Candidate Experience

5 Candidate Experience Pitfalls to Avoid

Profile photo of Kaitlyn Holbein
Written by Kaitlyn Holbein
5 Candidate Experience Pitfalls to Avoid
5 (100%) 5 votes

No candidate experience is perfect. There are so many touchpoints across a company’s recruitment marketing and hiring process that even top employers have areas for improvement.

However, if your team carves out time to avoid major pain points, you can significantly improve your overall candidate experience. Here are five pitfalls to watch for:

1) Your candidate journey hasn’t been fully mapped out

When was the last time you put yourself in your candidate’s shoes and followed their candidate journey step by step?

You can start from the beginning and click on a social post, browse your careers site content, search for matching jobs, read a job description, and complete an application. If you’re ready to look holistically at your candidate experience, take the journey again from your mobile phone.

Identify areas that are inconsistent with your employer brand, or that are inefficient or unpleasant, and consider how to improve these touchpoints.

2) Your careers site isn’t providing the information candidates need to know

Your employee value proposition can vary by team or region. Sales candidates value different things from an employment experience than engineering candidates – and your culture in Hyderabad is probably quite different from your culture in San Francisco!

As you work on improving your candidate experience, plan out content that speaks to different teams and regional hubs. This way you can address the audience in a personalized manner that will attract more people to apply.

Looking for inspiration? Google does an amazing job of this. A smaller scale example is Squarespace.

Pro tip — Another great approach is to provide detailed information about your company’s hiring process and timelines on your site. Candidates appreciate the transparency! Fiserv and SAP are both companies knocking it out of the park here.

3) Your job descriptions don’t match your other brand touchpoints

As you know, job descriptions are often a candidate’s first impression of your employer brand. As such, it’s important to make sure the tone of your job descriptions align with other messages you send.

Beyond brand and tone, if job descriptions are too long, have typos or grammatical errors, or aren’t compelling enough, active candidates will move on to the next opportunity.

Best practices to improve your job description performance:

There’s a new product on the market called Textio that applies data science to job descriptions. Their software analyzes millions of job descriptions to find out what performs best.

According to their findings, candidates are most like to apply to:

  • Job descriptions that are between 500 and 700 words
  • Postings that only list “must-have” qualifications, and that cap these at five to 10
  • Roles that don’t go overboard on bullet points – only 1/3 of the content should be bulleted

Textio partnered with Evernote to reveal a number of other insights at Glassdoor Recruit this year. Here’s the full deck from their session: “Creating Killer Job Descriptions.”

4) Your hiring managers haven’t been trained on candidate experience

Interviews with hiring managers are a critical stage in the candidate journey. However, hiring managers may not understand what the hiring landscape looks like today.

To help hiring managers better understand the current hiring landscape, your team could create a webinar or PDF that recruiters can share with hiring managers during intake. This resource can explain the shift towards today’s candidate-driven market and describe what candidate experience is and why it matters.

Pro tip — Hiring managers often respond well to the reminder that candidates are consumers too. A poor candidate experience can result in them not buying from your organization in future!

5) You’re not measuring the performance of your candidate experience

Lastly, don’t forget to track performance so you can spot growth and opportunities to improve. For early touchpoints in the recruitment marketing process, you can track applicant conversions (number of careers site visitors divided by applicants) and applicant drop-off rates (people who start filling out an application, but stop part-way through).

You can also look at vendors like Talentegy that automatically track your candidate experience for you.

To measure the candidate experience later in the hiring process, such as during screens, interviews with hiring managers, offers and background checks, you can send out a candidate experience survey. Workable offers a good tutorial on how to put a survey together.

Pro tip — Another source of information is the interview feedback that candidates leave on your Glassdoor page. Even if you don’t have Glassdoor employer account, you can skim through interview reviews to get a feel for patterns and trends over time.


Want to know more? Have candidate experience advice? Join the community!

Join the Rally Recruitment Marketing community (for free!) to connect with other talent acquisition professionals. Find out what approaches your peers are taking, and tell us what you’re doing to improve your organization’s candidate experience.

5 Candidate Experience Pitfalls to Avoid
5 (100%) 5 votes

About the Author

Profile photo of Kaitlyn Holbein

Kaitlyn Holbein

Rally Content Contributor, and employer brand & recruitment marketing consultant with The Employer Brand Shop.

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