The term “candidate experience” is sometimes viewed as synonymous with “hiring process”, but, in fact, the two phrases are very different. Hiring process refers to the company’s process of evaluating, interviewing, background screening, and onboarding an applicant, whereas the job candidate experience is based on the applicant’s experience.

Does the company display respect or consideration for his or her time? What level of communication is provided to the applicant? Are they only contacted if there is interest or does the company send a follow up email thanking the individual for their interest and giving details regarding next steps?

More companies are beginning to realize that the candidate experience is a reflection of their brand. And never forget, your applicants are often your customers—or potential customers.

What Can You Do to Enhance the Candidate Experience?

Candidate experience best practices are based primarily on clear communication and acknowledging the prospect’s value. When an individual decides to apply to a new company, they are making the decision to dedicate their time to write a cover letter, upload a resume, and complete any additional fields the employer deems necessary—depending on the requirements, this could be a commitment of about an hour. Although, how much do they really know about your company or the position they are applying to?

Let Candidates Decide If They Are A Match

All too often, an applicant will read the job description, apply, and be readily available for all stages of the hiring process—then, once hired, he or she realizes they don’t even like the job. Now, they’ve wasted their time; you’ve wasted your time; and you’re back to step one. Fortunately, this can be avoided.

Companies are encouraged to develop job scenarios that allow the prospective applicant to determine if the position is one that they are qualified for or one that he or she even wants. This strategy emphasizes your brand’s transparency while saving the time you may have spent evaluating an uninterested applicant.

When You Remove Them From Consideration, Offer An Explanation

For many roles, a pre-assessment, in the form of an online questionnaire, is conducted to determine the candidate compatibility. These assessment models are built to output a score per candidate, or end employment consideration all together. If, and when, an applicant is no longer being considered for a position, companies are encouraged to inform him or her of the reason why. This gives the company an opportunity to justify the decision, while offering a confirmation to the applicant that they would not be contacted for an interview.

Win or Lose: Maintain High-Level Communication

Many applicants report never hearing much from the company in which they applied—and at most, they received an auto-reply email sent immediately after the resume had been submitted; however, maintaining high-level communication throughout the hiring process will make the candidate feel as if their time was valued—regardless of the outcome. If he or she will no longer be considered, have the recruiter make contact to inform him or her of the decision. Often, companies will make contact during the lunch hour to have a better chance of reaching their voicemail. Even if the outcome isn’t in their favor, a courteous call expressing appreciation for their time is always a great practice.

There is an incredible importance around employment background checks and effective onboarding; however, moving forward, companies must also consider the candidate’s perception of the organization during the hiring process. You work hard to maintain to maintain a high quality brand, so be sure to extend that effort in the development or restructure of the employment candidate experience.