12 Ways to Make the Hiring Process Less Stressful for Candidates

The best hiring processes keep candidates top-of-mind

May 26, 2022


As Mental Health Awareness Month comes to a close, we want to emphasize that mental health advocacy and workplace wellness are communal, continuous efforts. With 81% of working adults believing that employers should prioritize mental health, showing your company’s commitment to wellness starts with the hiring process.

As a recruiter, you’re most frequently on one side of the hiring process: initiating conversations, scheduling interviews, and setting expectations. While it’s your job to be in the driver’s seat, it can leave candidates feeling like they’re just along for the ride. Especially if they’re interviewing with multiple companies, candidates can easily get burnt out after rounds and rounds of interviews. All of us have undoubtedly experienced the stress and uncertainty of applying, interviewing, and waiting to hear back from a potential employer. It can be nerve-wracking! Putting yourself in candidates’ shoes will help shed light on ways you can minimize anxiety for them as they move through your hiring process.

Read on for 12 ways to put candidates at ease, which will help you underscore that you are a company that cares about people.

12 ways to make the hiring process less stressful for candidates

Ditch Phone Tag and Use AI

Use AI to schedule interviews and training. Too often, candidates and recruiters have to play phone tag to set up opportune times to meet and exchange essential information. Recruiters and TA teams can leverage AI capabilities to schedule and lead digital interviews based on a candidate’s availability and data collected during the application process. Using applicant-tracking systems and AI streamlines the candidate experience, giving them a clear picture of the role and where they stand.

Hector Gutierrez, JOI

Show Evidence of Your Company Culture

Every candidate wants to work somewhere with a great company culture and they’ll want that addressed at some point in the hiring process. Reduce their stress by providing evidence that your company culture is amazing! Some companies allow candidates to meet with future employees to get their take. Other organizations use recognition & rewards tools like Motivosity to show their commitment to building a great culture. Some rely on “best places to work” awards and recognitions. Any time you can demonstrate that you care about a quality culture, it will reduce stress for candidates.

Logan Mallory, Motivosity

Avoid the Interview “Pressure Test”

Sometimes in extremely competitive or rigorous recruiting processes, interviewers will purposefully act coldly toward candidates during an interview to throw them off and evaluate their performance under pressure. While it may be a good way to judge if they can handle the shock of a less-than-friendly interviewer, recruiters might actually be missing out on top talent by creating a more negative interview environment. The ability to work under pressure is important, but it’s a skill that can be honed through experience and only really matters in fields where hostile environments are everyday occurrences. It can also give interviewees the wrong impression about your work culture and deter them — and even other future candidates — from wanting to interview and work for your firm.

Adam Shlomi, SoFlo Tutors

Show Them the Money

Take a page from the professional job boards and be as transparent about salaries as possible as early in the process as possible. Include salary bands in job descriptions on your website. Considering salary is typically the single most stressful unknown in the interview process, the more you can do to remove the stressor, the better. Also include perks and benefits that come with the company from a hybrid working policy to professional development opportunities.

Joshua Chin, Chronos

Coordinate Well With Candidates

Give candidates all necessary information when scheduling an in-person interview. Make sure they’re aware of details like who to ask for, what to bring, how to dress, where to park, etc. Recruiters and TA teams should also explain what to expect and what the next steps are after the interview. Being up-front with candidates about important details is a simple and easy way to make the candidate experience during the hiring process less stressful.

Datha Santomieri, Steadily

Boast About Your Company

Sell your company. Every interview goes both ways in terms of who is interviewing whom. Put each candidate at ease, by showing them how enthusiastic you are for them to come work for you. Do this by selling your company. Boast about why your current employees love to work there, and where you see your company headed in the next five years. This will instantly make them feel relaxed and excited to potentially get the job.

Ben Hyman, revivalrugs.com

You can’t take care of others unless you take care of yourself first! Learn about healthy ways recruiters can manage stress.

Don’t Exceed Three Interviews in the Hiring Process

One of the most stressful parts of the hiring process for candidates is the many interview rounds required by some companies. We believe this isn’t a good use of our company or candidate’s time, so we do our best to make the most of each interview we conduct.

For example, if two department heads need to meet with a potential hire, we would plan a group interview instead of scheduling two separate meetings. Sometimes people forget what it’s like to be in the shoes of a job seeker – we aim to empathize with the difficulty of the process.

Amrita Saigal, Kudos

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

Consistent and personal communication with candidates sets the foundation for building a relationship with future employees. It is vital to ensure a welcoming and less stressful candidate experience. It will set expectations with candidates and help them prepare for each stage, which sets them up for success and lets you hire the best people.

Ensure each candidate knows who they will be speaking with and what each stage of the interview will cover. Check in with candidates after interviews to ask how it went and when they can expect an update. This is a great way to reduce stress and create a welcoming and inclusive candidate experience.

At Guusto, we pre-communicate much of this on every job post by highlighting who candidates will meet at each stage, what assignment they will have to work on (and how long it will take), and a general timeline for the whole process. Be consistent, open, and welcoming with your communication, and candidates will respond in kind.

Noah Warder, Guusto

Build Rapport

If your goal is to make the candidate experience during the hiring process less stressful, take care of building rapport. It’s essential not only at the start of a standard acquaintanceship but occurs extremely helpful when hiring. It makes the process more friendly and less callous, positioning recruiters as conversation partners. These, in turn, create mutual trust, attentiveness, and positivity. As a result, stress is reduced. Thus, not only hiring experience is improved. Candidates unaffected by stress and negative emotions have a chance to prove themselves.

Agata Szczepanek, MyPerfectResume

One-on-one Interviews > Group Interviews

Be sure that every person sitting in on an interview needs to be present. Answering questions and performing in an interview with two or more decision-makers can be anxiety-producing for candidates.

I’ve heard scenarios where candidates had to interface with five individuals at a time, resulting in the interview feeling like an interrogation. We like to prioritize one-on-one interviews because they are easier to manage communication-wise for the candidate.

Cesar Cruz, Sebastian Cruz Couture

Simplify Paperwork

One way recruiters and TA teams can make a candidate experience less stressful is to allow them to fill out all paperwork beyond the application at home rather than in the office. Companies are known for having a lot of preliminary paperwork for candidates to fill out once they are accepted for further review in possible employment. This can be incredibly stressful.

Most of this paperwork is legal documents regarding drug testing, further background checks, liability waivers, and similar things to either give the company permission or waive liability during whatever may happen in the hiring process. All of this can be done online at home before coming for an interview.

Tanya Klien, Anta Plumbing

Keep the Canned Questions Away from the Candidate

Don’t ask the same tired interview questions. If you ask the candidate to tell you about a time they made a mistake and one thing they learned from it, you are going to get a canned, pre-planned answer. Not only does that not tell you anything authentic about the candidate, but you are indicating to the candidate that you want the interview to be a performance rather than a conversation. Wouldn’t you prefer the candidate to be themselves? Guess what, they would too.

Performing is extra work. Do you want your candidate to think they will have to pretend to be someone other than themselves if they work for you? Just have a real conversation. If your TA team can’t have a real conversation and find the right candidate at the same time, you may need to step in and help.

David Culpepper, LifeMD

Check out our other blog posts for more talent acquisition tips and insights into recruiting trends.

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About Fetcher

At Fetcher, our mission is to introduce companies to the people who will help them change the world. Our full-service, recruiting automation platform automates those repetitive, top-of-funnel tasks, so you can focus more on candidate engagement & team collaboration. Simplify Sourcing. Optimize Outreach. Hire Top Talent. Learn more at fetcher.ai.

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