Candidate Care: The Key To Recruitment Success

Off the back of Winning The Best Online Candidate Experience at the prestigious OnRec Awards last month, we thought it was a good idea to talk about the immense power of Candidate Care and why it’s so vitally important to any recruitment agency looking to build trust and loyalty with job seekers. Providing an exceptional candidate experience should be a top priority. From the initial reach out to the applicant tracking and interview process all the way through to onboarding, candidates deserve clear communication, respect, and transparency.



Finding and recruiting top talent is challenging, especially in this competitive market. With more and more options for candidates, the race to source, engage, retain and hire the best people has never been so fierce. 

It’s so easy to focus on metrics like cost-per-hire or cost-per-job immediately and become fixed on the numbers, but candidate care is the crucial factor that can make or break recruiting efforts.

What is Candidate Care?

Candidate care refers to how a recruiter or hiring organisation treats job candidates throughout the recruitment process. It encompasses everything from the initial outreach to screening calls, interviews, follow-ups, and updates on status.

At its core, it’s about providing a personalised, compassionate experience for all applicants exploring job opportunities within an organisation.

Why Does Candidate Care Matter?

Candidate care is powerful and has huge implications for a recruiter’s ability to hire top talent. Here are four key reasons it should be a priority:

Influences Good Candidates to Apply

Skilled candidates are aware of how to secure interviews. They’ll explore multiple job options, tailoring their profile, CV and conversation based on each, and a recruiter’s outreach and follow-through can influence whether they apply or not. Prompt responses and regular updates on application status are key; showing engagement and excitement is so important to them. It makes candidates feel more enthusiastic about opportunities at your organisation versus others.

Leaves a Positive Brand Impression

Whether they get the job, your interactions with candidates shape how they perceive your employer brand and the organisation you represent. Candidates talk to colleagues, friends and family. They leave reviews and reflect on their experience. You want them to walk away with a great impression that makes them refer others. The last thing you want is poor candidate care tarnishing brand perception. 

Builds Trust

Candidates seek reassurance that you have their best interests in mind and not looking at them as a number in your pipeline. Consistent communication and compassion build trust in your recruiting process. They’ll feel more comfortable opening up and sharing information that helps you make the right hiring decisions.

Reduces Candidate Drop-Off

Lack of candidate care leads to drop-off at various hiring stages. This includes poor follow-up after initial contact, slow responses, and lack of status updates, which causes candidates to lose interest. They may pursue more responsive opportunities because their perception of you has become negative. Proper care nurtures candidates and keeps them engaged.

Best Practices for Candidate Care.

Personalize Outreach and Communication

Avoid cut-and-paste. Personalise and be creative with your messages or emails. Use their name, be conversational, and share your appreciation for their interest. Ask questions that show care and interest.

Be Responsive

Reply to candidates within 24 hours. Set expectations upfront on your timeline and then over-deliver. Unreasonable delays frustrate candidates.

Showcase the People and Culture

Give candidates a feel for your company by introducing them to colleagues, sharing photos/videos from the office, linking to employee bios, and hosting virtual tours. This brings the opportunity to life.

Spotlight the Meaningful Work

Many candidates seek purpose-driven work. Discuss how their role impacts others. Explain the greater mission their efforts will contribute to.

Maintain Ongoing Communication

From application to offer, frequently update candidates on their status. Reach out if steps are delayed. Thank them for their time and patience if they aren’t selected.

Ask for Feedback

Survey candidates about their experience, from application to interview and beyond. Use feedback to improve your recruiting process.

  • Close the Loop
  • Notify candidates when a role is filled. Thank them for their time and interest. Let them know you’ll contact them directly about future positions that may be a fit.

Candidate Care as a Competitive Edge

Candidates will remember how you made them feel—and will tell others. A reputation for delivering personalised, compassionate experiences will serve your employer brand well. You’ll earn the talent community’s trust and become their recruiter for new opportunities.

So be sure to make candidate care a priority throughout your recruiting. Keep their experience front of mind with every interaction, from first outreach to onboarding and beyond. By mastering candidate care, you’ll be able to hire and retain the talent your organisation needs to thrive.