Candidate experience is becoming a more and more important part of the hiring process. A good one will attract top talent to your company, while a bad one can ruin your brand image.

But how can you create a good candidate experience?

Below, we go over what candidate experience is, how it can benefit your business, and what steps you need to take to design a great one.

What is candidate experience?

We should start out by defining exactly what candidate experience is. Candidate experience is the impression your company leaves on a potential employee during the hiring process. This includes all of the interactions during the hiring process, from job searches to onboarding.

In some cases, candidate experience can begin before a candidate even starts looking for a job. If they have a friend or a relative working for your company, they will already have a perception of your business. The same goes if they know your company by reputation.

Benefits of a great candidate experience

Designing a great candidate experience is no longer optional. It's now essential for standing out from your competition and attracting the best talent available. Some of the benefits of having a great candidate experience include:

Attracts more and better applicants

A streamlined application process will dramatically increase the number of potential candidates. According to Appcast, if your application process takes 5 minutes or less, you can expect up to 365% more candidates.

With such a high number of applications, your candidate experience will have a chance to shine. Having a great customer experience in place will attract top talent to your company, giving you an edge over the competition.

Finally, when it’s time to choose your new employee, you will have a pool of the best available candidates to pick from. And if the candidate experience left a good impression, those same applicants will most likely show up the next time you have a job opening.

Increases your brand reputation

Word of mouth travels fast, and if you have an excellent candidate experience, you can be sure other job seekers will find out. This will lead to your company having a better reputation, which in turn means more job applications (and even customers) in the future.

With this in mind, you can see how a great candidate experience affects more than just applicants. More brand awareness will also lead to better hires and business growth.

The same is true for a poor candidate experience—it will not only set you back when looking for a new hire, but it also brings down the reputation of your company as a whole.

Building a great candidate experience

Considering how important candidate experience is, building a great one should be your number-one priority. To help you with this, we’ve compiled a step-by-step guide covering all the phases of the hiring process:

Start with the job description

Consider that the job description will probably be the first point of contact a potential candidate has with your company. This means it should be as clear and well-written as possible and give an excellent first impression.

Starting with the job title, make sure you convey a clear idea of what the job and responsibilities will be. Continue with a clear description of the responsibilities the job entails, the benefits your company is offering, and what you’re looking for in an ideal candidate.

Also, refrain from using buzzwords such as "marketing guru" or "coding wizard." These phrases will only bog down the candidate experience, and they don’t accurately describe what you’re looking for.

Make the application process quick and simple

If you’re posting a job opening on your website, make sure that the link to your careers page is easy to find. This will significantly improve your candidate experience and the number of applications you receive.

The application process itself should be as straightforward as possible. The entire process should take one page, ideally as an online form the candidates can fill out. Also, make sure the form is available in the mobile version of your website.

If possible, provide your candidates with the option to apply through LinkedIn.

Screening and engagement

Automating candidate screening and engagement will save you time and effort and provide you with only the best candidates for the interview stage.

Recruiting automation software can help you set up an automated screening process that will filter potential candidates by their abilities, how they fit in your company culture, and their value for your business.

To do this, the technology uses AI to help form the best questions you can ask your candidates. Typically, they also engage with every individual candidate, giving you engagement metrics and results in real time.

Designing interviews

The interview is likely to have the biggest impact on the quality of your candidate experience. Because of this, you need to make sure you’re asking the right questions in the best possible way.

The first step is to let the candidates know in advance what to expect during the interview. This will help set things up beforehand and let you focus on getting to know the applicant.

Your goal here is to create a positive experience for the candidate. If you can, make the conversation informal.

Even if the candidate isn’t a good fit, make sure their experience has them leaving in a better mood than when they came in.

Hiring and onboarding

Once you’ve chosen the right candidate, make sure you let them know over the phone rather than through email. This will add a personal touch and improve the overall candidate experience.

If the candidate decides to accept your offer, make sure you provide a comprehensive onboarding process for them. Ensure they're given adequate time to adjust to your company culture and their new responsibilities.

It’s essential you make sure all your potential candidates have a great experience while applying to work for your company. If you don’t, you’re missing out on attracting top talent and limiting your business opportunities.