Skip to Main Content

Candidate Experience Insights and Advice for Talent Teams


The candidate experience plays a critical role in the success of your small business talent team’s recruitment processes. In short, it’s the sum of everything a job seeker encounters while engaging with your organization during their job search. From browsing your career site, to taking part in the interview process, to receiving a job offer (or becoming a rejected candidate).

  • A truly poor candidate experience can be damaging to your employer brand in the long term.
  • A bad candidate experience can simply be a turnoff for prospective hires you engage for roles.
  • A good candidate experience can greatly influence an individual’s decision to accept an offer.
  • A great candidate experience can help you hire more qualified candidates and also turn those folks into brand evangelists who want to stay at your company and help it grow for years.

“Okay. So, what can my SMB talent org do to continually provide a premier candidate experience?”

The short answer? Adhere to the below best practices — ones we’ve seen countless JazzHR customers (read: modest-sized TA teams like yours) abide by to enhance their employer brand, onboard top talent, and make every job seeker feel heard and welcomed during your hiring cycle.

candidate experience

Elements of a great candidate experience

“Understanding [today’s] job-seeking personas and their associated triggers helps recruiters provide high-quality candidate experiences and fill skill gaps more quickly and successfully,” Employ SVP People & Talent Corey Berkey recently wrote for Undercover Recruiter.

That being said, regardless of which kind of personas end up applying (or being proactively sourced) for your open roles, the way you should interact with them and keep them informed every step of their recruitment journey should be the same. By doing so, you provide an enjoyable experience for prospects — one they’ll look back on fondly, whether they’re offered the job or not.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the components that contribute to a positive candidate experience and how your SMB talent team can work alongside hiring managers to improve the CX over time.

Transparent and comprehensive job descriptions

The job application process begins with reading job description. This crucial document should accurately describe the responsibilities and requirements of a given role while also highlighting the unique aspects of your organization’s culture and values and expressing the desired impact the eventual hire should have in the position and on the team and business at large.

A transparent and comprehensive job description helps set expectations upfront and allows job seekers to evaluate whether they’re a good fit for the position for which they’ve applied.

A career site that entices top talent to apply

Your career site is often the first stop for potential candidates. Making it visually appealing, user-friendly, and mobile-optimized should be your first, second, and third priority.

Once you’ve designed a white-label, aesthetically pleasing, easy-to-navigate careers page, you can focus on your messaging. Feature comprehensive info about your org, your company values and mission, employee testimonials, and even success stories of members of your workforce.

Also, showcase your employer brand and encourage candidates to learn more about your company. (You can even provide links to your social media accounts to allow on-the-fence, would-be applicants to learn more about your SMB before they decide to submit their resume and cover letter.)

JazzHR Career Page Customization

A streamlined and simplified application process

Simplifying the job application process is essential for reducing the drop-off rate of potential candidates. Lengthy, repetitive, or unclear application forms can lead to frustration and abandonment. That makes streamlining this process critical for your conversion rates.

  • Think of it this way. Would you be willing to spend more than 10 minutes (or even 5, to be honest) looking over a job posting and filling out the application for said role? Odds are slim.

In fact, ask most job seekers today, and they’ll tell you they’ll abandon an application process a mere minute in, if they can sense there are barriers to applying (e.g., being forced to create an applicant account).

With a leading small business-centric applicant tracking system (ATS), though, you don’t have to worry about having candidates spend several minutes completing applications. Consider JazzHR. Our job posting pages enable quick and easy submissions for potential hires.

That means more high-quality candidates being added to our customers’ respective talent pools (and a diminished need to have to proactively source passive prospects all the time).

Effective and ongoing candidate communication

One of the primary complaints from job seekers is a need for more communication during the hiring process. Keep candidates informed about their progress in a timely manner, even if it’s just to let them know they’re still being considered.

It’s simple, really. Personalized, empathetic communication can foster a strong connection with prospective candidates and demonstrate that your org values their time and effort.

This communication isn’t solely for the actual recruiting process. It also extends to the post-hiring portion of your talent acquisition cycle.

Send candidate experience surveys to leads you spoke with (those hired, those passed on, and those who “exited” your process on their own). Doing so allows you to garner beneficial feedback about your recruitment approach — insight you can use to both enhance various components of your TA efforts (e.g., nurture messaging, interview stages) and provide a better CX to each candidate.

JazzHR Webinar Candidate Experience Starts with Communication

An inclusive and respectful interview process

Candidates should feel welcome and respected during the interview stage. Fostering an inclusive environment where each person you engage can comfortably express themselves is essential for a positive experience with your recruiting staff (and, for final-choice candidates, getting them to accept offers).

In addition, interviewers should be well-prepared and knowledgeable about each candidate’s background and the specific role they’re applying for. This will help you gain the most valuable insights during the interview while showcasing your org as a desirable employer to them.

And when it comes to gender and gender identity, it’s critical to use the correct pronouns for each candidate. It’s a matter of respect to ask for and acknowledge an individual’s preferred pronouns.

Timely feedback and updates regarding offers

Finally, providing prompt feedback after the interview and extending job offers in a timely manner can further enhance the candidate experience. If they are not selected for the role, constructive feedback can help job seekers understand the decision and continue their search for future opportunities.

Leaving prospects in the dark for too long regarding the decision-making going on behind the scenes with hiring managers and interview panelists can lead to a high candidate drop-off rate.

Conversely, constantly providing mini “briefings,” of sorts, to engaged talent to keep them apprised of where your hiring team stands with its recruiting efforts, they’ll feel more appreciative of you. (And want to stay in said recruiting process to see if they’ll advance and eventually receive an offer.)

A simple email or text message to prospective hires once every couple of days during your hiring process. That’s all it takes to take a little bit of stress out of the nerve-wracking experience of looking for work and making sure they understand you still have interest in them for a given role.

Discover how JazzHR’s powerful applicant tracking system for small businesses like yours can help you enhance your candidate experience efforts. Book a demo with our team of experts today.

jazzhr recruitment software ats demo