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7 real-world tactics to improve candidate experience

Tags: Candidate Experience

Candidate expectations change fast, so CX is an ever-evolving practice. A tight race, with plenty of jostling for position. Take your eye off the ball and you could go from frontrunner to bringing up the rear in a blink.

So, we wanted to share some roaring success stories. To show you the real-world tools and tactics that are helping businesses deliver best practice and improve candidate experience today.

Neil Armstrong, Commercial Director at Tribepad and Nile Zahran, IT Retail Product Manager at IPC Europe, responsible for recruitment across Subway® stores in Europe. explored this topic in detail at their talk ‘Building a Great Candidate Experience’ at the In-house Recruitment Candidate Experience Conference.

1 – Convenience is king

No one wants to be reduced to an application on a recruiter’s screen. Treating candidates with respect and integrity demonstrates your commitment to them as individuals — not as numbers.

The foundation to improve candidate experience is respect – and a major component is respecting candidates’ time. That means making your recruitment process easy and fast.

Here’s a good checklist:

  • Offer mobile-apply and social media apply
  • Enable one-click CV import
  • Allow candidates to attach supporting docs
  • Design mobile-first application journeys

Improve candidate experience

Our data shows 77% of job searches happen using mobile. So, you know optimising for mobile users is pretty important.

  • Use recruitment software that’s fully responsive
  • Offer anytime, anywhere video interviewing
  • Communicate via SMS, not just email

We consistently hear that the ability to send SMS is one of our clients’ favourite things about Tribepad. Communicating via one medium only is soooo yesterday.

“We really like the SMS stuff in Tribepad. It’s really handy to be able to text a candidate because people don’t have their laptops with them all the time. Plus it’s more discrete if they’re working right now. And it’s quick, you can text 100 candidates if you want”

Rita Tappia, National Resourcing Manager, Tarmac

  • Allow e-signatures and digital contracts instead of printing faff
  • Allow candidates to book themselves straight into interview slots

Before Tribepad, our admin team would’ve sent an offer letter and contract in a zip file. Candidates would need to print it, scan it, send it back – not a great candidate experience.

Kathryn Pendlebury
Head of Talent Management and Insights, Sodexo

2 – Be transformational – not transactional

The right career opportunity can transform someone’s life completely. But too often, the daily pressure-cooker pushes recruiters into being too transactional.


Chasing after candidates for today’s opportunity without building relationships with the right people for tomorrow. The people who’ll be transformational for your business – and who you’ll be transformational for.

The businesses we’re seeing deliver a consistently excellent candidate experience are those with that longer-term, proactive nurturing approach. An approach focussed as much on giving as getting. To build relationships and bide your time, until a new opportunity is the right choice for everyone.

For example, could you create a useful resource – like a guide, or whitepaper – for your talent pool? Or could you send them a relevant article you read recently and found valuable? Or the odd bulletin about cool things your company’s been involved with, to give them a taste of your culture?

Because building talent pools and nurturing candidates isn’t only invaluable to fill your recruitment pipeline. It’s invaluable from a candidate experience perspective, offering value to candidates beyond when you immediately want something.

Within the first year of using Tribepad we saw a 40% drop in agency costs. We save thousands every month by using CV Search to find candidates in our talent pool, so we don’t have to pay agencies or job boards for many of our roles

Katie Shaw
Resourcing Partner, Sodexo

3 – Make sure you’re equipped for volume hiring

Application volume is increasing in almost every industry – but that’s a challenge as well as an opportunity. The more candidates recruiters screen, the longer the hiring process can take – and maintaining an excellent candidate experience at scale is difficult.

Read more: Using rec-tech to manage soaring application volumes

Using recruitment tech to create efficiencies is critical to helping recruiters amplify their impact and protect and improve candidate experience. Some of the most powerful functionality for volume hiring is AI-powered pre-screening – and AI-powered scoring, ranking, shortlisting, rejecting (and relevant candidate comms) too.

Sofology is a fantastic example. They approached Tribepad with a two-fold problem: they weren’t attracting enough candidates, and with a small team, they struggled to manage even the volume they had.

By building them a new branded, modern, intuitive job search site, we massively increased their application volume (they’re “overjoyed” ). Then they used Tribepad to deliver a robust custom pre-screening process, with automatic scoring and candidate comms letting applicants know fast whether they’re through to the next stage.

Tribepad also allows you to delay rejection emails – a small thing, but there’s nothing more demoralising than getting a rejection email the moment you’ve hit submit. (It all comes back to respect – respecting candidates for putting themselves out there, and treating them with empathy even when they’re unsuitable).

4 – Don’t underestimate look and feel

The functional aspects of the candidate journey – like how candidates upload their CV or book an interview – aren’t the only important elements of CX. A modern, engaging, consistent look and feel matter too.

Tribepad’s look and feel has won us a lot of credit with our users – it’s really modern, catchy, an engaging look and feel platform

Nile Zahran
Retail IT Product Manager, IPC Europe

It’s about the impression candidates have of your business.

If you want to hire quality people, you need to offer a quality experience. If you expect polished, credible, reliable and consistent employees, your process – from careers site to contracts – should be the same.

Since using Tribepad we’ve already seen an increase in the number and the quality of candidates applying for our vacancies. As a result of this there is a less of a need to use job boards.

Restaurant Training Manager KFC

(That’s why it’s important to our clients that Tribepad’s so flexible. The platform can be configured precisely as you want it – even for multiple brands – so candidates (and recruiters and hiring managers) have exactly the experience you’re imagining.)

And talking of careers sites – they’re often candidates’ very first impression. So getting it right matters. Here are six best practice tips.

  • It should be branded consistent with the rest of your website
  • It should be accessible to the highest standards (AAA) as default
  • It should be responsive so candidates can just as easily navigate via mobile
  • It should be intuitive, allowing candidates to easily filter, search and set alerts
  • It should allow candidates to filter, search and set alerts for relevant jobs
  • It should be able to effortlessly handle huge application volume

5 – Carve out time to give feedback

The 2019 Candidate Experience Benchmark Research Report (2020’s is coming soon) finds there’s been a 25% increase in candidate resentment in EMEA since 2016.

Resentment isn’t an inevitable result of rejection. (Good news, when you might be rejecting 90%+ of applicants).

Rather, resentment is intrinsically linked to fairness. That is, we might be gutted if we’re rejected – but ultimately, it’s when we feel we’ve been unfairly treated that we become resentful.

Offering honest, personalised feedback is the easiest way to treat candidates fairly, showing respect for the time they’ve invested. For applicants, an automated courtesy email during pre-screening is best practice. For candidates you’ve interviewed, making time for a quick call – ideally from managers – is your best route.

The same CX report found that just over half of EMEA employers expect their managers to give feedback to internal candidates – but this drops to less than a quarter for external candidates. An immediate improvement area with a proven impact to improve candidate experience.

6 – Ask for feedback

Lots of businesses adapt their recruitment processes to improve candidate experience. Far fewer have tangible evidence that shows whether those changes are working. But without candidate feedback, your efforts are just a stab in the dark.

Plus, asking for feedback shows candidates you care about and respect their opinion. For example, the 2019 CandE Report finds that:

When candidates are asked for feedback on their application journey, organisations see a 67% increase in a great candidate experience.

Embed a simple feedback questionnaire as an automated step – or steps – throughout your recruitment journey. It’s win/win, allowing you both to measure and improve your CX (and catch issues before they spiral).

7 – Give candidates confidence

When you think about CX, you probably focus first on the glamourous stuff – like embedding videos and photos into your process, to show off your culture. And those elements can add the WOW factor to improve candidate experience, for sure.

But guess what’s more important than the WOW factor? Avoiding the ARGH factor.

That is, making sure candidates are confident moving through your process; confident using the tools you’re giving them. Making sure they can access technical support when they need it. Making sure they know exactly what to expect, when.

According to the 2019 CandE Report:

  • Candidates who communicated with a chatbot during application were 144% more likely to increase their relationship with the employer.
  • Candidates who received mobile text notifications during the research process rated their candidate experience 25% higher than those who did not.

It’s no good having an all-the-bells-and-whistles recruitment platform if it’s not instantly usable by everyone (whatever their unique needs). Steep learning curves drive down process completion rates.

Take a leaf out of Aretha’s book…


Treating every person well who expresses an interest in working for [you] is not only the right thing to do but a compelling business necessity

The overarching point to all this is respect. Respect for candidates’ time. Respect for candidates’ commitment. Respect’ for candidates’ courage in putting themselves out there.

Showing respect means treating candidates as individuals.

Recruitment technology has come a long way over the last decade. Now AI and advanced automation empower recruiters to deliver a personalised experience at scale.

Even when handling huge application volumes, today’s winners are building personalised, empathetic journeys candidates enjoy moving through.

Tribepad, the easiest-to-use enterprise recruitment platform, empowers organisations to build powerfully straightforward experiences that continually transform their recruitment. We’re partners for tomorrow, not just today. 

Discover more about Tribepad in this brochure.  

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