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5 Ways Small Employers Can Improve the Candidate Experience


While recruiting is something that both large and small businesses are struggling with today, larger companies are often in a better position to overcome these issues to attract the best possible talent.

Things like pay, location, positions, company culture, employee benefits, and perks are often what small employers first address when thinking of ways to make their company more enticing to job seekers.

But many small employers tend to overlook the importance of the candidate experience when evaluating their recruiting process. Companies with a poor candidate experience will find recruiting to be more difficult than it already is, even with the best strategies and branding in place.

For small business owners looking to improve their candidate experience, these tips will help their organization’s ability to hire top talent.


The best relationships get off to a positive start, and recruiting is certainly no different. That’s why it’s important for small employers to be up-front with their candidates as soon as the recruiting process begins.

These expectations can be set in the job application, in a follow-up email once the application has been submitted, or even in the job description.

No matter how it’s done, small businesses must be sure to be transparent with their recruiting process, or they risk losing out on top talent by providing a poor candidate experience.

However, by being proactive, employers can set the tone for a great candidate experience right from the beginning of the process, which will only increase the likelihood of conversions and ultimately hires.


For many small employers, the first touch-point a candidate will have with your company is through a job description. It’s critical for small employers to craft accurate, attention grabbing job descriptions that will increase the chances of a job seeker clicking to learn more (and hopefully apply!).

The role of job descriptions in the candidate experience often get overlooked, even by larger employers. But for small business owners, they can be your one and only chance to get a candidate into your pipeline.

If you offer descriptions that are bland, boring, and don’t offer any helpful information about the job or company – compensation, responsibilities, etc. – chances are your conversion rates will be low.

Putting more time and creativity into your job descriptions can greatly help small employers improve their candidate experience and hiring success.


One of the biggest frustrations job seekers have about the hiring process is the lack of communication from employers. While larger, recognizable organizations can overcome this obstacle, the same isn’t true for small businesses.

Leaving candidates in the dark is one of the easiest ways to ruin the candidate experience and can even cause them to drop out of the hiring process altogether.

Keeping candidates informed not only helps to improve the candidate experience, but also increases the likelihood of them re-applying down the road (if they don’t get the job they are interviewing for) and perhaps even leaving a positive review on sites such as Glassdoor.


For many years, HR technology (like an application tracking system) were only for larger employers. However, that’s no longer the case.

Today, small employers are also able to enhance their recruiting strategies by implementing technology, which help to significantly boost the candidate experience.

Things like a modern apply flow, video interviewing software, mobile-optimized applications, and a sleek career site are all possible for small employers.

Candidates have greater digital expectations today than ever before and employers need to, at a minimum, meet them to get them to apply. Implementing HR technology is one way to accomplish this goal and improve the candidate experience.


Employer branding plays a critical role in successful recruiting strategies. Many large employers invest significant resources to enhance and market their brand to get more candidates interested in their company.

While small businesses may not be able to do this at a similar scale that doesn’t mean they cannot take advantage of employer branding.

And there’s good reason why they should – a survey from Jibe found that 95% of recruiters think the quality of their employer brand impacts the candidate experience.

Employee testimonials, behind-the-scenes videos, pictures from company outings and events, company social media accounts, and spotlight videos are just a few examples of employer branding content that small businesses can use to market their company to job seekers, improve their candidate experience, and get more hires!


Regardless of the size of a company, candidate experience plays a critical role in recruiting. A poor candidate experience has shown to have numerous negative outcomes for employers. These include:

  • Negatively changing job seeker perceptions of a company
  • Increasing the likelihood that a candidate tells others not to apply to an organization
  • Job seekers abandoning an application without submitting
  • Candidates withdrawing from the recruiting process
  • Negative reviews on sites such as Glassdoor

Small business owners and recruiters should always remember to continuously monitor their candidate experience, take note of areas of weakness, and make improvements that will help make recruiting as successful as possible.

How can outsourcing help small and medium-sized businesses overcome 10 common HR symptoms? Our eBook explains these HR challenges, and how partnering with a PEO can help overcome them!

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