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Maximising Candidate Experience: Why It Matters and How to Do It

In today’s competitive job market – where New Zealand’s unemployment rate (3.4% last quarter) continues to sit well below long term averages – companies need to put their best foot forward to attract top talent. However, many organisations overlook a crucial aspect of the hiring process: the candidate experience. The candidate experience refers to how candidates perceive and interact with a company throughout the hiring process, from the initial job posting all the way through to their induction after they commence in the role. Maximising candidate experience can help companies attract and retain top talent while also enhancing their reputation as an employer of choice.

Why It Matters

The candidate experience is essential because it can influence a candidate’s decision to accept or reject a job offer. A negative candidate experience can harm a company’s reputation, leading to lost opportunities to hire talented candidates. According to a study by CareerArc, 60% of job seekers reported a negative candidate experience, and 72% shared their experiences on online review sites, social media, and with friends and family. On the other hand, a positive candidate experience can lead to more enthusiastic referrals, higher employee engagement, and a stronger employer brand.


Here are 5 ways to create a positive and productive candidate experience:

1. Create a Positive First Impression

The first interaction a candidate has with a company sets the tone for their entire experience. Ensure that job postings are clear and concise, and include information about the company’s mission, culture, and benefits. Respond promptly to inquiries and provide a personalized touch, such as using the candidate’s name and referencing their experience. This shows that the company values the candidate’s time and is interested in them as an individual. It also sets the right tone for what’s ahead.

2. Streamline the Application Process

An overly complex or lengthy application process can deter top talent from applying. Ensure that the application process is simple and easy to navigate, and avoid asking for unnecessary information or additional rounds of interview if they are not going to serve a clear purpose. Consider offering alternative application methods, such as video interviews or online assessments, to give candidates more flexibility and showcase the company’s use of technology.

3. Communicate Regularly

Lack of communication during the hiring process can create uncertainty and frustration for candidates. Ensure that candidates receive regular updates on the status of their application, such as acknowledging receipt of their application and notifying them of next steps. This creates a sense of transparency and demonstrates that the company values the candidate’s time and effort. Its also a good way to hold candidate engagement throughout the process.

4. Personalise the Interview Process

The interview process is a crucial step in assessing a candidate’s fit with the company. Personalise the interview process by tailoring questions to the candidate’s experience, skills, and interests. Consider involving other team members in the interview process to give candidates a broader perspective of the company culture and values.

5. Provide Constructive Feedback

Even if a candidate is not selected for the role, providing constructive feedback can help them improve and create a positive impression of the company. Offer feedback on the candidate’s strengths and areas for improvement, and provide suggestions for future opportunities. This shows that the company values the candidate’s effort and wants to help them succeed.


A sound candidate experience is essential for companies that want to attract and retain top talent. Creating a positive first impression, streamlining the application process, communicating regularly, personalising the interview process, and providing constructive feedback are key ways to enhance the candidate experience. By prioritising candidate experience, companies can create a positive reputation as an employer of choice and set themselves apart in a competitive job market.

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