3 Steps to a Better Candidate Experience

by Sabine Steiner in — April 2019
Time to walk in the shoes of your applicants – they are the focus of this article. Candidate experience is the buzz word of 2019 when it comes to improving the application process. The development of a candidate journey is the most structured path for turning applicants into fans.

Move the Applicant from a Supporting to a Starring Role

The candidate experience describes the individual experience of an applicant with a company. It includes both positive and negative experiences during the process. Develop a candidate journey containing each touchpoint the applicant has with the company during the process to catalogue the touchpoints and improve them systematically.

The Candidate Experience: a Matter of Trust

“The relationship between the applicant and the company is the key to a positive candidate experience”, says Christoph Athanas, managing director of meta HR. Trust plays a key role in developing relationships. Author Robert Shaw’s “3 Dimensions of Trust” suggest clear applications in recruiting:


1. Dimension: Clarity and Integrity

  • Personal contact person with contact information
  • Information on requirements for the job
  • Plausibility, for example in rejection notices

2. Dimension: Results Orientation

  • Timely acceptances or rejections
  • Quick reaction to applications

3. Dimension: Concern

  • Respectful interview
  • Individual treatment
  • Comfortable interview environment


If one dimension is missing, the candidate experience at your company is lacking. It’s simple, but not easy. An important note: the third dimension is the most important. If the applicant has an unpleasant experience during the interview, any positive impressions from the first and second dimensions lose relevance.

Blog 2019 3 Steps Candidate Experience

Step 1: Shine the Spotlight on the Candidate

Who are we dealing with? The first step is to create a persona profile to help you understand the needs of your applications. Define one to three typical applicants for your company. Use your imagination and visualise these people with names, ages, jobs, interests, appearance, and marital status on a flipchart with words and pictures.

Step 2: The Path to the Candidate Journey

In the second step, identify all your company’s touchpoints with the applicant. They range from job ads, to recruitment fairs, to the interview at your offices, and beyond. Christoph Athanas notes, “It makes sense to prioritise the most important touchpoints.”

After the most important touchpoints have been identified, the job search phases from the perspective of the applicant come into focus. Differences in the recruiting processes of every company mean that it is impossible to define one single candidate journey. Meta HR and stellenanzeige.de’s study on candidate experience requirements dividing the candidate journey into four phases:

  • Job research and orientation (general interest in the employer)
  • Submission of application
  • Selection process
  • Communication of decision

Step 3: Walk a Mile in the Applicant’s Shoes

Create a chart with the phases of the job search on the X-axis and the touchpoints on the Y-axis. Augment the touchpoints with the needs and feelings from the perspective of the applicant, to understand them even better. The chart reveals where there is potential in your process. Do not take on too much; concentrate on the touchpoints that have a big impact. Christoph Athanas’ top tip:

“The interview is the key moment for the candidate experience and therefore the ultimate touchpoint.”

Use the candidate journey to develop measures to optimise your recruiting process sustainably. Ask your candidates for feedback on how to improve the process. Follow these steps, and you are sure to improve your recruiting success.