You know the candidate experience is critical to hiring great people:

Actionable steps to improve your candidate experience
  1. Start from the top: quick acknowledgement of applications.

Many automated systems exist now that allow recruiters to send a confirmation email or even text as soon as an applicant submits an application.

This simple, easy and quick (due to automation) step means applicants no longer wonder if their candidacy has started. (It also means no emails, text or calls to your office to double check the application was received.)

  1. Communicate. Communicate.

There’s really no such thing as “too much” communication as far as candidates are concerned.

  • “Did they get my application?”
  • “Will I be called for an interview?”
  • “Will I be asked in for a second interview?”
  • “When will they let me know if I haven’t been chosen?”
  • “Will they let me know if there’s been some sort of delay in choosing the person they will hire?”

Regular and timely updates through each step of the recruiting process is not just what your candidates want, it’s what they need.

It’s far too easy for recruiters and hiring managers to forget what it’s like to wait for that text, email or phone call letting them know they will be interviewed, of if they’re no longer in the running.

Meanwhile, the job candidate waits Every. Single. Day. for information regarding his or her life-changing application. (And, please, never forget that applying for work can be life-changing.)

Therefore, as soon as you know you’re not moving forward with a candidate, let them know.

(Automation also can be your friend here: send out a “thank you for applying notice” to anyone you’re not going to interview as soon as you start interviewing.)

  1. Thoughtful and respectful interviews.

Ensure anyone interviewing candidates for a particular position is clear on what the position needs in a candidate. Provide interviewers with training, if needed.

Train them especially in being respectful and kind to candidates. Let them know how critical the candidate experience is for each applicant, regardless of whether or not the interviewer decides if the candidate is a good fit.

  1. Offer a process/decision timeline to each candidate.

Let candidates know what the next steps are in the hiring process and when they should expect to hear from you. Then reach out within the deadline you set. Even if you haven’t made a decision or there’s a delay, let candidates know that.

  1. An extra candidate experience step that few people do, but which is, just… WOW!

Send a handwritten thank you note to EACH candidate you interviewed. (Note: this should be in addition to any email you send regarding their candidacy.)

This “small thing” is huge. Truly. Even if you’ve decided not to pursue their candidacy, a nice note complimenting them on at least one thing about their skills, knowledge, attitude, etc. is incredibly powerful. This pretty much ensures that the candidate leaves the interview process with a good impression of your company.

  1. Once a candidate accepts your offer, send an onboarding package.

This could include (but needn’t be limited to):

  • Details about their first day
  • Needed pre-employment paperwork
  • Information about the company culture.
  • A small item of company swag, such as a t-shirt, coffee mug, etc. (This helps the candidate feel like a member of your team even before the first day on the job.)


  1. Check in regularly with the candidate as their start date moves closer.

Answer questions they may have, etc. Remind them of important details regarding their start date. Doing this helps ensure the candidate will show up on the first day.

Once they arrive for their first day on the job, introduce them around, take them to lunch (if possible; harder to do if the person is remote), etc. Aim to make their first day memorable and welcoming.

  1. Notify EVERY person with whom you interviewed.

If you know quickly that you won’t be moving forward with the candidate, an email – not a text – is appropriate. Let them know if they have questions about why they weren’t chosen that you’re available, and then be available if they take you up on your offer.

(Note: People who applied but didn’t interview should have received a notice before you started interviewing, or very soon after. A text notice is fine here.)

But texting is not OK for those who took the time and effort to either meet with you via video or make a trip to your office. These candidates absolutely deserve an email/phone call and the opportunity to ask questions.

  1. Reach out to former candidates every now and then.

Many people aren’t great for one position but might be perfect for another. Stay in touch with them: send a company newsletter, a link to your company’s social media channels, etc.

For “second-choice” applicants (those you thought could make terrific employees for other positions, should the right one come up), reach out with a personal email every now and then, asking them how they’re doing, etc. Each interaction with a candidate now or in the future is a chance to showcase your company’s values and culture.

Let’s all of us who work in recruiting make it a great one for our candidates.

Debbie’s Staffing can help your company source, and contact terrific candidates for your hiring needs.

Learn more about how we can help your company not only find top talent, but also provide pre-employment screening services, payrolling, training and testing, create custom employee orientations, and more.