Dear recruiters,  

Are you looking to attract top talent and stand out from the competition?  🌟

Then it’s time to focus on creating an outstanding candidate experience. When you offer your candidates a positive and memorable experience, you reinforce your reputation as an employer of choice and maximize your chances of recruiting the most qualified talent.   

76% of candidates share their positive experiences with friends and family (and 58% share their negative experiences). It’s worth looking into, isn’t it? 

In this article, I offer you expert advice on how to create an exceptional candidate experience, without having to put in too much effort, if you’re supported by an ATS.

What’s the Candidate Experience?

The candidate experience is everything a candidate goes through when applying for a job with a company. It includes every stage, from the moment they discover the job offer to the employer’s final response.  

Throughout the process, the candidate will go through different emotions. From the very first contact with the company, candidates may be enthusiastic about applying for a new position, uncertain about their chances of being selected, or even anxious about the interview process.   

Putting the candidate experience first means taking into account the candidate’s emotions throughout the recruitment process. The aim is for candidates to leave the process saying: “I really felt considered”, whether the outcome of their application is positive or negative. 

Candidate experience

And it’s not an easy exercise, because there are many potential touchpoints with the candidate. So don’t forget to list them all:

  • Career site 
  • Social media  
  • Job offers 
  • Application form  
  • Screening interview (by phone) 
  • Interview (via Teams or face to face)  
  • Personality test/assessment  
  • Follow-up mails  
  • Feedbacks 
  • Onboarding 
  • … 

13 action levers for a successful candidate experience

#1: Nurture your online presence

As you can see, the majority of touchpoints are online.  

Candidates research the companies that interest them and keep up to date with their news. This is known as inbound recruiting.   

Inbound recruiting is a strategic approach to recruitment that aims to actively attract qualified candidates in a targeted way, by creating a strong employer brand and using digital marketing techniques.  

In inbound recruiting, the company produces and distributes quality content on online platforms, to showcase its corporate culture, values, exciting projects and employee benefits. By using these channels, the company naturally attracts candidates who feel aligned with its vision and work environment.  

The key idea behind inbound recruiting is to position the company as an employer of choice, arousing the interest of potential candidates and encouraging them to apply spontaneously.   

Show candidates that you’re a great place to work!   

In this context, a must for candidates is your career site. This is where they expect to find all the relevant information about your internal organization.   

Above all, you need to be where candidates are: on social networks. You can prioritize certain channels, depending on your target audience (the profiles you’re looking for), but also on your internal resources. If your communications department is small, focus on the most relevant social network. 

#2: Write a powerful job ad

In addition to this permanent presence, it is key to develop specific recruitment campaigns. This begins with the drafting of an attractive job offer and then its dissemination on all Belgian job sites (aka multiposting), such as Stepstone, Indeed, Monster, LinkedIn, … but also on your own career site.   

The job offer stage is crucial. This is when you need to convince the candidate to apply for a specific position. Your Employee Value Proposition is your best weapon. The EVP is the little spark that will make candidates want to apply to you, the little extras that make your company unique as an employer. In fact, it’s all the elements you’ve made visible in your inbound recruiting strategy.   


Many companies develop a strong, powerful brand, with a clear value proposition for their customers and an omnichannel communications strategy. Then we come across a job posting and… it’s a flop!   

The company was described from the outset, but with no indication of future ambitions, a laundry list of tasks, unreasonable expectations in terms of profile… all without selling anything to the candidate.   

And yet, every company has great things to highlight. Start by defining your EVP (we’re here to help!) and translate it into an attractive job offer, with a tone true to your brand. Talk about your culture, your values, the work environment, the afterworks, the atmosphere, and above all the salary. The latter is a real point of differentiation for employers for 2 reasons: (1) you may be offering a higher salary than the competition (2) you show candidates that your salary policy is 100% transparent. 

#3: Communicate in a personalized way

When communicating with your candidates, make sure you are clear, precise and transparent at every stage of the recruitment process.   

Give preference to a personalized approach. For example, you can greet candidates by name, mention the strengths of their application and clearly explain the next steps in the process. Show them that you consider them to be unique and valuable individuals for your company.  

This can seem tedious, especially if you’ve received a lot of applications. Automatic emails can save you precious time. They’re actually an email template, pre-defined according to the stage of the process you’re at, and can still be customized (which we strongly advise you to do).

What’s more, as the emails are automatically proposed to you, you can be sure of getting back to all candidates, including those who unfortunately don’t pass the telephone screening stage. 

#4: Collaborate and centralize information

ATS enables all candidate data and the progress of the recruitment process to be shared within the team. So there’s no need to send CVs or feedback by email, where you forget to copy this or that person.   

Everyone has access to the same data, time is saved and candidates are judged in the same way. 

#5: Tailor the process to the candidate

With an ATS, we can easily consult a candidate’s history with our company and any comments from colleagues. We can then personalize the process and show the candidate that their past is taken into account. 

#6: Simplify the application process

Nothing discourages a candidate more than a long and complex application process. So forget cover letters and all the friction that can make it less likely that a candidate will apply.   

The easier you make it for candidates, the more qualified applications you’ll receive. So, yes, we’d like to find motivated candidates, ready to write a cover letter for our benefit… But let’s be honest. Candidates in place before applying are already hesitant about a possible change, and too much effort may dissuade them from taking the plunge.   

Conversely, if criteria are absolutely necessary, avoid wasting the candidate’s and your time. Set up pre-selection questions (on languages, qualifications, level of experience…) to spare out-of-scope candidates unnecessary disappointment. 

#7: Treat the interview as an exchange (not an interrogation)

The interview is a key stage. It’s the perfect time to communicate the company culture and create a personal connection with the candidate.  

Right from the start of the interview, make sure you create a relaxed, friendly atmosphere. Greet the candidate warmly, offer them a drink if they wish, and put them at ease before starting the discussion.  

candidate experience

Use the interview as an opportunity to talk about the company’s culture and core values. Instead of simply listing points, share real-life stories that illustrate how these values are put into practice on a daily basis within the company. On the other hand, actively encourage the candidate to ask questions about the company, the team, the position or anything else that interests them. This shows that you value their opinion and want to address their concerns. 

#8: Reduce waiting time

Waiting time can be a key factor in the candidate experience. Try to reduce delays between the various stages of the recruitment process. When a candidate applies, be sure to provide them with an estimate of how long it will take to process their application. Regular and transparent communication throughout the process will keep candidates interested and engaged.

#9: Provide constructive feedbacks

After each stage of the recruitment process, take the time to provide detailed feedback to candidates, whether they are selected or not. This constructive feedback allows candidates to learn and grow. Explain clearly the reasons for your decision and give them advice on how to improve their applications in the future. Your attention and investment in candidates’ professional development will leave a positive and lasting impression. 

#10: But also… Ask for candidate feedback

To continually improve your recruitment process, don’t hesitate to ask candidates about their experience. This extends the conversation and puts you on an equal footing: “I’m giving you my feedback, but I want yours too!” 

Set up anonymous questionnaires or follow-up interviews to gather feedback on the strengths and areas for improvement in your recruitment process. 

#11: Make good use of your reporting tools

The advantage of ATSs like Talent finder is that they record all the data relating to your processes: time-to-shortlist, time-to-hire, number of resumes received, sources of resumes received, gender and age of candidates, etc.   

By observing your results, you can also improve the candidate experience. You may find that 80% of your hires are men, or that just 5% are over 50. This can help you identify systemic problems. By taking these observations into account, you can improve your diversity and inclusion initiatives. 

#12: Tap into your pool of candidates

As you can see, ATS enables you to store data on your candidates, and thus build up a talent pool. You can then search this database for candidates who have already expressed an interest in your company. For their part, they can also feel valued for not having been forgotten at the back of an Excel spreadsheet.   

💡 The little extra: job alerts. They keep candidates up to date with all your new jobs. 

#13: And last but not least… Make sure they get a great onboarding! 

Yes, just because a candidate has signed up doesn’t mean the experience is over. Onboarding is the transition from candidate to employee. You need to be well prepared for your arrival to ensure that your integration goes as smoothly as possible. 

A checklist of things to prepare : 

  • Work equipment ready for use (computer, computer access, notebooks, pens, etc.)   
  • A warm welcome: at Talent finder, for example, we’re having breakfast together! 😊   
  • Clarification of the role: go over the content and objectives of the role together, to make sure that everything is clear.   
  • An induction program: include training sessions, presentations on the company and its values, and meetings with the various departments.  
  • Regular feedback 
candidate experience

Don’t underestimate the importance of the candidate experience 

By following these tips for optimizing the candidate experience, you’ll create a positive and memorable impression with candidates, while reinforcing your image as an attractive employer. Providing an exceptional candidate experience is a valuable investment that will result in attracting and retaining top talent. 

#candidate #experience #recruitment #process #application