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Criteria Corp Blog

The Latest in HR Technology and Pre-Employment Testing

4 Tips for Improving the Candidate Experience

Written by Michelle Silverstein

The hiring process is a two-way street. While candidates have to put their best foot forward to impress potential employers, companies also need to make themselves as appealing as possible to attract the best talent. Most recruiters agree that we’re now in a candidate-driven market, which means that candidates have more power to be choosy.

This places more pressure on employers to improve their “employer brand” – according to a 2016 LinkedIn survey on recruiting trends, 59% of the respondents said they were planning to invest more in their employer brand than in the previous year.

One critical aspect of employer brand is candidate experience. How a candidate is treated through the hiring process can affect the number and quality of candidates you receive in the future. Now, not only can candidates share their experiences with their acquaintances, but they can also post candid reviews about the company on sites such as Glassdoor.

Here are some tips for making sure your candidate experience is the best that it can be:

  1. Communicate clearly. Provide your candidates with all the information they need to understand your company and the role. This starts with a clear and detailed job description that signals not only what the position entails but also what sort of company culture you have. Communication is also invaluable during the process itself. Respect the time and effort that candidates put into the application process by promptly communicating where they are in the process or what is expected of them.


    Transparent communication is shockingly rare: a 2015 CareerBuilder survey found that 58% of employers don’t let candidates know how long the application or interview process will take. This lack of communication isn’t going unnoticed by candidates. Candidates in that same survey said that they received a response to their applications only 40% of the time, and only 14% of candidates felt that companies were responsive to them.

  2. Don’t make them jump through hoops. Your goal is to get enough information to make an informed hiring decision without making the process burdensome to the candidate. Endless interviews or extra requests for time-consuming work samples may deter some candidates from applying. However, the amount of time and effort put into hiring will vary based on the level of the position. The hiring process for an entry-level position is generally much less intensive than the process for hiring a manager or VP.

  3. Keep the process brief and efficient. One way to snag the top talent is by keeping the entire length of the process as brief as possible. Candidates who are actively looking for a job are probably applying and interviewing with other companies, and they may be swayed to pick an earlier offer. Dragging out the hiring process could cause you to lose your top candidates to the competition.

  4. Be flexible. A lot of people applying to jobs are already employed full-time. When scheduling interviews, try to be flexible with scheduling. If you need to request additional information or work samples, give them ample time to provide it. And of course, be clear and transparent about the entire process.

As a pre-employment testing company, we advise employers to also incorporate all of these strategies into their testing process. When you administer tests, it’s important to communicate to candidates why they are being asked to take a test and what the next step in the process will be. To keep the process burden-free for candidates, we recommend administering no more than 40-45 minutes of tests so that candidates don’t get burnt out or discouraged. And it’s also ideal to allow candidates to complete the assessments at a time and place that is most convenient for them, ideally by administering tests online.

All of these strategies make the hiring process a little less stressful for candidates and bolster your employer brand.

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