Enhancing the recruitment process for a better candidate experience

Following ‘attraction’, the next stage of the employee lifecycle is ‘recruitment’. This follows through from the initial application process right through to the interviewing process and selection process. It can affect the way your applicants – that may also be customers – perceive your brand.

Start the employee lifecycle process on the right foot; you wouldn’t expect your customers and clients to work their way through a complex purchasing process, so don’t expect your potential recruits to work their way through a complex application process.

Competition for talent is fierce, with millennials only staying in their roles for an average of three years – the job market is constantly revolving, with talent highly sought after.

Apply in one click

You can enhance your candidate experience simply by putting yourself in your applicants’ shoes – you know that they are interested in joining your organisation, so what next?

Your application process must be simple. Ask yourself:
  • Can I apply on my mobile device?
  • Is the job description clear so that I could tailor my application accordingly?
  • Can I upload my CV?
  • Are the forms long and unnecessarily complicated?
  • Are there questions unrelated to the job role?

If you are not satisfied with your answers, it is unlikely that potential candidates will be either – and they may opt to apply for other organisations, including your competitors. Keep the competitive edge on your application process by being seen to provide a clear candidate experience.

Candidate experience

Application Tracking Systems (ATSs) allow candidates to submit their details easily in relation to the role they are interested in. Online application forms allow for information to be presented in a consistent format [1]. This will aid your hiring manager as this removes bias – all information will be presented in a similar manner.

Some candidates may appreciate the option to upload a CV too; a smart ATS should be able to extract the information in the CV and insert into the relevant fields automatically. The candidate should then be able to review the online application before submitting.

To enhance the candidate experience further, recruiters should advise candidates in advance of what to expect from the selection process, including how long it will take and the type of assessment they will undergo [2]. The provision of frequent communications will enrich their experience and can be automated to reduce HR administration. The experience of candidates (both successful and unsuccessful) at each stage of the recruitment process will impact on their view of the organisation [1].

Once the closing date has been reached, an ATS will allow HR teams and hiring managers to view all applicants in one manageable tool to perform like-for-like comparisons so that a shortlist can be created for the interviewing process.


If you were a biscuit, what would you be and why?

Once you have shortlisted a list of candidates that show good potential, the next stage of the recruitment process begins: interviewing.

Interviewing can cause a great deal of stress to candidates and can make or break their beliefs in you. Their view of your organisation can be impacted at each stage of the recruitment process [1] and this is amplified once they have dealt with your organisation in person.

Prior to the interview, provide each candidate with comprehensive details – from your office’s location through to parking; what to expect in the selection process, the expected duration of interview and the type of assessment they will undergo [2]. Not only will this provide reassurance, you can be assured that interviewees will be able to attend fully equipped and prepared for your expectations.

Tailor your interview questions to the job description and expectations, and to your company’s culture. Whilst enquiring into a candidate’s experience is standard practice, you may opt to ask ‘quirky’ or creative questions to gauge an understanding of how they work or their personality – after all, if successful, they will need to integrate into the existing team.

Make use of an effective ATS by keeping track of each of the interviews. By adding notes to each candidate’s profile, you will be able to make comparisons simply and on one screen. Make your ATS go even further by automating emails thanking candidates for their time and providing a timescale of when they should expect to hear back for the outcome of the interview.

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“Natural selection is anything but random”

Once you have met with each of your interviewees, it is time to make a decision. Involve current team members – they will be working alongside the new recruit, so they will appreciate a say and will be able to advise on the best fit for the team.

To enhance the final stage of the ‘recruitment’ candidate experience, use your ATS’s communication functionality to inform non-successful candidates that this is the case, thanking them for their time. Again, the experience of candidates (both successful and unsuccessful) will impact on their view of the organisation [1]. Whilst they may have been unsuccessful on this occasion, they may be suitable for another position in the future, or recommend work associates for your organisation, so leave them with a good impression of your organisation.

Recruiting for the future

The recruitment process can be long with applications, interviews and selections taking place over the course of several weeks. However, an ATS can make the process smoother for HR teams, hiring managers and candidates by reducing administration and frustrations, and improving relations and brand reputation.


[1] CIPD Recruitment Factsheet, 9 January 2017

[2] CIPD Selection Factsheet, 10 November 2016


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