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11 Ways for SMBs to Create a Great Candidate Experience


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What is one simple step an SMB should take to ensure a great candidate experience for all applicants?

To help SMBs create a great candidate experience for all applicants, we asked experienced hiring managers and people leaders this question for their best ideas. From gathering feedback with candidate experience surveys to using an easy-to-follow online application process, there are several ideas that SMBs may implement to ensure a great experience for all candidates going through the job application process.

11 Steps for SMBs To Create a Great Candidate Experience

Here are 11 ways for SMBs to create a great candidate experience:

  • Gather Feedback With Candidate Experience Surveys
  • Provide Interview Overview Beforehand
  • Train Your Hiring Managers and Interviewers
  • Tell Candidates You Recognize Their Value
  • Be Open and Transparent With Candidates
  • Adhere to Interview Schedules
  • Go Through the Application Process Yourself
  • Be Transparent About Job Requirements and Demands
  • Create Your Job Postings on Effective Platforms
  • Maintain Brand Consistency Across the Recruitment Process
  • Use an Easy-to-Follow Online Application Process

Gather Feedback With Candidate Experience Surveys

Ask for candidate feedback via a candidate experience survey to showcase your company’s dedication to employee input. Asking for feedback creates space for companies to make mistakes, improve hiring processes, and leave candidates feeling valued for their perspective on your business operations. Ultimately, this data goes back into your company mainly to improve what isn’t working as well as it should. Different businesses do different things with that data, but even the gesture alone is meaningful to most candidates on the other side of the hiring process wanting feedback from employers rejecting their applications.

In conclusion, it doesn’t hurt your company to ask for feedback, and it shows applicants you value their input. Be intentional with how you use the data you collect, and you’ll shape your business to surpass employee expectations.

Zach Goldstein, Public Rec

Provide Interview Overview Beforehand

All candidates should know the interview process summary in advance. Send emails about the discussion format, but do not include the actual questions to observe fairness. This approach allows the applicants to prepare better and answer challenging inquiries more confidently.

Providing an overview of the interview beforehand gives a smoother and more seamless interaction between the candidates and the HR officers. It also prevents workflow redundancy by directly communicating with everyone through one email or text blast. This is more efficient than explaining the process individually to the candidates on the actual interview day.

Allan Stolc,

Train Your Hiring Managers and Interviewers

Your hiring team plays a significant role in the candidate experience, yet they often receive little to no training on how to properly interview candidates. As a result, many job seekers have had terrible experiences with interviews — being asked irrelevant questions, being grilled for hours on end, or even being treated rudely. To avoid this, make sure your hiring managers and interviewers are properly trained. Teach them how to ask relevant questions that will help assess a candidate’s fit for the job. Show them how to listen carefully and take notes during an interview. And most importantly, emphasize the importance of treating candidates with respect throughout the process.

Danielle Bedford, Coople

Tell Candidates You Recognize Their Value

An SMB can ensure a good candidate experience for all applicants by pointing out to each candidate that they recognize their skills and talents. It may be that you have several excellent candidates to choose from and that should be pointed out as well. However, the recognition of unique skills and talents of the candidate will help them leave knowing they gave the best interview and positioned themselves in the best way. They will also leave knowing that it isn’t personal if the company hires someone else. It’s just a matter of hiring the right person with the skills they are looking for at that time.

Tanya Klien, Anta Plumbing

Be Open and Transparent With Candidates

To achieve a better candidate experience, follow up with all applicants, including those not accepted for the position. Don’t keep them waiting in vain. Inform them that the company will not move forward with their application as soon as the decision comes in. Candidates appreciate an honest rejection letter rather than not receiving anything at all. Sometimes, these individuals will ask you to elaborate on which areas they need to improve for better chances of getting hired. Be available to share valuable insights so they can move forward.

Chris Lewandowski, Princess Dental Staffing

Adhere to Interview Schedules

Conducting interviews based on the agreed schedule guarantees a great candidate experience. As much as you value your time, job applicants also have other important things to do aside from attending the interview. Do not delay or cancel it unless the situation really calls for rescheduling.

Remember, a lack of adherence can be a sign of disrespect, giving a negative image to your business. Being the employer does not give you the right to be late on the day of the interview. Moreover, letting the candidates wait for an hour or two is a reflection of your company culture. This means you don’t care about your employees by simply not valuing their time.

Adam Garcia, The Stock Dork

Go Through the Application Process Yourself

Going through the application process yourself can give you new insight into your company’s hiring policies. It can reveal issues that candidates encounter when applying to your business, allowing you to make the necessary changes. For example, requiring candidates to complete a long and overly detailed information sheet as the first step of the application process can lead to a terrible experience, especially if it takes place before the applicant gets a chance to speak to anyone about the role.

By keeping an eye out for these types of negative situations, you can eliminate problems in your hiring process that might be putting off qualified candidates — leading to a better experience for all.

Milo Cruz, Freelance Writing Jobs

Be Transparent About Job Requirements and Demands

One simple step an SMB should take to ensure a great candidate experience for all applications is making sure you are being transparent about what the job is. Make sure that your descriptions are clear, and that you’re not making any assumptions about what applicants already know.

Strive to ensure that the description exhaustively covers the scope of the job so that applicants know exactly what would be expected of them if/when hired. Covering the job scope exhaustively also lets the candidates determine for themselves if they would be a good fit for the job advertised.

Michael Green, Quick Cash Homebuyers

Create Your Job Postings on Effective Platforms

Small businesses often have limited resources and time to devote to their recruitment process. However, it’s important to ensure that all candidates have a great experience when applying for a job, whether they’re ultimately hired or not. Here is one simple step you can take to improve the candidate experience for all applications without breaking the bank — create a job posting on effective platforms

A job posting on a career page is a good first step for SMBs, but applicants will also be more likely to get job updates on their email or as a notification. They also find it when they look for jobs on their preferred social media platforms. The vast majority of candidates will search for jobs on LinkedIn and Indeed. If you can create a positive experience for candidates from start to finish, they’re more likely to recommend your company to others, which can help with recruiting efforts in the future.

Adina David, Paperjobz

Maintain Brand Consistency Across the Recruitment Process

One simple step that a small-to medium-sized business should take to ensure a great candidate experience for all applications is to make sure they’re building their brand and maintaining it through every aspect of their recruitment process. This means that they should be thinking about the look and feel of their website, social media, and other places that candidates may interact with their company. As well as ensuring that all of these things are consistent with each other, they should also be consistent with the values and mission of the business.

Anup Kayastha, HeightComparison

Use an Easy-to-Follow Online Application Process

One simple step an SMB should take to ensure a great candidate experience for all applications is to make sure that they have a clear and easy-to-follow online application process. This means having an application form that is easy to find on the website as well as an easy-to-understand job description that gives candidates an idea of what they can expect from the role. It’s also important to be mindful of how you communicate with candidates throughout the hiring process. If you don’t touch base with the most qualified candidates often enough during the recruitment process, they might lose interest in your job, and end up being recruited elsewhere.

Debee Gold, Gold Counseling & Wellness


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