When everything from restaurants to hospitals can be reviewed by customers and patients, it should come as no surprise that businesses are being reviewed, too. From first contact to exit interview, candidates and employees share opinions about your business across the internet. Candidate experience reviews are especially important when it comes to your talent pool. An astonishing 35% of candidates who have a negative experience will spread their story publically, including across social media—a PR nightmare for everyone involved. Even if your overall Glassdoor rating is exceptional, reports of a negative candidate experience will turn away qualified professionals.

If your business provides a top-notch candidate experience, i.e. the combined experience a potential employee has throughout the application process, you will not only find qualified professionals to fill current job openings but also maintain a pool of talent from which you can pick at will.

Read on to discover six ways your business can improve the candidate experience.

1. Be transparent.

Creating a transparent process is the first step to improving the candidate experience.

Throughout the hiring process, regularly update candidates regarding whether or not they have progressed to the next level of interview. This even extends to initial form entries: 86% of candidates say that the lack of an application confirmation email creates a bad candidate experience. Send updates often to ensure candidates will understand that you appreciate their applications.

Transparency extends to other parts of the interview as well: if your candidate asks questions about company culture, answer fully and truthfully—otherwise, your new employee may not be with your company for long.

2. Improve your career website or page.

Top-of-the-line professionals want to work at companies that are well-managed, streamlined, and modern. If your career page looks out of date or neglected, excellent candidates might turn away.

Ensure your career page runs smoothly and provides thorough information about available jobs. Keep the information on this site updated (and congruous with the information you have on LinkedIn and other channels) so candidates have a clear picture of the opportunities you’re offering.

3. Simplify the application process.

If you want candidates to complete the application process, you need to make it easy for them to apply.

For example, an astonishing 78% of candidates would apply to jobs from their mobile phones if that option were available. Is your application site mobile-optimized? Can candidates start your application with a simple click from your career page, or do they have to sign up for a special site to do it?

An additional common complaint is redundant application questions; 60% of applicants will quit mid-application because forms are too long. The shorter your application forms, the more likely applicants will complete the application. Keep form questions to the bare minimum, and simply add a place uploading resumes; you should be able to find most candidate information there.

4. Perfect the interview.

Standardize scheduling processes and office procedures; interviewees should experience a streamlined, well-defined schedule as soon as they arrive. After spending an average of 22.9 days on the interview process, you don’t want to lose a candidate just because there was no one to greet them at the front desk when they arrived.

Interviewers should compile a standard list of routine questions to ask, with no on-the-fly interview questions that may be irrelevant. Ensure that interviews are well-planned and never exceed the allotted time; respecting your interviewees’ time will earn their appreciation and trust.

5. Ask for feedback.

Feedback is one of the easiest and most reliable ways to pinpoint the parts of your candidate experience that need improvement.

A popular way to gather candidate feedback is to ask recently hired employees for their opinions. Nearly 27% of businesses survey candidates about their experience after they are hired, while almost 14% request feedback after the interview but before official hiring.
While it may make sense to ask for feedback after each stage of the process, keep in mind that rejected applicants may provide intentionally malicious feedback. On the other hand, applicants that have not received a job offer yet may be unwilling to provide a negative (but honest) review.

6. Maintain relationships.

Most importantly, be sure to maintain an especially good relationship with your candidates.

Send follow-ups whether or not candidates get the job, briefly explaining that you appreciate their time, but were not able to extend an offer. For excellent applicants who didn’t quite make the cut, offer the opportunity to stay in touch. While a candidate may not be a perfect fit now, a year can make a striking difference.

While each of these improvement ideas is different, there is a common theme: good communication. Overall, maintaining seamless communication from the discovery phase to the acceptance letter is the best way to improve the candidate experience—and create a community of applicants you can draw from for years to come.

In conclusion, good communication starts with the application process. For tips on writing effective copy, check out our blog post 3 Tips for Creating a Strong Employee Value Proposition.