The candidate experience is tremendously important, but it’s often an overlooked component of recruitment. The candidate experience gives potential employees a glimpse of how a company works and treats its staff even before they are employed. Therefore, a positive recruitment process should ensure applicants are appreciated and respected, as this will improve chances of them being enthusiastic to work for your organisation, and that they will be advocates of your brand. 

What is the candidate experience

The candidate experience refers to a person’s feelings when going through a company’s job application process. In broad terms, the candidate experience can improve or negatively taint an applicant’s opinion of the hiring company for reasons that may have little to do with the actual open position.

Why the candidate experience matters

By creating a positive hiring process, you’ll create a cycle of advantageous outcomes.

A positive candidate experience makes a person more likely to be an advocate of your organisation and recommend your company to their peer groups, regardless of whether they get the job.

It’s also worth remembering that your candidates – whether successful in landing the role or not – might one day become your customers or brand advocates. After all, if we imagine that one position receives interest from 200 applicants, only one of those applicants will land the role – meaning that a negative candidate experience could affect 199 potential customers or brand advocates.

Further, a preferred candidate who’s offered the role could still be deterred from accepting it if their candidate experience has been poor. Just as you have been judging and observing the candidate throughout the process, they too have been observing and judging you as an employer.

What makes a great candidate experience?


When you effectively communicate with candidates throughout each step of your recruiting process, they are far more likely to have a positive experience with your company. Good communication means prompt follow-up, or at least following up by the date you’d agreed to do so. Radio silence for too long will leave you vulnerable to a preferred candidate being snatched up by another employer. 

Setting expectations:

Those managing the hiring process should ensure that the steps of the interview process are clearly explained. How many stages does the interview process involve? What will be covered in each interview? How long will the overall process take? These are all things the candidate will want to know and knowledge that will provide them with a sense of comfort. 

Minimising interview stress:

Interview stress can be minimised by giving candidates plenty of notice. This paints a positive image of you as employer, showing you don’t set unrealistic expectations in a real-life working environment. If part of the interview process is an assignment, give your candidate enough time to complete it, and check your candidate will be able to complete the task within the allotted time. 


Holding fair, equitable interview processes is essential when judging candidates against one another. By holding structured interviews whereby all candidates are asked the same questions, hiring managers avoid the risk of implicit bias creeping in. 


When Whether or not your candidate is successful in any interview stage, providing them with feedback shows respect and helps candidates in their job search. After all, a candidate has taken the time to interview with you, so the least that you can do as a hiring manager is to pay them back for their investment of time by specifically outlining why their candidacy wasn’t a match – and where they did and didn’t do so well. This makes the experience personalised and thoughtful as opposed to sending a blanket automated email to unsuccessful candidates. Feedback should flow in both ways, too. Candidates can feed back on their candidate experience via a short survey, which helps employers to continuously improve in this area. 

Getting candidates onboard

Once the successful candidate has accepted the job offer and reference checks are underway, the onboarding experience can begin. This includes collecting vital information such as proof of identity and working rights, enabling the contract creation phase to begin.

HROnboard’s onboarding solution enables talent teams to create, send and process job offers and advanced provisioning, faster – with a fully-customisable onboarding experience. With nothing to print and a seamless electronic acceptance, new hires can accept their offer from anywhere, on any device.

Using an onboarding solution such as this reduces onboarding time from weeks to hours, enabling candidates to quickly become hires and to hit the ground running with an amazing start to their employee journey.

How to improve the candidate experience: A checklist

Here is a simple checklist of items hiring managers can complete to make sure their candidate experience is as positive as possible: 

  • Confirm receipt of application
  • Be transparent about all interview stages
  • Reduce interview stress
  • Provide feedback and make it personalised
  • Collect feedback via a candidate experience survey
  • Thank the candidate sincerely for their time and input, regardless of the outcome

HROnboard, an ELMO company, offers a best-in-class software solution that reduces the amount of time HR teams and leaders spend securing the best candidates and undertaking the critical onboarding process for new hires. Our solution also helps manage internal employee role changes and can create a smooth and seamless process for exiting employees. To find out more, reach us here.

ELMO Software offers people, pay and process solutions for the entire employee lifecycle, from ‘hire to retire’. This includes recruitment, learning, performance management, payroll, rostering / time & attendance, expense management, and more. For further information, contact us.

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