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Candidate Experience Plan: 5 Tips for a Positive-Vibes Process

Did you know the candidate experience starts long before you hop on a virtual call or book an in-person interview?

Every step of the way, from listing a job, to the application process, all the way to final-round interviews and hiring someone, is part of the candidate experience.

Your new hire is usually thrilled to get the job. But if you do it right...even the people who don’t make the cut walk away thinking, “that’s a great company to work for.”

So how do you create a positive candidate experience? 

It really comes down to thinking through the process from start to finish. Here are some things you can do.

1. Get Your Ducks in a Row

Maybe you have a staffing problem, but that doesn’t always mean you need to hire new people. Get organized. Talk with your department managers. 

Make sure you understand what your current team is capable of. And if there’s a gap, define the type of candidate you need to hire to boost productivity and profit.

Tip: Just throwing up a job description hoping a new hire will solve internal problems, has the potential to send the candidate experience in the wrong direction when they actually see what’s going on. Get organized first.

2. Dial in the Job Description

The more specific you can be about required skills, education, experience, and the day-today, the easier it’s going to be to attract the right candidates. 

Include details like salary range, hours, vacation, and other benefits, too.

Give a breakdown of who the person will be working with and reporting to.

Tip: When you’re transparent like this, it starts the candidate experience off on the right foot.

3. Simplify the Application Process

Truth...there’s some job application processes out there that want potential hires to invest a lot of time just to apply...with no guarantee for an interview. It’s just not a good way to start a relationship.

Make the application process as simple as possible, and be clear about what you want interested candidates to do. For example:

  • Answer these three questions by email
  • Submit your resume with a cover letter
  • Apply using your LinkedIn profile
  • Take this short quiz to see if you qualify
  • If you have an online application process, don’t require candidates to create an account or fill out a lot of pages just to apply. 

Tip: For a positive candidate experience, you really want to avoid putting potential hires through a cumbersome and time-consuming process, especially early on.

4. Plan the Interview Process

Whether you meet in person or host a virtual interview with a candidate, it’s important to have a plan for your first face-to-face meeting. It’s another factor that has a big impact on the candidate experience. As you plan the interview process consider things like:

  • When the candidate arrives, who will be the first person to greet him/her?
  • Who will be part of the interview process within your organization?
  • What questions will you ask the candidate?
  • Where will you meet (off-site, on-site, or virtual)?
  • Have you checked with your candidate to find out if they need accommodations?
  • How much time have you allotted for the interview?

Tip: Working out all the details for an interview will help your team be more comfortable with the process. You’ll also improve the candidate experience by doing this.

5. Follow Up with Candidates After the Interview

When you bring in candidates to interview for a position, it’s one more step in the process. And they’ll want to know if they made the cut, or if you chose another candidate for the position as soon as possible. When you wrap up your in-person or virtual interview, let the candidates know your timeline for making a decision. Then follow up with actions such as:

  • Send an email to all the candidates to thank them for participating
  • Inform candidates not selected you’ve filled the position. Most organizations do this via a template or form letter. But if you really want to enhance the candidate experience, send a personalized message with a compliment, feedback, or encouragement.
  • Make an offer to the candidate you’ve selected.
  • If the candidate accepts, have a plan for their start date, orientation, and first day on the job.

Tip: Even though you might not hire someone after an interview, you might need to fill another position. Or your chosen candidate may not accept your offer. Good communication with your candidates makes it easy to follow up when you have another position to fill.

Give Every Candidate a Positive-Vibes Experience

It takes some planning and forethought to create a positive candidate experience, but it’s worth the effort. Your team will feel better about the process, and all your candidates (even those not selected), will too.

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