candidate experience

Improving the candidate experience: What your recruitment agency can do

Sarah Linney
15 Jul
Reading time: 7 minutes
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A bad candidate experience can limit your pool of quality candidates. When matching candidates to employers, you want to aim for the best. We’re going to walk you through the immediate ways you can take action and improve the candidate experience at every level of the hiring process. 

Streamlining the hiring process

As a recruitment agency, you want to develop a good reputation for matching the best candidates to the right employers. To do that, there are things you need to ask potential employers for. Here’s what you need to remember: 

  • Detailed and clear instructions 
  • Hire to fill a need
  • Define the desired skill set
  • Communication is crucial
  • Be accessible
  • Angle for encouraging over intimidating 
  • Be attentive
  • Be honest about your timeline
  • Notify contenders when a job has been filled
  • Support your hire 

Detailed and clear instructions 

An unclear application process is the number one cause for a bad candidate experience, according to a survey from Software Advice. Let potential employers know that they need to have an easy and streamlined application process. 

If there’s going to be a multi-step process, that should be stated upfront. Anything candidates need to have ready, like references or portfolios, should also be noted. 

Making it easy to apply sends a good message to candidates and reflects well on the company. 

Hire to fill a need

Before you start recruiting, you should ask employers to perform their due diligence and identify the roles that need filling. 

Ask: Where in your company are you hurting? What skills are lacking amongst current employees or teams?  

If they haven’t done so, suggest performing a skills gap analysis to find out exactly what’s lacking.

Nothing is more frustrating to candidates than going through an interview process and then being told the role has changed or they no longer need it anymore. 

Ensure you maintain a strong and engaged candidate pool by only suggesting candidates for roles that meet a clear need.  

Define the desired skill set

Once needs have been figured out, you should clearly state them. Some employers like to list everything they would prefer a candidate has without being concise on what candidates need to have.

If they’ve already taken the time to examine weak spots in the business, then you should make sure they will be covered by the new hire. You don’t want to waste the time of a candidate who could be applying to a job they’re more suited to. 

Communication is crucial

This statement is true for many parts of the hiring and post-hiring process. When it comes to improving the candidate experience, communication is crucial. 

Employers should be clear about what they’re looking for, but also how the hiring process is expected to go. 

Writing back to people you’re interested in is obvious. Let the candidate know when to expect a follow-up email or call. 

At the very least, an employer should have an automated email set up to let people know their application has been received. Don’t leave people wondering.

Be accessible

As a recruitment agency, it’s your job to provide a people-first service. You should be accessible to any candidates going through the hiring process with an employer. 

As mentioned, the employer should strive to be clear with what they want and when it’s wanted. They should be accessible to candidates and provide contact details for the person in charge of new hires or HR. 

Furthermore, recruitment agencies and HR teams should always ask if there are any reasonable accommodations or accessibility requests from candidates. By asking this and providing the necessary support, recruiters can better serve and promote their candidates with disabilities to employers, and employers can ensure they adjust their hiring processes to account for any access needs. 

Angle for encouraging over intimidating 

This can be as simple as giving detailed directions to the office without being asked. If your candidate is going in for an interview, make sure you tell them about the workplace culture and what the office dress code is. 

Letting a candidate know what kind of place they’re going to, and what to expect, can help alleviate stress. 

Haven’t you ever wondered if you were over or under-dressed for an important event? Letting someone know what they’re expected to wear can help people feel more confident and included. 

Be attentive

This applies to both your employer and the candidate you’re putting forward, as they both need to be attentive during the interview. 

Prior to the interview, the employer should review the candidate’s resume, so they can get down to real questions right away. You don’t want a candidate to have to read off their career history line by line. 

For either the applicant or interviewer, if they’re going to take notes during the interview, they need to say so. If they just start writing or typing, it may look like they’re multitasking and not paying attention. 

If possible, the employer shouldn’t schedule anything immediately after an interview. The interviewee should have time to ask questions and not feel hurried out. 

Be honest about your timeline

You should make sure employers have a clear-cut timeline for the hiring process. It’s kind to the applicant, and it’s also in an employer’s best interest. 

Employers should always let people know when they should expect to hear back and stick to that date. If there’s going to be a second round of interviews, there should be a timeline for that. 

As the recruiter, you shouldn’t leave people hanging. If someone has no indication that they will hear back from you, you may lose out on a good candidate if they take another job while they’re waiting. 

Notify contenders when a job has been filled

It’s not uncommon for an employer to make a decision and then think they’re done with the process. 

Let them know that once they’ve called in everyone for the final interviews and made their decisions, they should send out an email to all the finalists. 

Just as you don’t want to lose someone you wanted when they haven’t heard from you, you don’t want someone to lose out on another opportunity if they still think they’re in the running. 

Support your hire

Once you have someone placed in their new role, make sure they see continued support, as you want to maintain that professional relationship. 

Whether you’ve placed a full-time employee, freelancer or contractor, make sure they know that you’ll be in touch to check in and see how they’re progressing.

If an employer contacts you about an employee you’ve placed, make sure to reach out immediately. 


It’s in everyone’s best interest to improve the candidate experience and hiring process. You’re more likely to get the best candidate to employer matches if everyone is clear about their needs and skills. 

So remember to work with people, not just create a placement system. Candidates who are treated well are likely to work with you again if they need a new job. 

Want to learn more about the candidate experience? Check out our recent blog: What candidates are looking for post-COVID-19.

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