Creating a Great Candidate Experience

Written by: Alex Brown
Published on: Feb 14, 2022

female physician interviewing candidate

The so-called Great Resignation has led to many open positions, creating a competitive recruiting environment that has employers competing for candidates using any advantages they can offer.

One primary method of gaining an advantage is to offer an exceptional candidate experience during the interviewing phase. Whether you hire or reject a candidate, making the experience favorable goes a long way in achieving a positive brand reputation. In addition, a great candidate experience helps your healthcare organization attract and hire the best candidates.

What is a Candidate Experience?

A candidate experience refers to the introduction of your company during the application, interview, and onboarding period. (For this post, we’ll focus on the application and interview phases.)

Candidate experience describes the perception of your healthcare brand—good, bad, or indifferent—after going through that period. In other words, how candidates feel about your company once they experience your hiring process.

Why is a Great Candidate Experience Important?

The benefits of creating a great candidate experience have long-lasting effects that range from hiring the best candidates to making your organization look desirable to other candidates to avoiding negative reviews on sites like Glassdoor. On the other hand, the consequence of a bad experience can cost you a potentially valuable candidate and more.

Studies have shown that offering a poor experience will likely result in negative side effects like a drop in candidate pipeline. For example, three out of four candidates share negative experiences they had with a prospective employer online. And more than half of job candidates surveyed won’t pursue open positions at companies that have received negative online reviews.

How to Offer a Great Candidate Experience to Medical Recruits

Make the Virtual Experience Easy

The pandemic has skyrocketed remote hiring activities. For some, virtual interviewing comes with anxiety and stress. Making the virtual hiring process easy for candidates goes a long way in creating a positive candidate experience.

It helps to be mindful that not all candidates may have experienced with online video apps. Select a platform that most are familiar with, such as Zoom. Offer instructions or get confirmation that they understand how to use features that are available during the interview. Putting candidates at ease provides a positive experience that allows them to engage with confidence.

Respond to Applications Every Time

The most common complaint candidates have about their experiences is that companies never respond to their application. According to one survey, 75 percent of candidates never hear back after applying. This creates discontent and can ultimately lead to a poor brand reputation among a candidate’s peers.

Responding to every candidate’s application is the easiest way to solve this complaint. It involves adopting a mindset that respects a candidate’s time and effort. In most cases, you can use an email template and automated delivery to minimize your time responding to applications.

Prioritize Communications

A lack of communication during the hiring process can also lead to a poor candidate experience, even if you’ve responded to the initial application. Have a communication plan in place that provides rapid responses to candidate thank-you notes and follow-up questions.

Use your preferred channel(s) to make responding easy. But keep in mind that, while many prefer email or SMS, phone calls may be easier for more complex needs. However you choose to respond, aim for a high response rate. Acknowledging thank you notes and quick responses to questions is courteous, makes candidates feel more appreciated, and shows you’re organized and respectful of their interest.

Be Generous with Interview Details

Whether you hold interviews virtually or in person, start the experience off right by providing a rich dose of guidance to your candidates. By giving instructions, suggestions, and guidelines, you put the candidate at ease going into the interview.

Examples of helpful instructions include:

  • Number of interviewers and their roles
  • How long the interview should take
  • What structure the interview will take (i.e. formal Q&A or relaxed discussion)
  • How visitors should enter the building (i.e. park in visitor lot, check-in at the reception desk, and obtain a visitor ID)
  • Offsite parking options

By creating a great candidate experience, you set yourself apart from competitive employers and establish a favored position in the mind of active and passive job seekers.

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