How to Improve the Candidate Experience

Author Rob Sicat Date May 25 2019

Ways to improve  the Candidate Experience

What is candidate management?

Job candidate management is how a business administers, builds and maintains their relationship with candidates. It is the candidate experience.

This is an important part of every recruiter’s role and is applicable for both active and passive job applicants. Nurturing a candidate’s relationship helps hiring managers to get to know applicants better. This helps to make more informed choices when putting candidates forward for specific roles.

In essence, the candidate experience and candidate management allows recruiters to match candidates to jobs more effectively.

Why should your business care about improving the  candidate experience?

With the growth of technology, good and bad news travels much faster. Previously, a bad candidate experience would simply only travel to the candidate’s inner circle of close friends and family. With social media and review sites like, Glassdoor, a poor candidate experience can have a much farther reach. 

According to research, those who have had a poor candidate experience are more likely to warn others not to make an application to a company and they may even write a negative review. On the other hand, a good candidate experience can result in better quality of candidates and a reduction in the time and cost to hire. Providing the best and improving your candidate experience is very beneficial to your company.

Here are some tips for successful job candidate management for your business:

1. Improve your candidate experience by keeping it simple

The acronym KISS or Keep It Simple, Stupid can be applied to job candidate management. Getting rid of unnecessary barriers to completing job applications will help you to retain the best candidates.

Research has shown that 60% of job seekers will dump an application if they believe it’s too complicated or too long. From writing your job descriptions to communicating with your candidates, the focus should be on simplicity and convenience through the candidate experience. These factors are what both consumers and people applying for jobs are generally after, based on an Amazon Prime-type of mindset.

Find out whether your application form is keeping candidates away. Read this post about why issues with different parts of your recruitment process could be causing candidates to abandon their application and what you can do about it.

Also, download our Five Ways to Improve Your Application Performance for easy and practical tips to make your application process better and more efficient.

2. Provide feedback to improve the candidate experience

A survey found that 77% of respondents said that they did not hear from a company after they applied for a job. This resulted in a poor applicant experience and highlighted the company’s less-than-favorable candidate management. Additionally, 90% of respondents said that getting any type of feedback after making an application would make them feel more positive and improve the candidate experience.

Most worryingly, 72% of those who responded to this survey said that they are less likely to tell others about the company, products or services where a company does not have adequate communication with their candidates and a better candidate experience. This is shown by a Virgin Media case study. Virgin Media conducted research in 2015 and found that they had received about 150,000 job applications, resulting in 3,500 new hires. Around 27,000 or 18% of candidates were also Virgin customers and because they had a poor experience, 7,416 of those candidates left Virgin.

This shows that businesses of any size are susceptible to losing customers if they fail to implement a better candidate experience process. With the growing amount of ways to communicate these days, there’s no excuse for not following up or keeping your applicants in the loop. It’s an easy way to improve the candidate experience.

Acknowledging someone’s application shows that your company will treat potential hires with respect and is a simple way to improve the candidate experience.You can think outside the box when communicating with job candidates. It’s not necessary to use emails. You can start using SMS messages to communicate with your candidates, as most people now have a mobile phone and SMS messaging has the convenience of being delivered whether the candidate has internet access or not.

With Fountain, we provide the functionality for using SMS because it’s been shown that SMS has eight times the response rates of email and will provide a better candidate experience.

Candidate experience best practices for using SMS:

  • Remember to use personalization. Job applicants may apply for many jobs over a given period, so be sure to personalize your SMS messages to show who has sent the message.
  • Keep it brief. Your SMS messages should be under 160 characters. Any longer and candidates may choose to ignore your message.
  • Ask for a response. Keep this request simple to ensure that you grab attention.

3. Use automation for a better candidate experience

If you have jobs that are in high demand, you may receive hundreds of applications, which could put a strain on your recruitment team if they have to respond to every applicant manually.

Traditionally, hiring managers would have to use Excel spreadsheets to review applicants, decide what stage they’re at and then send an email. This is no longer the case when using Fountain’s modern hiring software and this can improve the candidate experience.

For example, the Turas Group reduced their time to hire from two weeks to three days by using Fountain’s automated feature that enabled each recruiter to manage nearly 2,000 candidates.

Read the full case study here and see how, despite the fear that automation may replace recruiters, using Fountain helped the Turas Group to boost efficiency and their candidates’ experience.

Want more proof that automation is the way forward? Read our post about how AI and automation are reinventing HR to see how you can take advantage of these new technological developments.

4. Include social media as a way to improve your candidate experience

Social media should be included in your job candidate management strategy, especially to ensure a positive employer brand presence. You can use social media in different ways, such as, sending out a Tweet to thank candidates for making the application or linking to a blog post to see what stage their recruitment process is at. This can do wonders to create a better candidate experience and employer brand.

Social media is a useful tool to improve the candidate experience as it can help to provide a better brand image. This means that your employer brand will have positive associations in people’s minds before they even apply. Share content that shows your workplace culture and why it will be a great place to work. Employee stories are an organic and easy way to use social media to boost your company’s brand and create a better candidate experience.

When using social media to improve the candidate experience, you should include niche forums and networks that cater to specific types of professions. For example, if you’re looking for a developer, GitHub would be a great place to build a presence. Think outside of the usual Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter box when using social media to source the best candidates and build a better candidate experience. This is especially important when sourcing for hard to fill roles that require a high level of expertise.

5. Improve your candidate experience with better phone interviews 

Phone interviews are a useful way of screening applicants before booking a face-to-face interview. However, you can introduce an easy and seamless step between a phone and a face-to-face interview as a way to improve the candidate experience.

One way video interviews are a simple and time-saving way to allow candidates to record interviews so that you can choose the right person to progress to the phone interviews. With Fountain, our video interviewing feature allows candidates to record a video where they address a question that you have posed. For example, what encouraged them to apply for the job?

Using video interviews allows you to assess different types of communication skills, for example, eye contact and courteous speech. After you have whittled down your list of applicants, you can then invite them for a phone interview.

Use your phone interview to find out more about the applicant’s’ knowledge, experience and skills. A phone interview is useful because it will show you whether talking to the applicant matches up with what has been written down on their resume, cover letter or application form, and it helps ensure they match your company culture.

Use your application tracking system (ATS), to manage candidates who have gone through the video interview process and phone interview process to decide whether they will progress further.

6. Simplify scheduling to create a better candidate experience

Scheduling interviews is normally a hassle for recruitment managers and it can wreck the candidate experience. The process is usually accompanied by asking the interview panel about their availability, then going back to the candidate with a suggested date.

If the candidate can’t make the date, then a back-and-forth ensues, which wastes effort and time.Trying to organize different people to meet in one place at one time can cause confusion, and this is an easy way to improve the candidate experience. Candidates need to be clear about where they need to be and when,especially if they are juggling different responses from applications they have made.

Research by Glassdoor has found that the interview process is getting more drawn out and has increased drastically over the past few years. For example:

  • The typical job interview process takes 22.9 days in the U.S.
  • The job interview process in the U.S has steadily been getting longer.
  • One main cause of a lengthy interview process is a company’s hiring policies.
  • Other contributing factors to a longer interview process include more screening methods, like background checks.

Fountain has a scheduling toolkit that removes the unnecessary tasks and wasted time associated with arranging interviews, improving the candidate experience. With our scheduling toolkit, your candidate gets an SMS and/or email with links to scheduled interviews. Allocated time slots are automatically updated in relation to your calendar. When your candidate chooses a time, they get an SMS to confirm their interview. This significantly cuts down on wasted time in arranging face-to-face interviews, and improves the candidates experience.

7. Use the best recruitment tools to improve the candidate experience

The most modern hiring software and accompanying tools form the foundation of a successful job candidate experience strategy. The candidate management tools you use must be capable of integrating with each other to provide a seamless and smooth experience.

Your ATS must be capable of tracking applicants through the different stages of the hiring process and building a valuable and useful recruitment pipeline. Modern and smart hiring technology like, Fountain has all the features you need that will provide the best candidate experience, for example:

  • It’s mobile-first. This means that candidates will enjoy the best browsing experience no matter which device they are using.
  • One-click scheduling for interviews. candidates don’t need to sign in to schedule their interview. Instead they can do this with one click, depending on the hiring manager’s availability.
  • File uploads. The hiring process can move along quicker as candidates can upload electronic documents.
  • Integration. For an end-to-end complete hiring process, Fountain integrates with crucial services for recruiting, for example, electronic document signing like HelloSign and background checking services like Checkr.

With so much at stake in relation to the candidate experience, companies need to use the best candidate management tools at their disposal to give a good impression of their business. This not only ensures that you hire the most qualified candidate, but it also safeguards your company’s brand and reputation. 

Different types of companies in various sectors, including retail, hospitality and manufacturing already trust Fountain to streamline their hiring process steps.

For example, Deliveroo and PICKUP have benefited from using Fountain to hire quality candidates at scale, without compromising on quality.


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About the Author

Director, Product, Wave

Rob Sicat

Rob is an experienced product and design leader and currently the head of a Fountain team that is building hiring tools for the future. He has spent the last decade working with startups of all sizes across product management and design.