Any recruiter or hiring manager who’s worth their salt understands how important giving a great candidate experience is, but there are still some who are missing the mark. One of the biggest complaints from candidates is not being treated like an individual, and a lack of care about them as a person. Sadly, some recruiters just see candidates as money-makers, only caring about filling vacancies as quickly as possible. But having a more compassionate approach to recruitment and fostering deeper connections with candidates can have a huge impact on the success of your hiring process, and in turn, help you build a stronger employer brand.


Get yourself connected

Job board giant, Indeed, recently hosted an ‘Indeed Explore’ event for recruiters, with a talk dedicated to ‘The Human Side of Hiring’. The main focus was on how recruiters can improve the hiring process and treat candidates better by going back to the basics of human interaction. 

In a recent survey, 96% of recruiters agreed that ‘building connected relationships with candidates is an essential part to being a great recruiter’. Recruiters and employers who are able to connect with people on a human level, rather than simply viewing them as ‘candidates’ or ‘employees’ will nurture a more positive experience throughout the hiring process, and beyond this into the workplace. Indeed sets out 5 ideas for creating a more human candidate experience, which we’ve summarised for you here.

5 ways to humanise your candidate experience

1. Build a community which creates a positive environment for future colleagues 

Research shows that for the majority of European job seekers, community is more important than salary – over half said they’d turn down a large pay increase if it meant having to work with people they didn’t like.

A candidate will be judging what a company is like and whether they want to be a part of it, based on their interactions from the hiring manager, as well as other employees. Hearing negative feedback about a company from friends can put many candidates off from applying. Your employees are the best advocates for your business; by creating an environment in which they feel happy, valued and motivated, you’re shaping a powerful marketing machine to show potential candidates that you’re a great employer.

People are less likely to apply for a job if they don’t connect with a company’s mission and values, so the community you build needs to include people which believe in and support this – hiring the right people in the first place is key. Make sure your screening procedures go beyond simply what candidates look like on paper – find out what they’re like as a person, what motivates them, what they feel passionate about to see how well they match up to your company culture.

2. Respond to candidates like your business depends on it…because it does!

The value of hiring talented candidates can’t be overstated – having hardworking, competent people means increased productivity and efficiency for your business. One of the most dehumanising things about the recruitment process is having poor communication; it’s rather telling that over 60% of candidates abandon the application process. Employers who don’t respond to candidates quickly (or at all) not only damage their employer brand, but decrease their future talent pool by putting people off applying for future roles.

Job hunting and applying for jobs is time consuming and frustrating, so when candidates are left in the lurch, waiting and hoping to hear back about their application or interview, it adds a huge amount of stress, leaving them feel dehumanised by the lack of communication. Even if they are unsuitable for a role, being notified of this promptly goes a long way in rescuing your employer brand and making their experience a positive one. More importantly, it shows that you respect them as a human being and value their free time as much as they do.

Automated communications can help you keep on top of responding – find an ATS that can send branded emails to keep candidates informed at different stages of their application, and use chatbots for admin such as screening and scheduling interviews

3. Help talented candidates to shine by being an advocate

To make sure strong candidates show their full potential, give them as much information as possible to help them prepare for interview. Prior to meeting them, email information including: the role, hiring policy, interview process, evaluation and insights into the business, company culture, sample questions, what to expect (and not to), how to succeed, and how to prepare.

Helping candidates to be their best shows that you’re rooting for them, wanting them to succeed rather than trying to catch them out. Interviews are nerve-wracking enough, and when something crops up that’s unexpected or that a candidate hasn’t prepared for, it can really put them off their game and prevent them from being able to show their true skills and suitability.

4. Create opportunities for authentic connection

Having a knock-out CV and cover letter goes a long way in getting a candidate noticed, but don’t rely solely on paperwork to shortlist candidates. Seeing people face-to-face, in real life situations, gives you a far deeper insight into what they’ll be like as part of the team, and whether they’re the type of person you want on board. By using selection days and onsite practical assessments, you’ll be able engage with them on a more personal level, giving you a more complete overview of their character and suitability for a role.

5. Harness data to understand and improve candidate experience

63% of Europeans who reported a poor (1–2 star) experience were never asked for feedback on their interview process. Of these people, less than 20% said they would apply to this company again based on their experience. Using candidate satisfaction surveys can help you to understand what you’re doing well and what needs improving in your hiring process. Don’t shy away from negative feedback – good businesses seek to identify their weak spots quickly and find a way to improve.

Build candidate feedback into your hiring process for a deeper understanding of candidate perception – it can be as simple as an automated email or chatbot asking them to rate their experience with you. In doing so, you make people feel like their opinions are respected and valued.


Being a great recruiter means stripping away the ego, looking past just ticking boxes. View candidates as real people with their own goals and ambitions, who, like you, desire to be happy and feel appreciated. If you’re able to engage with people on a deeper, personal level, you’re far more likely to understand their needs and treat them as you would want to be treated – with respect, kindness and honesty. By implementing these 5 ideas into your recruitment strategy, you’ll be well on your way to more honest, caring and human recruitment to give candidates a great experience and attract top talent.

(Source: Indeed Explore ‘The Human Side of Hiring’)

This entry was posted in Recruitment, Tools & Tips, The Candidate Experience