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Why Candidate Experience Matters: 7 Steps to Make Yours Stand Out

Recruiter shaking hands with an applicant to improve candidate experience

The hiring market is fiercer than ever. Organizations are fighting over a limited candidate pool, so standing out is crucial to landing top talent. 

Here’s the good news: Communicating what truly sets your company apart makes attracting promising job applicants easier⎯and one of the best ways to distinguish yourself in a competitive hiring market is a positive candidate experience.

Read below to know what candidate experience is and how to improve it.

What is candidate experience? 

Understanding candidate experience is the first step to finding top talent. Candidate experience refers to how job applicants feel about your company’s hiring process. It’s more than just a series of steps; it’s a narrative that shapes their perception of your organization. 

Think of candidate experience as the journey they take to understand your company. Every touchpoint matters, from when they discover your job posting to the moment they accept your offer. It’s an opportunity to showcase your company’s culture and what it stands for, how you treat job applicants, and what they can expect working for you.

Ultimately, a hassle-free candidate experience leaves a memorable impression that positively impacts your employer brand. 

Why is candidate experience important?

Today’s business landscape is experiencing a “Talent War,” wherein companies compete with other firms to attract top-level employees. Workers have numerous options, making the hiring market more competitive than ever before. When securing a job, candidates prefer companies that cater to their career goals while allowing time for personal life.

Top-talent employees assess the overall hiring experience they get from a company—from the initial interaction to the job offer—to decide whether to take the offer. So, while you’re evaluating the candidate, they’re also assessing your company to know if it fits them well. In fact, 75% of applicants have accepted a company’s offer because of a positive candidate experience. 

Besides making candidates want to work for you, a smooth job application process attracts them to your organization’s story, and eventually makes them more loyal employees.

How to Improve Candidate Experience

You can develop loyal employees as early as the hiring stage by crafting a pleasant candidate experience. Here are the top strategies to improve your candidate experience.

1. Write clear, detailed job descriptions

Well-written job descriptions are essential for attracting top talent, helping you stand out among the thousands of listings from other companies. Clarifying the role’s responsibilities and qualifications also shows applicants how they can impact the company’s mission. They may become more interested in applying if the description matches their career path or goals. 


Plus, including your organization’s culture and values in the job listing allows candidates to resonate with your story. An impact statement with a compelling call to action emphasizing employees’ contributions demonstrates your company’s appreciation for individual and team success.

2. Simplify the application process 

The application process is a gateway and not a barrier. According to recent statistics, 60% of candidates stop midway through a job application if the process is too long. As such, a simple process where candidates can follow through with their application is necessary and gives more opportunities for landing the best talent. 

For example, enabling “Easy Apply” features on LinkedIn lets candidates swiftly submit their profiles and applications. Your company can also benefit from allowing candidates to upload large files on your careers page when submitting their CVs and portfolios.

3. Touch base early and often

Communication sets the tone for the entire candidate experience. You can provide prompt acknowledgment receipts for job applications to recognize applicants’ efforts in going through the process. This proactive communication cultivates a sense of respect and consideration while enhancing the candidate’s perception of your company. 

Plus, communicating with job seekers throughout the process can eliminate feelings of neglect. They’ll be more likely to immediately respond when you give an offer, reducing your time-to-hire rate and increasing recruitment efficiency.

4. Avoid redundancy

Candidates appreciate efficiency. That does not include lengthy processes, which can lead to job applicants abandoning the application mid-way. Conversely, removing redundant steps in your application process can prevent this issue. For instance, a work history form is impractical if your job portal already features a CV file upload option.

Another no-no is having multiple rounds of interviews that ask similar questions each time. It’s better to focus on meaningful interactions, such as in-depth discussions about their accomplishments and challenges, so they’ll feel valued as potential employees.

5. Communicate what candidates can expect

Transparency breeds confidence—and clearly outlining the stages of the hiring process helps applicants build trust. For example, if you’re using pre-employment tests, candidates can better show their potential when you explain what the tests are for and how they measure relevant skills. Of course, it’s essential to use the best pre-employment assessment tests that focus on the specifics of the position. 

When candidates know what to expect from each hiring stage, they can put their best foot forward and confidently communicate their value. This approach suits your goal of improving the candidate experience while fostering trust and rapport with the applicants. 

6. Inform the candidate of the rejection ASAP

A rejected candidate today can be a potential advocate tomorrow. Swift rejections are not only courteous but also respectful of the candidate’s time and effort. Letting them know your decision, even if it’s a rejection during the resume filtering stage, can maintain the candidate’s positive perception of your company. They might even recommend your organization to their peers.


7. Be open to feedback 

Giving applicants the chance to provide feedback is one of the best ways you can improve your candidate experience. Their insights allow you to quickly identify bottlenecks and problem areas in your hiring process. Take feedback forms, for example. This tool lets you gather relevant information and use it to refine your approach to candidate experience.

Elevate the Hiring Journey for Your Candidates

Crafting an exceptional candidate experience speaks of your company’s commitment to fostering meaningful connections with potential hires. 

But, make no mistake. Candidate experience goes beyond procedures; it’s about putting applicants at the center of the process through seamless interactions, transparency, and meaningful communication.

When assessing applicants’ competencies, reach out to EmployTest. We offer pre-employment assessment tests that simplify the hiring process for the candidates while enabling you to thoroughly evaluate your applicant’s skills and expertise. Check out our pre-employment assessment test sample today for your candidates’ positive hiring experience!