Employee Recruitment

The 7 Essentials to Create an Outstanding Candidate Experience

Remember the last time you were on the other side of the interview desk? Did you have to endure a 10-minute anxious wait at reception, or were they quick to grab you? Did your interviewer greet you with a friendly smile, already knowing your name, or did they have to glance at your resume to check? Despite these actions being seemingly small, they all contribute to one thing about your company: brand impression.
These days, a single impression can mean a lot. It can be the make or break for a critical candidate accepting a job offer. As the CEO of Talent Culture said: “Candidates are our customers and if we fail to provide them with the hiring experience they expect, they will find someone else who can give it to them, just as Blockbuster’s customers did.”

On top of this, with the ever-expanding influence of social media, something like a single Glassdoor review, tweet, or blog post, can spread their impression to other candidates, valued clients, suppliers, investors and supporters of your brand.

That leads us to the question, how do we keep this impression positive? The answer lies in the comprehensive buzz-phrase Candidate Experience.

What is the Candidate Experience?

The Candidate Experience is everything a job seeking applicant experiences from the moment they learn about an open position, to the moment they're informed they were not selected or the moment they start their first day as a new employee.

Candidates will form an impression about the company throughout the recruitment process. This impression could be about the company's culture, purpose, values, operations, growth potential, or even specific people, and can be influenced at any stage of the process. From searching through a company's careers page to final interviews with executives, every step along the way is essential in trying to provide the best possible candidate experience.

Essentials to a Great Candidate Experience

Nail the careers page and application process

A careers webpage that is difficult to navigate or a complicated application process, could potentially put off star-candidates before they even apply. This initial impression of your company’s candidate experience may not only affect whether a star-candidate accepts a job offer, but also whether or not they would even apply. And the last thing any company would want is to discourage key candidates before they even get their foot in the door!

To go above and beyond, provide some captivating video content surrounding the hiring process, and what working there is like. This can capture the interest of candidates in the initial stages of applying, and can stand out compared to static webpages.


Open communication

It is important to create interpersonal relationships between candidates and members of the organization. With the application process becoming highly digitized, searching for a career has become even more detached and impersonal. Candidates can feel like their application is being submitted into a void, especially when they do not hear back after applying.

Show candidates that you're open to communication throughout the entire process. Send them a confirmation email letting them know that their application was received, and give them an email contact to reach out to for any questions. Keep them updated on the status of their application: whether shortlisted, selected, or not, the applicant will appreciate a transparent selection process that keeps them informed. If you can let candidates know of rough timelines for the hiring process, even better!

Keep in mind, a lack of communication can lead to a loss of interest, making it more likely for candidates to be snatched up by your competitors.


A prepared candidate is a happy candidate

Everyone likes to be set up for success, and candidates can tell when you are giving them the tools to interview successfully. Taking steps to provide candidates with information about what to expect during interviews will go a long way with the following:

  1. 1. Instilling them with confidence to perform well during the interview
  2. 2. Giving them insight into the communication style of the company, and
  3. 3. Allowing the candidate to part feeling they had a fair chance, even if they don't make it further

An added benefit of preparing candidates is that they will be aware of what aspects of themselves to showcase that are most relevant to this position, and the team. This will let you experience “the best” of all candidates you interview - so you won’t miss out on the potential diamonds in the rough.


Showcase your company culture

During each stage of the hiring process, share how the company purpose and core values help to guide decisions a shape the culture. Give them a quick tour of the company to show them how teams are laid out, what it's like to work there, how people collaborate with each other, what team events happen, how goal settings works, or how you celebrate wins.

It can also be impactful to show potential candidates the processes with which you recognize employees. A great way to do this is by displaying a live feed or leaderboard for peer nominations in your company.


Show candidates you care

Candidates are well aware that they’re not the only person applying for a position - even if they’re not running into other applicants before their interview. This awareness can make even star-candidates feel like they’re “just another fish in the sea”. To get the best out of each candidate, it can be very impactful to create a relaxed environment and try to get to know them on a personal level before diving into the interview.

Take the time to review the resumes of candidates before any interview. With their history fresh on your mind, it can help better tailor your questions to this candidate, and avoid asking any questions that are already answered on their resume.

It would also be good to show candidates that you care about diversity. Creating an environment that feels inclusive and respectful of all cultures, ages and genders can help attract candidates with a wide variety of life experiences that could add value to your organization.


“Be real” about the nature of the job

No one wants to be hired for a job, only to find out it's riddled with various tasks they weren’t informed about, and didn’t sign up for. It’s important to always be honest in the job description right out of the gate.

For example, if your career-posting says you are looking for a team-player that works well in group environments, you are likely going to attract an extroverted candidate that’s looking for a social, collaborative work environment. However, if this candidate is hired into a position where they primarily perform tasks on their own, they will likely feel the job didn’t meet their expectations.

This can lead to higher employee dissatisfaction and turnover. As such, you should discuss the position with existing members on a team, and then spend time writing an accurate job-description before posting. For every position, there is a proper fit candidate - but to find this candidate, you need an honest foundation.

Feedback, feedback, feedback

After a candidate has completed the interview process (before any offer is made), request they complete an anonymous survey and submit feedback. It can be a short questionnaire to see how they felt about the hiring process and help identify any key areas or processes that could be improved. 

Whether you need to simplify the application process, or better showcase your company culture, the answers on how to best improve the candidate experience will be brought to light to by the people having just went through it.

You can then tweak things over time, so future star-candidates can receive the best experience possible.


Bonus tip

Here at Guusto, we like to follow up every interview with a Thank-You email that includes an anonymous survey inquiring about their candidate experience, and a $5 Guusto Coffee Card to show our appreciation for them taking the time to interview. The gift card acts as a cherry-on-top to leave each candidate with a great impression of their experience.

Guusto Coffee Gift Card


It’s not always easy to go out on a limb and apply for a new position! Even if all candidates won’t be joining your team, it's essential to remember that every candidate’s experience impacts your employer brand.

Want to learn more about how Guusto's employee recognition software can help you augment a great candidate experience? Hit the button below to chat with someone on our team, and we'll be happy to show you how it works.

Book a Time to Chat

What's Next?

A lot of employees are currently working from home, and with Administrative Professionals Day around the corner, next week we’ll explore 7 Ways to Show Appreciation this Administrative Professionals Day. You will learn about:

  • What Administrative Professionals Day is all about
  • Great ways to recognize remote admin staff

Hope you’ll join us for the discussion. Have something you want to learn more about? Let me know in the comments below or connect with me on LinkedIn.

Muucho Guusto :)



Culture is the Ultimate Advantage

Set yourself apart using the power of company culture. Stand out to new applicants and motivate your team to do their best work.

Skai Dalziel

Written by Skai Dalziel

Skai is the Co-Founder of Guusto. He leads the Customer Success Team, and loves helping HR leaders build workplace culture by sharing his experiences from working with thousands of companies.

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