Key Steps to Delivering a Stellar Candidate Experience Every Time

We’ve all experienced some of the ways the internet has dramatically changed how we work—distributed teams can now communicate virtually, employees can work from anywhere, and everyone can now waste several hours of their day scrolling through social media. But one of the biggest work related changes brought about by the internet is the way we now share and gather information about company culture and employee experience.

A recent New Yorker article, “Improving Workplace Culture, One Review at a Time” covered the brief history of company review site Glassdoor and discussed how its emergence has changed the employment landscape.

In the past, if a job seeker wanted to get the inside scoop on working for a company, they used to have to tap their network until they found someone who worked there. Now they simply pull out their laptop or smartphone. The New Yorker article quotes Beth Steinberg, Chief People Officer at Zenefits, saying, “It’s pretty rare that a job candidate doesn’t look at Glassdoor before they come in. Often, they bring it up in the interview. They’ll say, ‘I read this on Glassdoor. How do you respond?”


Why Candidate Experience Matters

Why should companies care about candidate experience? It’s become increasingly common for people to change jobs—last year 71% of US workers were thinking about changing jobs or actively looking for a new job. And it’s never been easier for candidates to share and collect feedback about companies. Let’s not forget that the experience a candidate has when they interview at company is powerful: 87% of candidates said a positive experience could change their minds about a company they doubted, while 83% said a negative experience could change their minds about a company they liked.

As an employer, you know that Glassdoor reviews will be a major contributing factor to candidates’ impressions of your company. So how can you measure and improve the candidate experience you offer? We offer a few suggestions below.


Collect Feedback from Candidates

If you want to know what candidates are saying about you, the first step is to be present and active on the platform. Candidates may already be leaving reviews, but you can also encourage them to share their thoughts.

There are a few simple ways to do this, such as including a brief note in recruiters’ email signatures along with a link to your company’s Glassdoor page. Recruiters or coordinators who manage onsite interviews can make a habit of mentioning this in person. This can be as simple as saying, “We’re always trying to improve our candidate experience, so we’d be grateful if took a moment to share your thoughts on Glassdoor.”

Of course, asking for feedback is just the first part. You’ll also want to create a system for collecting the feedback you receive. Some companies opt to monitor Glassdoor on a regular basis but only respond to reviews occasionally while others make a point of responding to every review they receive. Depending on your company size and the number of candidates who are interviewing every week, you can decide on an approach and cadence that works best for you.

It can be tempting to be influenced by negative reviews (in general we’re more likely to remember negative experiences and can recall them in greater detail than positive ones), but try to identify trends that emerge over several reviews rather than focusing on one single bad review. That said, if you notice any major red flags, be sure you have a way to escalate these issues right away.

Launch a Candidate Survey

If you’d like to create a process that’s a little more formal, you can launch a candidate survey to collect standardized feedback about the employee experience.

Some Applicant Tracking Systems have a feature that allows you to automatically send surveys once candidates reach a certain stage, like the onsite interview. This can greatly simplify things, but even if you don’t currently have that capability, you can easily create a survey with Google forms or SurveyMonkey. It doesn’t have to be too sophisticated—just sure to set up the survey so candidates can submit their feedback anonymously.

One simple approach to surveying candidates is to ask them, on a scale of 1 to 10, how likely they are to recommend your company to a friend or coworker. The number you end up with, your Net Promoter Score (NPS), will give you an overall sense of what your candidate experience is like.

And if you have any questions about particular aspects of your candidate experience, like the application process, interactions with recruiters, or the onsite interview, you can ask those in your survey, too.

Look for Ways to Improve Your Candidate Experience

If you’re serious about improving your candidate experience, take time to map out what happens at each stage of the application and interview process across different departments in your company. Are there any inefficiencies or inconsistencies? Try to streamline the steps so that all candidates have more or less the same experience.

If you have candidates come in for a long onsite interview, you could schedule some breaks or downtime into the agenda so they have time to use the restroom or eat a quick snack. Speaking of food, consider the length of your interview and whether it makes sense to feed candidates. If that’s the case, you can take them out for a meal, let them grab lunch in your kitchen, or provide them with a few things to munch on in the interview room.

Finally, you may want to look for ways to make sure that your referred candidates get a little extra TLC. Some companies, like Stripe, assign an executive sponsor to referred candidates to make sure they get extra attention throughout the entire application process. But you can start with something smaller, like asking the person who made the referral to greet the candidate when they arrive or having the referrer take the candidate out for coffee or lunch.

How have you gone about ensuring your organization delivers a stellar candidate experience every time? Hit us up in the comments!

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