• Lisa Fedrizzi

4 Ways to Maximize Your Organization's Candidate Experience

Updated: May 31, 2019

You’ve likely heard the term “war for talent”. Well, it’s real, and the candidate experience in this talent driven market is crucial for companies to not only understand but embrace. The recruiting process has changed over the years and so have the candidate expectations. Companies have had to adapt to the changing landscape when it comes to attracting talent. Candidates today are keenly focused on the cultural experience, that is, the right fit for them personally and professionally. Your Human Resources and Talent Leaders will set the tone for the candidate experience to ensure you showcase your employee-centric company.

So, what can you do maximize it? Begin by reflecting on your current practices. What do you do now? What is the most important message you want a candidate to remember from his/her experience with your organization? How can you ensure that you have done your best to showcase your company and its team? Consider these tips.

Setting Up Sourcing for Success

Company Website:

  • How does it read? Is it a warm welcome? The employee experience should be a priority throughout your page. It should be engaging to potential candidates that are looking for inclusive careers. This should be front and center.

  • Include employee quotes and stories at varying levels. Candidates should be able to identify with your employees and envision what it would be like for them to work there.

  • Are there authentic visuals of employees at your company? Videos of employees speaking about their experience is a great way to make this enticing and interactive. Pictures—and video clips—can speak a thousand words about your culture.

  • Is it easy to navigate? Or does the candidate have to click through many pages to get to insight into who you are and why they should work for you? If there are more than three clicks to the page, the candidate will easily lose interest.

Your Applicant Tracking System:

  • Have you conducted a thoughtful review to remove any barriers or biases you may not be aware of?

  • Is it as streamlined as possible? Are you requiring candidates to duplicate their information? This can be frustrating and many times the candidate will not continue with the application.

  • Is your system outdated? You may need to look into a newer, more efficient one that does not require the candidate to be overly burdened throughout the process (such as creating an account, etc.)

  • Test your system quarterly with current employees so you are comfortable that process still makes sense. This is a perfect opportunity to tweak any weaknesses.

The Auto-Reply

  • Yes, you need one! Keep it warm, grateful and authentic. Be sure to shout out that you are committed to being an inclusive and equal opportunity employer.

  • Perhaps offer a hotline number that candidates can call to leave a message to follow up on their application. Many already feel removed from the process, often not sure if a “human” has reviewed their application. Candidates refer to it as the “black hole” of resume submission.

Reaching Out

The Interview:

  • Now that you have gone through your resumes, it is time to reach out to the candidate. This should happen within 48 hours of receiving the resume. A warm, candidate-centric email with specifics on next steps, the screening and the interview itself is important.

  • Personalize the email to the candidate to make them feel a part of the process from the beginning.

  • Be sure to share your company’s address for face to face interviews. While this sounds dated, some companies don’t list their address on their website. If your company has moved in the last year or two, Google doesn’t always have the correct address. Include a map of the area and cross streets. Little things go a long way in those emails to show you are interested in supporting them and want them to have a positive, smooth experience.

  • Let the candidate know who they will be meeting with. Give them an opportunity to look up the person or team on LinkedIn. The better you prepare the candidate, the better the experience will be all around, including for your team!

  • Give the candidate a timeframe for the initial interview. Be mindful that they may be on their lunch hour or an allotted time of PTO. On-time starts and stops during the interview process will show that you respect them and their time as well as present your organization in an organized manner.

  • You should always try to limit the interview process to no more than three meetings. The candidate experience should be fluid, and if you feel that you need more than three meetings, reevaluate. Consider your team and/or a panel rather than individual interviewers. Again, be sure the candidate is aware, so they can be prepared.

  • Feedback should be given in a timely manner to the candidate. If you move forward with the next round of interviews, remember to be mindful of the candidate’s time. Candidates who feel rushed or pressured will interview poorly, and that my impact their interest in your company and your role or, worst-case, cause damage your brand. If you are moving forward to the next round, schedule that meeting within a week. If a candidate is actively interviewing, prolonging the process could cost you that candidate.

  • Open and active communication throughout the interview process is essential to keep the candidate engaged.

Being Responsive


  • Email the candidate and ask if they have time for a quick chat. Always extend the offer live. This makes it more personable and sends a warm and caring message.

  • Send the offer documents within 15 minutes of the call. You’ve now excited your candidate to join, so continue the delight with the written offer right away.

  • Include fun, upbeat facts and tidbits about the company in the offer.

  • Once they have accepted, you now have two weeks to get prepared for their start. Send a welcome email with photos of their team or a postcard or card to their home saying how excited you are that they are joining. All of these little things go a long way with your candidate experience, which then creates the start of the equally important employee experience.

Staying in Touch

One of the most important things to remember as you are actively searching for top talent is that candidates consider the entire process from initial outreach to final interviews as part of their decision-making if an offer is made.

By continuously maximizing your candidate experience, you showcase that the talent process is part of the company brand, mission, vision and values. This will not only help you to attract viable, talented candidates, but will also help you with your employee engagement and retention.