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Improving the candidate experience from outreach to offer

Austin Belisle
Senior Marketing Manager
December 7, 2023

Imagine you're a product manager interviewing for a fully remote position. The company HQ is in the Bay Area, but the job description lists “anywhere” as its location. In your initial interview, the recruiter emphasizes the company's people-centric culture and commitment to work-life balance — a welcomed change from your past experiences. 

However, despite the initial promise of workplace boundaries and remote work, the recruiter schedules an 8:00 pm interview with the hiring manager and later insists on an in-person interview in San Francisco, citing company policy. Confused and concerned, you question the necessity of flying in for an interview when the role is supposed to be fully remote. Ultimately, despite your interest in the role, you withdraw from consideration. 

The candidate experience didn’t align with the company’s espoused values, and you couldn’t help but wonder how employment would look if this were the hiring process. 

Why is the candidate experience so important today?

Top talent has always been hard to attract — but between today’s uncertain economy and tight talent market, now feels even more challenging than ever. In-demand workers with options are discerning, which makes nailing the candidate experience all the more essential. 

The candidate experience serves as a potential hire’s introduction to the company and sets the tone for the employer-employee relationship. A positive experience signals genuine interest, aligns values, and provides the essential information to ensure a good long-term fit. Candidates look for signs the company is organized, communicative, and — importantly — aligns with their personal and professional values.

Our professions are not just a means of earning a living but an integral part of our identities, and candidates evaluate organizations on the job offered, but also their values, culture, opportunities for development, and commitment to employee well-being. Research by Gartner found that 82% of employees say it’s important that organizations view workers as complete individuals, not just workers, but less than half (45%) agree that their company does. 

With a strong candidate experience, talent teams tee-up organizations to attract high-performers now and retain them long-term. 

Common complaints during the candidate experience

The candidate experience is vital, but spend even a quick minute perusing the application’s interview feedback for companies on Glassdoor, you’ll see that few get it right. 

Frequent candidate complaints include lack of communication, unclear job descriptions, and lengthy hiring processes. These issues deter would-be candidates but also tarnish the employer brand, and addressing these issues is essential for improving the candidate experience. 

  • Lack of clarity, communication, expectations: Leaving candidates in the dark as to what’s next or what they can expect from the interview process is a top frustration of candidates. Sharing a quick overview of what to expect, following up with next steps, and sharing feedback are simple ways to communicate effectively. 
  • Lengthy and unnecessary application process: From outreach to offer, the candidate experience can quickly get bogged down with unnecessary steps or requirements. Talent teams should audit their hiring and recruiting processes to keep the candidate experience as streamlined as possible.
  • Slow screening and evaluation: Findem’s 2023 State of Hiring and Recruiting Report found that of the candidates who did not accept an offer, 42% said it was due to “slow screening and evaluation.” Time is valuable and candidates are looking to ensure it’s respected. By building a strong employer brand and cultivating talent pools, companies can reduce screening time. 
  • Feeling like a number, not a person: Treating candidates like one of many is a quick way to turn off top talent. With Findem’s enriched candidate profiles, companies can include unique details sourced from 3D data in their initial outreach to signal authentic interest in an individual.

How can you improve the candidate experience?

Create a strong employer brand

Whether you’ve intentionally crafted an employer brand or not, your company has one and it’s already attracting or deterring candidates. LinkedIn data shows that 75% of job seekers consider an employer’s brand prior to applying for a job. 

A strong employer brand that accurately reflects your company’s values, culture, and mission gives prospective employees an easy way to gauge what working there would be like. Showcase your company's employer brand and culture on your careers page, with content on social media, and by posting on job site boards to help candidates align their career aspirations with your organization.  

Personalize outreach

Top talent knows they’re in demand, and a message that says, “Hi ____! We’re looking for an XYZ and based on your profile, it seems like you’d be a great fit,” won’t help your organization stand out.  

Recruiters will find more success with a compelling, personalized message that conveys an understanding of the prospective candidate’s experience and skills and an interest in their aspirations. 

Different messages resonate with different audiences, so Findem combines AI with 3D data to simplify personalization at scale, allowing recruiters to create highly-personalized candidate experiences. Click on a compelling profile and just ask Findem to summarize the highlights based on your search. Instead of a long list of accomplishments, you learn why this person’s profile matched your search:

Start by writing a great subject line, including the candidate’s name, and include a few details to demonstrate the research you’ve done. Findem uses AI-powered attributes that help recruiters source the best talent for their role, while providing the talent data needed to have more authentic and productive talent conversations.

Nurture candidates to keep them engaged

Regular communication expresses that you’re still interested in the candidate, tells them what to expect next, and provides information that keeps them excited to learn more.

Talent teams can use Findem to engage candidates at scale with nurture campaigns to keep your company top of mind with relevant communication. Even for strong candidates who may have declined an offer or not received one, nurturing these connections contributes to a positive candidate experience and confers benefits, too. By maintaining these relationships, recruiters can continue to build their talent pools and re-connect when the time is right.

Build talent pools and referral networks

Recruiting teams can benefit from talent pools and pipelines by engaging with past applicants, maintaining relationships with high-potential candidates who weren’t selected for a previous role, and encouraging employee referrals. 

Rather than just firing off a thank you email, leverage nurture or drip campaigns to solidify an emotional connection between the candidate and the company. Communication needn’t come exclusively from recruiters — pulling in hiring managers and senior leaders can have an outsized impact on driving talent pool engagement, too. 

With a shared system of ready-later talent, talent and sourcing teams can fortify the connection and relationship until the right role opens, or the candidate becomes ready to make a move, all the while improving the candidate experience, reducing sourcing costs, and helping you hire the best individuals faster. 

Improve the candidate experience at every step with Findem

Use tools like Findem to enhance the candidate experience at every stage, from outreach to offer. Findem combines 3D data with AI, allowing recruiters to personalize at scale for customized outreach. Recruiters can proactively nurture relationships and stay prepared for any hiring need, and in-network hiring makes it easy to engage top talent before they enter the market. With Findem, recruiters can leverage people intelligence to inform their candidate journey, creating a better experience for all.

Explore our Talent CRM product to see why building relationships with talent is so important to the candidate experience.