According to Indeed research, 35% of candidates say they often don’t hear back from recruiters.1 Their resume disappears into a “black hole,” making an already difficult job search demoralizing. Uninformed candidates are left to prioritize other options, walking away with a negative perception of the company. This happens far too often – an Indeed study revealed that 36% of job seekers in Canada say the hiring process has become more impersonal due to digitization.1

From a recruiting perspective, competition for skilled talent will only increase. One in three Canadian companies expect remote work to become the norm. As professionals navigate having more options, a strong candidate experience will set employers apart.

Thoughtfully employed automation better engages candidates and addresses recruiters’ key challenges. Less hours spent on repetitive and manual tasks such as screening and interview scheduling directly impacts productivity and the bottom line of the business. To envision what this could look like for your team, let’s begin by establishing the ideal candidate experience. 

What do candidates want at each stage of the candidate experience?

The candidate experience occurs in key stages: Job search and research, application, interview, onboarding, and retention. 

Stage one of the candidate experience: Job search and research 

  • Job seekers want to quickly find roles relevant to their skills and experience level.
  • Once they find a job they’re interested in, reviews have a big impact on their decision to apply: According to Indeed data, 57% of job seekers in Canada say reviews of employers on sites like Glassdoor and Indeed influenced which companies they applied with.1

Stage two of the candidate experience: Application

  • Indeed data shows that a complex hiring process results in applicant drop-off. For example, applications with 30 screener questions resulted in a 50% reduction in candidates.2
  • Once an application is submitted, ongoing updates throughout the process (even with bad news) is much preferred to radio silence.

Stage three of the candidate experience: Interview

  • A simple scheduling process with clarity around how the interview will be conducted (in person, via phone, video call, etc.), who it’s with, and how many rounds there are helps candidates be as prepared as possible.

Stage four of the candidate experience: Onboarding 

  • This equally exciting and overwhelming stage covers a range of various tasks, so candidates want to feel connected, supported, and confident in their next steps each day

Stage five of the candidate experience: Retention

  • According to an Indeed survey, 79% of job seekers in Canada say they can tell within the first six months of starting a job whether or not they’ll stay with the company long term.That said, the advantages and perks touted to them throughout the hiring process must be authentic. 

Automate the recruitment process to deliver quality hires faster 

When we recognize what candidates value at each stage, we can begin to explore how to use automation to intuitively design an efficient, positive experience for everyone involved. 

Automation for recruiters 

On average, recruiters actively source for 65% of open roles in their organization, spending 14.5 hours per week sourcing candidates on just one requisition. It’s no surprise that 80% of recruiters believe they could be more productive if sourcing was automated

Screening is just as time-consuming. As digitization has streamlined the application process, 43% of recruiters in Canada say it’s become more cumbersome to screen candidates due to the volume of resumes.1

 Recruiters now look at a resume for roughly six seconds – a very short amount of time to glean information and determine whether a candidate is qualified for the role.  Automated screening narrows the applicant pool right away by confirming basic qualifications are met and managing assessments that help determine a good fit. 

Additionally, 61% of talent acquisition professionals believe recruiting automation can help reduce unconscious bias while only 25% believe they currently have the tools in place to do so. A study of large Canadian employers found that applicants with Asian-sounding names were 28% less likely to score an interview even when all of the candidates were educated and employed in Canada. Automation can be programmed to ignore demographic information like name origins, gender, race, and age. 

Automation can also speeds up the interview process. According to one study, 37% of recruiters say their candidate experience is most challenged by interview scheduling and rescheduling. COVID-19 has amplified this pain point, with 30% of recruiters saying that implementing digital interviewing has been their greatest recruiting challenge during the pandemic. Relying on automation at this stage allows teams to skip the endless scheduling back and forth, prevent no-shows, and present offers quickly so competitive candidates don’t check out or take their skills elsewhere. 

Recruiters acknowledge that the black hole is one of the greatest flaws in the recruitment process with 47% saying communication is the biggest candidate experience challenge their team faces. When discussing automation and humanity with SHRM, Nancy Hauge, the CHRO of Automation Anywhere, suggested automation can bring more humanity to the workplace, sharing, “It allows you to put technology in the background and move uniquely human skills up front.” 

When they aren’t scrambling to manage sourcing, screening, and scheduling, recruiters can focus on the best part of their jobs: Truly connecting with candidates and providing a personalized experience to their potential new co-workers. 

Automation for candidates

Organizations that invest in a strong candidate experience improve the quality of their new hires by 70%. While it’s imperative to increase efficiency across recruitment teams, a successful automation strategy is one that puts candidates first. 

Juggling a current role while searching for a new job is a delicate balancing act. Automation can give candidates autonomy in the experience, helping them know their job search efforts aren’t being wasted. Johnson & Johnson developed an app, J&J Shine, to help candidates feel more control, stating, “We don’t want you to feel frustrated or unhappy when you apply for a job with Johnson & Johnson. We get excited when someone chooses to pursue a career with us, and we feel passionate that your hiring experience should reflect that positivity.” 

Once hired, onboarding is often boring and intimidating instead of welcoming or exciting. Automate repetitive tasks, like document signing, and use HR chatbots to help new employees with basic questions. This way, they can focus on connecting with teammates and learning their role, not tracking down HR. 

Finally, note that a strong candidate might not be the best fit for the role they interviewed, but could fill a role in the future. It’s important to set a good impression and build your candidate pipeline. You can continue to improve candidate experience by providing an automated survey to new hires for their feedback. Ask about communication, how well prepared they were ahead of interviews, and if they feel benefits and culture were accurately expressed throughout the process. This is an important step of the interview process, but it isn’t commonly practiced; only 21% of job seekers in Canada say the company they last interviewed for asked for feedback about their interview experience.4

Apply automation throughout the hiring process

By automating key stages of the candidate experience, you can greatly reduce time to hire. As time is saved, you’ll lower your average cost per hire and give recruiters the opportunity to tackle more strategic tasks like building relationships and growing the employer brand. 

Start by considering which changes will make the most impact for your organization:

  • Application: Once a candidate finds a job they’re interested in, make it easy for them to apply. Automate pre-screens and assessments to qualify the best candidates and remove any risk of inherent bias. Communication at this stage is key but volume tends to be an issue – recruiters can’t personally reach hundreds of applicants. This is where automation comes in. Candidates prefer to hear from a bot or an automated program versus hearing nothing at all. Design a process that keeps candidates in the loop and addresses their FAQs. 
  • Interview: Automate scheduling so recruiters can focus on connecting with candidates. The Indeed Hiring platform, for example, helps recruiters automate screening, scheduling and communications so they can start interviewing faster. The platform enables job seekers to explore roles, answer screener questions and schedule an interview in a matter of minutes.
  • Onboarding: Personalize warm welcomes and automate the tedious tasks.
  • Retention: Use chatbots to answer HR questions and automate surveys for candidate experience feedback.

When thoughtful about automation, you can humanize what matters most and provide a candidate experience that leaves a lasting, positive effect on every person interested in working with you. Use automation to save time and money throughout the hiring process so your team can scale their efforts to fill pipelines with more qualified candidates. 


1Indeed survey, n=1,000

Indeed Data (worldwide)

3 Indeed survey, n=1,300

4 Indeed survey, n=946