Candidate Experience Best Practices

How to make the best experience possible for every applicant and interview.

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Candidate Experience Best Practices

In the modern age of recruiting, an effective recruitment strategy requires a positive candidate experience. According to CareerPlug, the number one reason candidates turn down job offers is due to a poor candidate experience during the interview process. But why is that?

In simple terms, the interview process is a candidate’s first impression of their employers. Roughly 58% of job seekers have reported declining job offers from poor candidate experience. Any negative experiences during the interview process is seen as a reflection of what to expect from their job.

Any poor experiences will negatively impact your overall employer brand and diminish your chances of finding and hiring the best talent currently available on the market. That’s why it’s important to follow the best practices for candidate experience: clear communication, speed, and tech. All of which we will be covering today.

But first, what is the candidate’s experience? How can we improve the satisfaction of a candidate during what is, according to Small Biz, what 73% of candidates consider one of the most stressful events in their lives?

At its core, the candidate experience has little to do with the actual job the candidate is applying for. Rather, it refers to the series of interactions that a candidate has throughout the recruitment process and the overall experience they have at each experience. This starts at the job search and ends at onboarding.

Ensuring a positive experience helps employers maintain a healthy candidate pipeline. Although candidates may not be fit for a given position, they may be interested in future open positions. A good experience will mean these candidates will still be willing to apply with you again.  

Clear Communication

First up on our candidate experience checklist is communication. 83% of candidates say the overall recruitment experience would be improved if employers would provide a clear timeline of the hiring process. This tells us that today’s candidates expect clear communication with their potential employers.


So, don’t leave candidates wondering. Reach out to them as soon as possible, even if it’s only to acknowledge that you’ve received their application. Even if the candidate isn’t the right fit for the role, it doesn’t mean that they won’t be suitable for a future position. Communicating with even the unqualified candidates will help you build relationships to help you source candidates in the future.

Then throughout the hiring process, maintain continuous communication when possible. This will help combat the biggest frustration from candidates — a lack of response from employers. There are numerous ways you can achieve this, but a popular option is to create email campaigns to keep candidates interested and engaged throughout recruitment with customized campaigns based on every stage of the process.

Another clear communication method is to provide appropriate feedback after an interview to help candidates grow. This means that even if the candidate isn’t selected, they leave the experience with something worthwhile. It will allow them to learn from their weak points and how they can improve in the future. According to LinkedIn, 94% of candidates want to receive this feedback.

Fast-Track the Time-to-Hire

Another serious frustration every candidate hates is a long time-to-hire. It’s stressful waiting to hear back from an employer, start onboarding, or find the right time to schedule an interview. Safe to say, the faster, the better. The modern candidate expects a responsive employer, and a slow time-to-hire is quite the opposite.  

According to Yello, the average time-to-hire across all industries is around 3 to 4 weeks. That’s a whole month of waiting! Speeding up this process in any way without sacrificing quality is sure to improve the candidate experience. Show candidates that you value their application and their time.

To achieve this, consider one-way interviews. This interview format speeds up the time-to-hire by several days and offers a superior overall candidate experience in the process. Plus, they’re rather simple to implement. A recruiter records their end of an interview. This is then delivered to potential hundreds of candidates. These candidates, in turn, reply at a time of their convenience, allowing recruiters to effectively interview hundreds of candidates overnight.

The whole process allows recruiters to automate scheduling entirely while interviewing more candidates. What’s more, when these candidates have returned their interviews, recruiters can screen each in as little as 5 minutes while multitasking on other important tasks, increasing speed and efficiency.

As such, one-way interviews create a much faster interview process, a recruitment phase that takes up three-quarters of the recruiting process as a whole. When you utilize a one-way phone interview platform like Qualifi, you can shorten your time-to-hire by 6-8 days and receive interview responses in less than 20 hours.

The bottom line here is that a faster interview process results in a faster time-to-hire. This, in turn, helps satisfy the modern candidate's need for faster satisfaction. That’s not even to mention how on-demand interviews allow recruiters to make offers to top talent before their competitors with slower time-to-hire.

Which is better, phone interviews or video interviews? See how they compare.

Use the Right Tech

The modern recruiter requires modern tools. Although traditional recruitment methods still have their place in the industry, they fail without large recruitment teams that are simply not viable for a smaller company. As such, you need to use the right tech when looking to improve your hiring process.

Candidate experience software is designed specifically to help tackle your candidate experience problem. Look for software that allows you to track candidates and improve your internal team collaboration when reviewing interviews. This will allow you to track and manage a candidate’s overall experience as they move through your hiring process and potentially identify key points where you can improve.

What’s more, you need tools that can help you improve your time-to-hire and communication. To this end, consider instant phone interviews. With Qualifi’s platform, you’re able to simplify the interview process and engage talent at the speed they expect.

Instant phone interviews offer numerous benefits. These include better use of recruiter and candidate time. Rather than the applicant and recruiter taking days to find a time when both are available to schedule a screening, the applicant can answer interview questions at a time of their convenience. In fact, Qualifi has found this flexibility in the interview process brings in 75.5% more responses than restricting interviews to typical business hours.

This interview method allows you and your team to improve your internal alignment. Recorded, audio-based interviews offer everyone the same interview. Not every stakeholder can meet at every interview. However, each stakeholder can listen to each response and provide feedback when they’re ready with recorded interviews. This provides a faster hiring time by allowing everyone to interact on their own time without having to schedule singular meetings.

Instant phone interviews are also known as self-guided interviews. This is because candidates can take their time with the interview and engage in the hiring process at their own speed. This helps relieve the interview anxiety that 93% of candidates report experiencing.

Additional Resources