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Frictionless Candidate Journey: How AI and Recruiters Can Co-Create a Better Experience

In this article

Paul Beglinger
Head of People & Operations, Carv
Close to a decade of experience crafting success stories, from startup to global presence.

Have you ever wondered what it's like for someone applying to a job at your company?

It's easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of filling open positions, but the candidate journey – the entire experience from first seeing the ad to the final outcome – often gets overlooked.

It should be the crown jewel of your hiring process, attracting top talent and showcasing your company culture.

Unfortunately, the reality can feel like an uphill battle. We often rely heavily on automation, assuming technology can handle the intricacies of crafting a positive experience.

But the result? Candidate journeys that are sterile and impersonal.

Forget engaging applicants – they're bombarded with generic emails flagged as spam, or worse, left in radio silence when recruiters are overwhelmed.

There's a better way. By combining the power of AI with the human expertise of recruiters, we can craft candidate journeys that are both efficient and engaging.

Let's see how this powerful collaboration can pave the way for a frictionless candidate journey.

Common roadblocks in a typical candidate journey

Navigating a maze blindfolded—that's what the candidate journey can feel like when riddled with roadblocks.

Instead of the streamlined, informative, candidate-centric process envisioned on paper, the real-life hiring journey often becomes a lengthy and tiring experience that frustrates both candidates and recruiters, leading to lost opportunities for job seekers and companies alike.

Here are some of the most common roadblocks.

Information black hole

Applicants submit their resumes, and then...silence. A lack of communication leaves them wondering if their application is lost or simply ignored.

It's concerning that, despite an ongoing war for talent, 67% of job seekers never receive any feedback from talent acquisition teams at all. It's almost as if a candidate’s need for closure, in one form or another, isn’t important for employers.

Having a negative interview experience might cause 83% of candidates to pass on a role or company they initially liked. On the other hand, a positive candidate experience increases the chances of someone accepting a job offer from a company by 38%.

Basic updates on application status go a long way in keeping all potential candidates engaged throughout the process.

Generic, impersonal communication

Until a few years ago, out-of-the-box, standardized templates, and ready-made outreach sequences were seen as the holy grail of TA—the long-awaited solution that could reduce the time to response once and for all.

However, today we know that such impersonal communication is not the right approach. In fact, generic messages plague many candidate journeys.

Imagine receiving a generic email thanking you for your interest, with no mention of your specific skills or experience. Or even worse, an outreach email from a recruiter trying to convince you you’re the right fit for their job opening ... except you have zero experience in that position.

Not exactly inspiring, is it?

Automated emails and robotic greetings make job seekers feel like a cog in the machine, not a valuable potential hire. Personalized communication that acknowledges their specific skills and interests demonstrates genuine company interest and sets the tone for a positive experience.

A waiting game where nobody wins

Slow response times are a major turn-off. Days or even weeks can pass without any communication, leaving candidates frustrated and questioning if their application is even being considered.

In fact, data from Indeed shows that the average response time after an interview is around 24 business days - almost a full month for a candidate to just hear a “yes” or “no”.

These delays aren’t just impacting recruitment metrics like the time to hire, but they can lead to lost interest and missed opportunities to secure top talent.

On the other hand, prompt responses and clear timelines set realistic expectations and demonstrate respect for the candidate's time.

Inconsistent interviewing practices

When interview processes lack structure and clear criteria, they not only risk being unfair but also introduce biases in the hiring process, potentially influencing decision-making.

The absence of a standardized approach makes it difficult for recruiters and hiring managers to accurately assess the candidate's alignment with the job requirements.

This inconsistency not only results in a less-than-optimal experience for active job seekers, but also impedes your organization's ability to identify and select the best candidates for the role.

Implementing a more standardized and well-defined interview framework can contribute to a fairer, more objective recruitment process and enhance the likelihood of securing the best talent for your team.

Misleading job descriptions

Job descriptions posted on careers pages or job boards are often the first thing a candidate sees, or the first candidate journey touchpoint. Ideally, they should be clear, concise, and accurately reflect the role's requirements and responsibilities.

Unfortunately, misleading job ads are a common roadblock in the candidate journey, creating a frustrating experience for both candidates and companies.

Candidates spend time crafting resumes and cover letters tailored to job postings that don't accurately represent the actual work. They invest precious energy in applications that ultimately lead nowhere, leaving them feeling discouraged and wasting recruitment marketing budget.

For companies, overly broad descriptions attract a large pool of candidates, many of whom lack the necessary skills or experience. This wastes valuable time and resources spent screening and interviewing unqualified candidates.

How AI improves the hiring journey and candidate experience

Imagine a world where AI takes over the administrative work at every stage of the candidate journey.

This includes tasks like posting vacancies on career sites, sourcing passive candidates, screening resumes, scheduling interviews, and writing follow-up emails to both candidates and stakeholders.

Delegating such work to AI frees up recruiters to focus on what they do best: building relationships with top talent.

But the collaboration between recruiters and artificial intelligence doesn't have to stop at administrative tasks. AI can further assist TA teams by:

  • Creating personalized communication and delivering it at the precisely right moment.
  • Finding relevant job matches that excite both job seekers and companies about a potential collaboration.
  • Sending timely updates throughout the process to all parties involved.

This is the future of hiring – a frictionless candidate journey powered by AI and human collaboration.

Let's zoom in on the different touchpoints to see how AI can assist, in practice.

Personalized, timely communication

No one likes feeling like just another name in the system. AI brings a personal touch by tailoring communication based on candidates' preferences and behaviors.

Whether it's timely updates, relevant job recommendations, or answering queries, AI ensures a more personalized and engaging experience.

For example:

  1. Initial outreach: AI can engage with candidates on career pages or job portals, providing instant responses to queries and personalized information about job opportunities. Also, AI recruiters can browse through talent pools and social media channels and reach out to passive candidates who might be a good fit, testing their interest in available positions.
  2. Interview scheduling: After the job application stage, AI can screen resumes and shortlist candidates for an interview round. Artificial intelligence can also streamline interview scheduling by considering candidate preferences, time zones, and availability, providing a more personalized and convenient experience.
  3. Interview feedback and follow-up: After interviews, AI can assist in collecting and analyzing feedback from both candidates and interviewers, enabling personalized follow-up communication and addressing concerns or questions. This is essential for maintaining a positive employer brand image with both shortlisted and rejected applicants.
  4. Onboarding process: AI can facilitate a personalized onboarding experience by providing new hires with tailored information about their role, team, and company culture, ensuring a smoother transition.
  5. Post-hire engagement: AI tools can continue to support personalized communication post-hire by sending targeted updates, training materials, and feedback surveys to enhance the ongoing employee experience.

With AI, real-time updates on application status become the norm. No more wondering if their application has vanished into a void; instead, candidates receive timely feedback, keeping them engaged and informed throughout the process.

But the automation of communication channels and touchpoints isn’t the only benefit of using AI throughout the candidate journey.

Streamlined application process

AI isn't here to complicate things. One of its superpowers is simplifying the application process by analyzing the steps of the candidate and highlighting bottlenecks.

For example, artificial intelligence can help recruiters see where candidates get stuck in the process and where the biggest drop off rates are, and provide insights into why that might happen, or - even better - reach out to candidates in real time to see if they need support.

At the same time, AI can guide applicants throughout the application process by asking targeted questions and requesting only the necessary documentation.

If the candidate profile isn’t extensive enough, AI can fill it in with information it gathers from the internet, with no additional effort from the candidate or recruiter.

All these use cases of AI come together to create a streamlined application process that benefits both candidates and recruiters.

Shorter time to response

Let's not overlook the time-saving aspect. Lengthy interview processes can be a turn-off for applicants, but with AI doing the heavy lifting, recruiters can focus on building meaningful connections with candidates and informing them of the next steps faster.

To give just some examples, in the beginning of the hiring process, AI can scan resumes and identify qualified candidates based on specific criteria set for the role.

This automated resume parsing saves recruiters valuable time and resources, allowing them to focus on engaging with the most promising candidates.

At the interview stage, AI takes over all the prep and follow-up work. This aspect is often overlooked, because current technology cannot handle unstructured data. AI, however, can understand unstructured data such as interviews and intake calls, and can process it and structure it, for further use.

For example, AI recruiters can join their human counterparts in intake calls with hiring managers, and prepare questions for candidates based on the manager’s input. Then, AI can join recruiters during interviews, listen in, take notes, and then summarize the candidate interviews or turn them into candidate profiles.

This makes it possible for both hiring managers and recruiters to make a decision faster and shortens the response time significantly, contributing to a better candidate experience.

Structured, fair interviewing

AI brings structure and consistency to the interviewing process. No more vague criteria or biased decision-making.

Implementing AI-supported standardized frameworks ensures fairness and objectivity, providing a better experience for active job seekers and enhancing the organization's ability to identify the best candidates.

For example, AI-powered tools can assist with pre-screening interviews and skills assessments, ensuring a consistent baseline for all candidates. Furthermore, AI can analyze interview data to identify potential unconscious bias in the selection process, promoting fairness and objectivity.

Candidates can showcase their skills in interactive ways, and recruiters get a better understanding of their potential. It's a win-win, saving time for both parties and making the interview process more insightful.

Accurate and engaging job descriptions

Artificial intelligence can ensure that job descriptions are compelling and accurate, with no effort required from the TA team.

After completing your intake call with a hiring manager, and discussing the ideal candidate profile, skills, and responsibilities, instead of meticulously writing a description from scratch, you can leverage AI.

An AI workmate can summarize the call, get the key details mentioned by the hiring manager, and turn them into a draft job description automatically. Then, it can forward you the proposed job description, so you can review and approve it.

Once approved, the AI recruiter can post the job opening on your preferred platforms. All this helps recruiters reclaim valuable time currently spent on drafting and revising job requisitions and descriptions.

AI ensures the advertised positions accurately reflect the actual requirements and responsibilities of the role, reducing mismatches and wasted applications, and providing a more positive candidate experience.

A human process from apply to hire

While AI is transforming recruitment with automation, data analysis, and admin takeover, the core aspects of the hiring process remain fundamentally human.

From the initial application to the final decision, the human element plays a critical role the different stages of the recruitment process, ensuring that organizations attract and select the best talent for their current and future needs.

It’s therefore safe to say that AI is not here to replace recruiters; instead, it's a powerful tool that empowers them. By automating repetitive tasks, AI frees up valuable time for recruiters to focus on the human aspects of recruitment.

Over to you

The rise of AI in recruitment marks an exciting new chapter. By leveraging AI's capabilities alongside the irreplaceable human touch of experienced recruiters, organizations can build a more powerful recruitment engine and better candidate experience.

With AI handling the heavy lifting of resume screening, interview followup, or job description drafting, recruiters can focus on building meaningful relationships with candidates and clients.

This synergy between AI and human expertise is the key to unlocking a future of recruitment that is both effective and human.

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