How To Optimise Your Hiring Process To Deliver a Positive Candidate Experience

The hiring process has evolved in the competitive UK recruitment landscape. Candidates now have more options when deciding which companies to work with and which roles to pursue.

Their expectations for employers are higher than ever and business leaders need to work to ensure they’re constantly enhancing their employer brands and attracting the right talent.

Delivering an excellent candidate experience is the key to improving your chances of skilled professionals accepting your job offers. What’s more, it directly impacts your reputation as an employer, influencing who you’ll attract to roles in the future.

Plus, it can pave the way for a successful introduction to your company’s culture and values for your employees.

With 58% of candidates turning down job offers based entirely on poor candidate experience, learning how to optimise interactions with candidates is more important than ever.

Here’s how you can enhance the candidate experience in 2024.

Understanding the Current Hiring Landscape

Candidate experience has become a valuable differentiator for talent-short employers. Almost 73% of organisations agree that a great candidate experience is critical to the success of their hiring strategy. Yet only 17% of employers measure candidate experience at every available opportunity.

Though strong candidate experiences have always impacted recruitment success, they’ve grown increasingly crucial in 2024, with a significant deficit in skilled workers leading to increased competition for talent among employers.

A candidate experience boosts your chances of attracting key people to your company by enhancing your employer brand. Plus, it can help to ensure candidates refer other talent to your team.

Alternatively, in a candidate-driven market, a poor candidate experience increases the chances that your job offers will be rejected. It can also reduce your talent pool, dissuading candidates from applying for other roles in the future.

Leveraging AI Without Compromising Human Touch

One of the reasons delivering a consistently strong candidate experience is so difficult is that the recruitment landscape is constantly changing. New technologies, like AI-powered tools and automated software, have emerged in recent years to streamline processes and enhance efficiency.

Around 44% of recruiters believe that AI helps them save time in the hiring process. In some cases, these tools can even reduce bias in candidate selection by assessing applications based on skills rather than characteristics or attributes.

AI-powered and automated tools can help source and screen candidates who fit well for job opportunities and reduce hiring time. Still, it also has limitations as it overlooks candidates with unique talents and attributes and is trained to search for applications that fit specific criteria.

Striking a Balance Between AI and the Human Touch

While AI and automation can significantly enhance the recruitment process, it’s important to recognise its limitations. You can reduce the chances of losing talented candidates due to issues with AI by:

  • Working with a recruitment company: A specialist recruitment company can review candidate applications alongside your AI and automated tools. This creates an opportunity to pinpoint valuable candidates missed by your technology. A recruitment company offers expertise and insights based on their knowledge of the trends and dynamics of the current market.
  • Interact with each candidate: Automated responses sent to candidates thanking them for their application can help streamline recruitment processes and maintain ongoing communication. However, not every discussion can be automated. Ensure you acknowledge and interact with each candidate individually.
  • Review your tools carefully: Assess the outcomes of your AI-powered hiring strategies carefully. Review regularly to see if important candidates are being missed during the filtering process due to issues with your model’s review methods.

Emphasising Professionalism and Clarity

Improving candidate experience often involves enhancing the application process, demonstrating consistent professionalism and clarity. The key to success is setting clear expectations from day one and simplifying the application process.

Up to 60% of candidates have stopped applying for a role halfway through the process due to its complexity or length. With this in mind:

Write Clear Job Descriptions

Clear, concise job descriptions highlighting the key skills your candidates need are crucial. Avoid using industry jargon and complex terms, even if you believe your candidates will be familiar with them. Work with a recruitment company to ensure you’re leveraging the right language and removing any terms that might be seen as biased towards a group of candidates.

When crafting your job descriptions, focus on must-have skills and attributes for candidates rather than nice-to-have skills and qualities. Additionally, ensure your job descriptions are structured to be easy to read, with clear sub-headings and bullet points.

Demonstrate Professionalism In Communication

Every interaction with your candidates should reflect your company’s values and commitment to showing respect, inclusivity, and transparency. From the initial message you send to candidates thanking them for their application to when you send a rejection email or job offer, ensure your communication is clear and professional.

Refer to your candidate by name and be clear about the next steps in the hiring process. Explain what’s happening at each review stage and provide clear timelines to show candidates how long they can expect to wait for the next update.

Setting Expectations

Clarity is crucial throughout the hiring process. When a candidate chooses to apply for your role, clearly outline your hiring process to them, letting them know what kind of interviews they may need to attend or tests they may be asked to do.

Highlight how you’ll evaluate each candidate clearly and define how long they’ll need to wait for an update on their application’s outcome. Clarifying the hiring processes and timelines will enhance your candidate’s perception of your brand.

Candidates notified regularly of application outcomes are 3.5 times more likely to re-apply for another position with the same company.

The Importance of Feedback and Communication

While numerous factors can influence your candidate’s experience, few things are more important to your employer brand than consistent communication and feedback. Currently, 65% of candidates say they never receive an update on their application.

Whether your candidates successfully apply for a role or not, provide them with clear and constructive feedback. This demonstrates respect for your candidates’ time and effort in the application process. Plus, positive feedback can help candidates understand your company’s values and prepare them for success within your organisation.

Negative feedback could also assist a candidate in improving their chances of getting the right role in future, whether with your company or another business. This improves their perception of your employer brand.

Remember to source feedback from candidates, too. The insights they can provide into the experience they received throughout the application and interviewing process can help you optimise candidate experience in future.

Optimise the Candidate Experience

In a talent-scarce landscape, delivering an excellent candidate experience has never been more important. Embracing professionalism throughout the hiring process, demonstrating a commitment to transparency and clarity and connecting with candidates on a human level will boost your chances of attracting and retaining the right talent.

Happy candidates are up to 38% more likely to accept your job offers. If you’re struggling to make the most of your candidate experience, working with a trusted recruitment company is the easiest option.

They can offer insights into what your candidates are looking for and give you tips that help you excel at everything from writing job descriptions to screening candidates and conducting interviews.

Kind regards

Neil Scarborough – Managing Director

At The Recruiting Office, we have been helping firms with their talent acquisition and a wide range of job seekers find their ideal roles for over a decade and have successfully placed hundreds of top tier candidates. If you want to find out how we can help you – call us on 01603 964816 or email neil@therecruitingoffice.co.uk

Further Reading:

The Simple guide to Building the Right Recruitment Strategy

How to Become a Company People Want to Join