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Recruitment and HR Blog

How to maintain a positive candidate journey when you’re inundated with applications

5th October 2020

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Due to the rapid rise in the amount of job seekers now looking for work as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever to ensure a positive candidate journey. 

But how can you make sure that’s a priority when you are inundated with applications? 

In this blog, we share our top tips for what you can do to ensure your potential employees receive a positive experience when considering working for your organisation, whilst ensuring your employer brand is protected.

A smooth candidate journey attracts better quality employees

A streamlined, simple and straightforward candidate journey will help to attract better quality candidates with the experience and skills you’re looking for. The term “candidate experience” is a candidate’s overall perception of your company’s recruiting process which includes many different phases, from talent attraction to pre-screening, selection, interviewing and hiring.

According to CareerBuilder, 78% of candidates feel the overall candidate experience they receive is an indicator of how a company values its people.

Every interaction a candidate has with your company during any of these phases has an impact on their experience when applying to work for you, so you must provide an exceptional experience at all times - a positive candidate experience will put you at a competitive advantage and the more applicants you attract, the better chance you have of finding your perfect candidate.

How to improve the candidate journey

To deliver a perfect candidate experience, you must pay special attention to every stage in the recruitment process, from how your job advert is written and how it is reflecting your employer brand, to how your company is representing itself during interview stage. Below, we share some of our top tips on how you can improve your candidate journey.

1. Write a clear job advert that showcases your company

Be clear from the outset about the role and requirements so candidates know whether or not they have the right skills and experience required. It’s always worth thinking about what the absolute essential requirements of the role are when putting your job advert together. Do candidates really need to have a degree if they are qualified by experience?

Once you have challenged yourself on the essential requirements and focused solely on these points in the job advert, it will make it much clearer and easier for the candidate to make an informed decision about whether to apply for the role, and you are less likely to miss out on an application from a candidate of interest.

Remember, don’t be shy when writing about your company and why you’re such a great place to work – great people can afford to be fussy about where they apply to work, so make sure your employer brand is reflected. Read our handy guide to writing an effective employer branded job advert here.

2. Make it easy for applicants to apply for your vacancies

It’s tempting to want to ask the candidate to submit as much information as possible from the outset in order to support your shortlisting decisions, but it’s worth bearing in mind that most candidates are now looking for their next opportunity on their mobile phone.

60% of job seekers say they have scrapped filling out an application because of its length or complexity.

Application forms play an important role in a lot of recruitment processes, but does it necessarily have to be the first step in the process? You need to make it as easy as possible for candidates to apply in a matter of a few clicks. You may find it better to send the application form to a handful of candidates who have been shortlisted for the role at a later stage in the process.

Think about your careers page on your website too. With three out of four job seekers now researching companies before applying for their roles, you should put yourself in the shoes of the job seeker - what they will be thinking when visiting your careers page? Is it representing your company in the right way? Is it easy for a candidate to submit an application through your website, or do they need to jump through hoops? 

We know at JVP that when it comes to attracting the best people, how you showcase your reputation as an employer and your employee value proposition is key, that’s why we work with employers across the UK to design and host careers pages that take their employer branding and the candidate journey to new heights. You can find out more about this here.

3. Think about your recruitment software

Being able to efficiently review applications is crucial, especially during an employer driven job market where the volume of applications is likely to be much higher. Having all of your applications landing in an inbox might be cumbersome and time consuming, so using an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) that will enable you to efficiently filter your CVs and respond to candidates will help save you time and provide a much smoother experience for the candidate.

61% of applicants expect employers to respond quickly throughout the recruitment process, and having recruitment software in place that is going to enable you to do this quickly and effectively will make all the difference in creating the perfect candidate journey that protects your employer brand. 

4. Communicate regularly 

Perhaps the most important point of all is communication. You must make sure you communicate with your candidates throughout the entire process, and this starts from the initial receipt of their application. Acknowledge their application, acknowledge the time they spent on sending that application through to you, and keep the communication lines open throughout the process.

Too many employers forget to inform candidates that they have been unsuccessful, but it is so important to do so, as this will go a long way in protecting your employer brand. It will also ensure even the unsuccessful candidates have a positive experience with you, and it will encourage them to apply for roles within your organisation in the future.

5. Think about how your company is represented during the interview stage

An interview is your opportunity to find out more about a candidate and whether or not they will be a good fit for your business, but it’s also an opportunity for the candidate to consider whether they would want to work for your organisation, so you need to pay extra attention to how your company is represented during this stage in the process.

Think about the environment where you are hosting the interview, think about how the candidate will be greeted upon arrival to interview. Consider every element of that first impression to make sure this part of the process is as comfortable as possible for the candidate, and it will certainly help you to seal the deal and hire the perfect candidate for the position.

Top tip: Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback from candidates about their experience of applying for a role at your organisation, as their feedback will help you make improvements.


Negative candidate experiences can destroy your employer brand and have an impact on future recruitment processes, as it may leave a bad taste in the mouths of candidates who could potentially share their negative experience with others. 

Nearly 3 out of 4 job seekers report sharing their negative candidate experiences online.

Implementing the steps outlined above can help keep your candidates happy, help you hire the best candidate for the role, and protect your employer brand.

To discover how our online job advertising and recruitment support services, from employer branded job advert writing, pre-employment assessments, to CV shortlisting and telephone pre-screening of candidates, will help you to maintain a positive candidate journey, whilst also enabling you to quickly attract the best people, call the JVP Group team on 01745 774 955, or you can click here to schedule a 20-minute free consultation call.

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