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How to Ensure a Smooth Candidate Experience Without (Digital) Hurdles

Over the past decade, many organizations have set themselves the task to put the customer first. But despite the battle for new talent on the job market, this principle doesn’t determine the way of thinking and acting during a recruiting process. Process digitization might help to turn the backlog into an advantage.

At the end of the first quarter, 334.000 people were unemployed in The Netherlands, 50.000 fewer than in the previous quarter. That is the biggest decrease registered by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) in this century. At the same time, the number of unfilled job vacancies has increased with 26.000 to no less than 245.000 vacancies. There is a war-on-talent, especially in sectors like trade, healthcare, education, ICT and technology and recently in the catering industry. 

New Talents Don’t Apply

Due to the corona pandemic the demand for new staff seemed to dry up. That fear hasn’t (yet) come true but the corona measures made it harder than ever to reach new talent. “As an employer, you have to facilitate candidates to contact you effortlessly throughout the entire process”, says Niels Buijs, product manager at “Use the channels they use, whether that’s WhatsApp, webchat or Facebook Messenger, as an organization you’ll have to adapt.”

His colleague Ruben Balfort states that today’s talents no longer apply in the traditional way. “they constantly receive job offers via LinkedIn. They want to inform themselves. They want to see and feel how an organization is functioning and what its vision and culture is, to see if they want to be a part of it.”


New talents are very mobile oriented, he continues. “They want to contact a company straightforwardly and online via their chosen channels to get to know more about that company. That is when the first selection takes place.” 

The employer can improve the candidate experience by using ATS software: Application Tracking System. A system like that ensures a smooth selection process after recruitment. The steps in the process are clear for the candidates and the follow-up after an interview is adequate. A good workflow, focused on the candidate’s experience, can even turn a rejection into a positive experience. “Companies that are using ATS are winning companies”, Buijs knows. 

cm-nielsNiels Buijs - Lead Product Marketing
Think about using a chatbot in the onboarding process.

Sign Documents Digitally

In the war-on-talent candidates should encounter as few obstacles as possible. That is also true during the process of signing a contract. “Especially during the covid pandemic, many interactions are online via Zoom or Microsoft Teams, instead of face to face. And then you ask a candidate to print and post a physical contract?!”

According to Buijs, that doesn’t add up. “Signing documents on paper is obsolete, expensive and time-consuming. It’s so easy to sign documents digitally and it’s all legally binding. It can really make a difference in the actual choice that a candidate makes, if they have received 2 offers: one in a fully digital environment and one that has to be printed out and sent in an envelope.”

Nine Hours Instead of Twelve Days

In addition to an employment contract, many other documents are suitable for digital signing such as car lease agreements, loan contracts for laptops, payroll tax reduction forms or training agreements. The benefits are obvious, for instance time-savings. “Practice has shown that digital signing saves 10 minutes per document,” says Buijs.

Even more important is the lead time for signing a contact. “The average of 12 days has been reduced to less than 9 hours. In many sectors, for instance health care, time is of the essence. Moreover, it reduces the chance of talent changing their mind before signing.”

cm-rubenRuben Balfoort - Product Marketer Sign
Cost savings are a decisive argument for digital signing.


Maandag, the secondment agency operating in the public sector, is solely using digital signing since December 2020. In Kirsten Soester’s experience it reinforces the image or the organization. “Professionals are quite happy signing and sending contracts digitally. And at the same time, we are contributing to the reduction of paper usage.”

In addition to saving space, digital signing has another advantage: fewer mistakes. There is an initial on each page and documents don’t get lost or end up in the wrong file. And if that isn’t enough, the costs will definitely help to make the decision, Balfoort knows, as he points out the costs for paper, printing, envelopes, postage and labor. “If you are completely digital and you use the proper software, you can save up to three quarters of the initial costs.”

A Digital Buddy

The next step is the period between signing the contract and the first day of work. “Many people experience that period as a gap”, Buijs says. “A lot of organizations could improve their onboarding process for instance with a chatbot, a sort of digital buddy. That way you can familiarize new employees with the company before their first day at work. You can deal with practicalities like collecting a leased car, arranging parking space, explaining which entrance can be used and setting up the first few meetings. But it could also be used to show a welcome video from the supervisor.”

Use the proper tools, is the final advice from Buijs. “Preferably one system that provides you with all you need, instead of multiple systems, otherwise it’s still not as efficient as it can be.”

This article has been written in collaboration with

Product Marketer for Sign. As product marketer the main tasks are understand the market, competition, trends and (potential) customers to help the product, marketing & sales teams to have the right product and message for the (potential) customers.

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