Nailing the candidate experience: how to win the right talent for your business

7 mins

Did you know that one in three candidates have rejected job offers because of a negative hir...

Did you know that one in three candidates have rejected job offers because of a negative hiring experience? In a competitive job market, candidates are receiving multiple offers and your candidate experience could be the deciding factor in them accepting an offer…or not!

Of course, in today’s digital world, news of your poor candidate experience isn’t likely to stay under wraps. A massive 72% of jobseekers that have experienced a negative candidate experience have shared their thoughts on an online employer review site such as Glassdoor. How do you avoid receiving this kind of negative feedback? The answer lies in providing a smooth, informative, and quick interview process. Here are our top tips.

(1) Communicate effectively

No-one likes to be ghosted! Communication plays a significant role in the candidate’s perception of your company. Keeping them updated on the recruitment process and responding promptly to their inquiries will help to build trust and transparency. Some companies are turning to automated feedback to help with candidate comms. And if you’re working with a specialist recruiter, making sure you have clear SLAs for both CV and interview feedback in place will help to manage candidate expectations too.

But great communication isn’t just about updating candidates throughout the different stages of hiring. It's also important to think about how you communicate regarding the job requirements, company culture, and opportunities. Also, make sure you’re well-prepared and on time for interviews. It’s all these considerations combined that will ensure a smooth process, set accurate expectations, and prevent issues further down the line. It wouldn’t be the first time we’ve spoken to candidates looking to leave their brand-new role because the job turned out to be very different to what was discussed during the interview process.


(2) Streamline your process

A complicated hiring process can be a major turn-off for candidates. In fact, Glassdoor cited that 80% of candidates drop out of an overly complex process. Imagine all the great talent you could be missing out on?

Streamlining your recruitment process and making it user-friendly will help candidates feel less frustrated and more engaged. A simple and straightforward application also demonstrates efficiency and professionalism, making a positive impression on the candidate.

Think about the length and complexity of your application form. Are people asked to input the same information repeatedly, or taken through multiple pages/fields? Could the number of interviews be reduced or happen in a shorter timeframe? If so, work on simplifying the process to encourage more individuals to see it through to the end.

Our advice for the interview process? One stage often isn’t enough for the candidate to digest the information and get through all the questions they have, and similarly, for the client to make a judgement call. A two-stage interview process is optimal as they have time to reflect on the first stage and prepare questions for the second stage, and meet more of the team they’ll be working with. Any more than this could put candidates off or see them getting snapped up by the competition.

Also, adding too many technical tests can decrease the diversity of applicants. Think about working parents, for example. They have very little time outside of work and parenting duties to complete these. Take a recent example of ours. We recommended a client looking to hire more females to remove their technical test and go straight to a working case study in the interview. This allowed candidates to articulate their solution and for our client to assess their thought process live to speed up the hiring process. For the working mothers interviewing, it didn’t encroach on personal time spent with their kids or force them to take more time off work. It finally also meant the client was able to attract the female talent they were lacking.


(3) Personalise the experience

Everyone likes to receive great service and the recruitment process is no different. Candidates appreciate being seen as individuals with unique skills and interests, so personalise their experience.

Always address them by their name, provide only information relevant to the job they’re applying for, and be attentive and reactive to their questions and concerns. Provide personalised feedback throughout, and especially following the interview.

These steps are key in candidates feeling valued and appreciated. Why is that so important? Quite simply, you’ll strengthen their connection to the company - whether successful in getting a role with you or not.

Do you want to really stand out? Let every candidate know which areas they excelled in, and which require development. And, add what you can do as a business to help them develop in this area. Career progression and learning opportunities are highly sought after by candidates, and this is one way to show you’re the business that will help them accomplish that.

Take one of our hires for a consulting client. The client absolutely loved the candidate: relevant experience, strong soft skills and a great cultural fit. But moving from a small sized business to a big consultancy meant that the role would be a big jump in terms of responsibilities and technical know-how. Rather than letting this be a stumbling block for either party, the client provided detailed feedback after the final interview, highlighting the positives and the areas for improvement as well as how they would help the candidate get up-to-speed through formal and on-the-job training. For the candidate, this solidified why the company was the right choice for them, and it also helped them understand and appreciate the final offer put on the table. More than 4 years later, they're still with that business.


(4) Make onboarding seamless

Remember, the candidate experience doesn't end at the job offer. Making the onboarding process seamless and thorough is an essential part of creating an all-round positive experience.

Streamlining is important again here. Ensure admin is completed efficiently and consistently, and provide all relevant information about the company, the role, and your expectations at the outset.

And one very important point, stay in touch with candidates during their notice period and invite them to any socials or work events taking place before they officially join. We recently worked with a candidate who was made a new counteroffer every week for 12 weeks by their current employer. If it hadn’t been for us and our client continuously staying in contact with him and inviting him to attend a technical summit with his new team, he admitted almost taking the easier route and accepting the counteroffer. He told us the summit was the real turning point for him as he built relationships throughout the day and left excited about his colleagues, the tech stack, and the new opportunity,

Finally, have a standard and efficient induction process in place for all new starters. Offer them mentors or ‘buddies’ for their settling in period, and assign a point of contact for any questions or concerns they may have.


(5) Gather and use feedback

Key to continuously improving your candidate experience? Gathering and analysing feedback from candidates and your recruitment partner. This will provide you with valuable insights into how your company can improve its recruitment and onboarding processes. Ultimately, you’ll enhance your candidate experience.

Capturing feedback demonstrates that your business values people and is committed to continuous improvement.


Creating an excellent candidate experience requires some planning. Attention to detail and a real commitment to providing the best possible experience for candidates are crucial. But by working on the steps above, you can attract the best talent in the industry.

At Apollo, we’re not just matching talent with vacancies. We’re constantly partnering with companies to improve their candidate attraction and to surpass the expectations of prospective hires and employees by reviewing and improving their entire recruitment strategy. Are you ready to become an employer of choice for the best Technology or Corporate Governance talent? We can help you. Let’s get the ball rolling!

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