The first view a candidate will have into your business will be the interview process. This is why it’s so important to make sure that you have an interview process that works for both the business and the candidate. 

A lot of businesses design their interview processes around what works for them but as the labour market tightens and the value of culture for employees increases, it’s important that businesses also design an interview process that is going to work for candidates. Candidates who have a good experience are 80% more likely to apply for a position again or 53% more likely to purchase a product from your company.

The great news is that in planning to make the candidate’s experience better, you’ll also be making your own experience better too. 

How to enhance the candidate experience

The first step in getting your process right is to work with your hiring manager to understand what it is they’re looking for. Make sure they’re really clear on the role they’re hiring for, where this role fits into their team, what soft skills are they looking for and where this role might grow to in the future. 

Talk about what are the deal-breakers (the candidate absolutely must have this experience) and what they’re prepared to compromise on (it would be great if we found a candidate who had this experience but not essential). 

While working with the hiring manager on the job description, it is also a great time to lock down the interview process. Decide who else is going to interview the candidate and whether or not they’ll be asked to do a task as part of the process. This is also a good time to talk through time frame expectations and, especially if they’re a busy manager, try to lock in some perspective interview times already. The more you can lockdown at this stage, the better. 

This has value in getting you both on the same page but this will also be valuable information for when you’re communicating with candidates. According to recruitment firm, Robert Walters, 99% of candidates prepare for job interviews, so the more information that you can give them about who they’re meeting and what to expect from each interview, the more likely they are to have a good experience with you.

 31% of candidates never received any information on how to prepare for the interview and this results in a 20% increase in candidate drop out rate. Therefore, being able to communicate timings is also important as you’ll avoid them dropping out of the process or losing them to other companies because you couldn’t move fast enough. 

Debrief your interview panelists

Once you’ve locked down your interview panel, speak to each of your panelists to work with them on their interview styles. Make sure each of your panelists understands why they’re interviewing the candidate and what exactly they’re looking for. In the same Robert Walter’s report, 32% of candidates said they’d been asked questions that weren’t related to them or to the role they were applying for. This isn’t a great experience for a candidate who has prepared for the interview. 

While you’re working with each of the interviewers, make sure you agree with what feedback they need to record and by when. The worst experience for a candidate is preparing, coming on-site and then never hearing anything back. It’s also not great for you to have to keep chasing an interviewer to find out what they thought. If you can match expectations from the start, you’ll have a much smoother process.  

You should also encourage interviewers not to talk to each other about a candidate until they’ve entered their feedback into your applicant tracking system (ATS) or wherever you’re keeping feedback. This ensures that you don’t have any conformity bias, which affects 75% of people according to LinkedIn. 

While this all sounds like it’s benefiting the company, don’t be fooled. This is going to set you in the best position to be able to serve your candidates and deliver them the best experience possible.