Providing a positive candidate experience doesn’t mean sending applicants a fancy gift basket or offering generous sign-on bonuses. Candidate experience centers around communication. At the very least, that involves informing applicants when they are no longer in the running for the position, keeping them out of the resume black hole. 

As you communicate with candidates, consider these three simple ways to ensure a positive experience throughout the recruiting process. 

Be honest.

As mentioned, it’s vital to inform your candidates if they are no longer in the running for a position – even you do so in an automated email sent through your ATS. But be transparent with your candidates.

For example, don’t promise that you’ll keep their resume on file (pipeline them) unless you truly mean it. Similarly, if you’re advertising for a role with the intent to pipeline talent rather than hire right away, tell applicants that, too. Let them know your short- and long-term hiring plans for that position. 

It’s also a good idea to provide applicants with insights into the next steps in the hiring process, especially toward the top of the funnel. Tell them when they should expect to hear back from you to schedule an interview. Share your hiring timeline and stick to it. Don’t leave them guessing or waiting by the phone for your call.  

Be helpful.

For candidates further in your funnel, (such as those you invite to an interview), augment their experience with your employer brand by being helpful. For instance, don’t just send them a calendar invite for their interview – give them details.

With whom will they be meeting? If it’s an in-person interview, where should they park? What should they bring? You may also provide additional information about your company and what it’s like to work there. Remember, job seekers are interviewing you, too, so ensure they have enough information to decide whether or not they will be a good fit with your organization. 

You can also provide some words of encouragement to those you disqualify for the role. Let the candidate know that they impressed you with their interviewing skills or with their work experience. Leave them with the assurance that the right job is out there for them (because it is).  

Be human.

Lastly, be human in your interactions with candidates. It’s been a trying and uncertain year, and everyone is experiencing their own set of challenges. Behind every job application is a real person.

Be kind and courteous in your communication, and don’t be afraid to cut them some slack. The candidate’s internet goes out during a video interview? Reschedule it. They don’t have the exact educational background, but possess real-world work experience in their field? Relax your requirements a bit.

They miss your phone call to help their children with their virtual schooling? Don’t immediately disqualify them from the race. 

It’s easy to forget about the candidate experience right now, but it’s also a time for brands to shine.

Treating your applicants well, communicating with them throughout the hiring process, and putting a little more “human” into your human resources, will go a long way in establishing your organization as an employer of choice.

With a new year ahead of us, commit to honest, helpful, and human communication, and the candidate experience will follow.