culture, employee benefits well

3. Offer acceptance rate

This is a metric that reflects the number of candidates who finally joined the company to those who were offered the position in a given time frame. The truth is not everybody who is offered joins your company.

offer acceptance rate

Higher the acceptance rate, a strong indication of better candidate experience. To improve the acceptance rate

- Providing best candidate experience is a MUST
- Set the expectations early on with regards to the salary & benefits
- Give an irresistible offer for deserving candidates

4. Overall rating from Candidates

No matter how many metrics are calculated at your end, the measure of your candidate experience truly comes from candidates themselves. No better way than ask them directly through short surveys asking responses to a set of questions.

Analyze the responses from the candidates against each question and arrive at a rating. The cumulative of these ratings shall be a better measure of candidate experience.

5. Career portal ratings & reviews

Often candidates resort to career pages to vent their dissatisfaction or happiness about a company they applied to. Portals like Glassdoor, Naukri, and other job board ratings are a clear indication of how well your candidate experience program is coming along.

Always keep an eye on all these portals to check ratings and reviews in a particular time frame to measure the effectiveness.


To sum things up, Candidate experience is more important at each stage of hiring. From an economic perspective, it can bring intangible losses by blocking top talent hitting your door for open positions.

- Respect and value every job seeker applying at your firm
- Strive to build a strong employer brand across channels
- Showcase your company culture to attract good candidates
- Engage employees better to reduce churn rate

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