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How to improve your candidate experience one interview at a time

How to improve your candidate experience throughout the job interview process

Hey there, and welcome to part three of our complete guide to improving your recruitment processes. If you’ve missed out on part one and two you can find them through the links below:

Part 1 – Streamlining vacancy requisition

Part 2 – Improving candidate screening and selection

Your vacancies have been approved, you’ve run a killer recruitment marketing campaign, and selected your perfect candidates for consideration. The next step: interviews.

As we discussed in our Comprehensive Guide to Creating a Killer Recruitment Marketing Strategy, candidates are 38% more likely to accept a job offer if they’ve had a positive candidate experience. One of the key parts of the candidate experience is the interview process, so we’re here to help you fine tune it, one candidate at a time.

Let’s take a look at what you can do to make the hiring process as smooth as possible for everyone involved and reduce your time to hire.

Allow self-service interview booking

In a world of online booking, self-service checkouts, and where there is an app for everything, modern candidates are used to being in control of their schedules, wants, and needs. Allowing your candidates to select their own interview dates benefits everyone involved. Firstly, it provides agency for the applicant, which is increasingly important in a candidate-driven job market.

Secondly, it streamlines the booking process, as your ATS can update automatically when interview slots are available and when they are filled, which allows both sides full visibility of interview timings, avoiding emails back and forth.

Thirdly, it removes the need for third parties, such as office administrators or hiring teams to get involved which will ultimately cut hiring costs and reduce time to hire, one candidate at a time.

Be flexible with interview dates

Leading on from self-service, being flexible with interview dates is a fantastic and easy way to improve the candidate experience. While we understand this is not always possible in large organisations in industries such as retail who often engage in volume hiring, being flexible with dates and allowing your candidates to work around their own schedules gives a fantastic first impression.

We’ve said it before, but the market is heavily candidate-driven. Often those interviewing will already be hired elsewhere, so being strict on interview timeslots may mean you lose out on top talent who aren’t willing or able to miss work at their current job to attend a pre-determined interview date and time.

Enter interviews fully prepared

Although this may sound like the sort of advice you’d offer a candidate, it’s true for interviewers as well. It is important for everyone involved that you have a clear idea of what you want from your candidate (and also what you definitely don’t want) before the interview process begins. This will help you to streamline the interview itself, enable you to create and ask more targeted questions, and allow you to make decisions regarding your candidates much more quickly.

Whichever side of the interview you are on, it pays to be prepared. It is worth considering, however, that someone may surprise you and bring something to the table you didn’t expect. The more prepared you are for the interview, the clearer a picture of your organisation the individual will get. This will also enable you to steer the conversation towards particular topics to ensure best quality candidates are offered the positions.

Make decisions about your candidates quickly

One of the most crucial parts of the process is the wait between interview and job offer. Candidates are much more likely to drop out of the application process if they are made to wait. This could be because they’ve been interviewing elsewhere and offered another job sooner, or it could be because the candidate would rather not work for an organisation who doesn’t stay in touch.

Staying in touch with you candidates before and after the interview process is vital to a positive candidate experience. If you can, make a decision about each candidate within 48 hours of interviewing them, especially those you wish to hire. Long waiting periods, especially those without touchpoints, can be off-putting for candidates, especially as they are likely to be applying for multiple jobs at the same time.

Provide decision deadlines to candidates

There is always the chance that when you find your ideal candidate, they may not feel your organisation is the right fit for them. If this is the case, you want to get in touch with the next person on your list as soon as possible. This is just one of the reasons it’s important to provide decision-making deadlines to your successful candidates when you offer them a job.

Providing a deadline to your candidates, without applying pressure on them to take the job, allows you to continue with the process sooner, reducing your time to hire. It also works as an additional quality filter, as those unsure about your organisation (and therefore less likely to be the right fit for you) are less likely to take the job if a tight decision deadline is in place. While this may feel like a setback, it provides long term benefits in terms of the quality of hires as well as saving time.

Stay in touch between job offer and onboarding

As with the timeframe between interview and job offer, regular communication with your candidates is vital to improving the candidate experience. Keeping your successful candidates in the loop about a whole range of simple things including directions, what to expect on their first day, and anything they may need to bring with them, will ensure a smoother transition into their new job.

We’ll discuss the onboarding process in more detail next time, but this period of communication is vital in keeping your successful candidates engaged with the job, especially in industries where notice periods tend to be upwards of four weeks.

That’s all for part three of our guide to optimising your recruitment processes. If you missed out on part 1 or 2

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Written by Claire Moloney

Claire is an enthusiastic and meticulous content writer whose passion is to support growth and continual learning for everyone.


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