What makes a great candidate experience?

Over 6,000 workers from various industries share their thoughts

By | 2 minute read | June 25, 2019

Candidate experience is more than a ‘nice to have.’ How people feel about their hiring experience can affect their decision to accept a job offer and become a customer of the company. Given these insights, it’s no wonder that so many hiring companies are seeking ways to improve their candidates’ experience.

So, what makes for a great candidate experience?

We asked more than 6,000 workers from a wide range of industries what made their last experience as a candidate so good. These themes emerged in our analyses:

Work matched the candidates’ interests
16% of the responses related to the work itself (e.g. interesting work, work environment, autonomy at work). For example, a candidate described their good hiring experience as, “[Matching] exactly what I would describe as the perfect job, so the good thing is that now I know what to look for.” This suggests the importance of a good match between jobs and candidates.

There was human interaction
Interestingly, 16% of the responses were about the interactions with hiring managers, co-workers, HR, and recruiters. One candidate said the best part of the recruiting process was that “The interviewer was smiling and happy, not exclusively professional but more open and fun.” Today, many hiring companies focus on reducing time to fill and cost of hiring; but if they want to improve candidate experience, they shouldn’t skimp on the human interaction part of the recruitment process.

Impressive interview and assessment
15% of responses related to positive experiences during the interview and assessment. Interesting skill tests and effective time management during multiple interviews were among the most enjoyable experiences. As a candidate said “The interview process felt personal. The basic IQ test required was a fun experience.” Given that interviews and assessments can be the most stressful part of the hiring process, it is not surprising that a well-organized interview and an interesting skill test would make a good impression on candidates.

Fast and transparent process with timely feedback
7% of the responses talked about the entire hiring process. Specifically, candidates enjoyed a speedy and transparent process and wanted to receive timely feedback. As one candidate said, the hiring experience was great “because it was a transparent process and they informed me at every step.”

Technology and the candidate experience

Recruitment technology, and specifically AI, can certainly help drive improvements in your candidate experience. AI-enabled solutions not only help to improve the match between candidates and jobs, but they can also provide a more personalized experience for candidates. And, they free up time so recruiters can focus more on important human interactions.

If your organization is looking to improve its candidate experience, these themes can provide a useful guide. Aligning to candidate interests, adding more personal interactions, incorporating higher-quality assessments, and offering fast, transparent feedback to candidates can make a world of difference in the way candidates experience your brand.

See more research on the far-reaching impact of candidate experience

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