Thoughts on Candidate Experience

Everyone’s talking about it and everyone is doing it – whether it’s a positive or a negative one, candidate experience is a part of every recruitment process.

Whether you are a sourcer or an end-to-end recruiter, you have the responsibility to represent your employer and, as it has been widely discussed, your efforts will have an impact on your future candidate pool as well as the customer base of the company.

But candidate experience has a much more immediate effect and one that is probably more important to those in recruitment. How you treat the candidates, how you address them and prepare them for the process is a very important factor when it comes to the candidates’ performance.

Imagine this: a recruiter approaches a candidate who has never really considered joining their company before, but instead of providing the candidate with some information on what the company does and what the role would be, the recruiter immediately quizes the candidate on his or her motivation. Have you ever done that? Or maybe you have experienced it as a candidate?

Providing a great candidate experience is not just about respecting your candidates as professionals and giving them a reason to enter and stay in the recruitment process (too many recruiters think that once a candidate applies they no longer need to sell the employer!), but it’s also about giving the candidate a chance to show who they really are and what they can offer once hired.

So it is up to you to make the candidate feel comfortable enough for him or her to be able to show to the company that he or she is indeed the right candidate for the job. Not only do you need to brief the candidate on what is going to happen next in the process but also on whatever it is that could potentially be a surprise for them given their background.

This is why it is so important to get to know your candidate before the initial screen (or in case of a passive candidates – before the approach). You want to find as much information as possible about the candidate before you speak to them to make sure you are not wasting their time and then confirm this information once you are on the phone with them. This way you will be able to pleasantly surprise the candidate with how much effort you put into reaching out to them – too many recruiters take candidates for granted once they reply to an approach and share their phone number or CV.

Let’s take an example: you are looking for someone to join a large corporation and you know that the environment is quite formal. You are of course looking for someone who will fit that particular culture. In order to do that you will probably reach out to potential candidates who currently work in a similar environment, but also those who work in a completely different one – the fact that the position available is with a large corporation may just be the selling point they will be looking for. But in order to give your candidates the right experience, you will inform them about the company culture in an early stage conversation. This will allow the candidate to prepare for the rest of the recruitment process: choose the right clothes, vocabulary and attitude.

A candidate who shows up at an interview unprepared, especially if it’s not because of his or her own neglect, can’t really enjoy the rectuitment process. So rather than assume that the candidate is going to learn everything they need to know in order to be successful in the process on their own, it’s better to really support them in their preparation. You may just find it’s the best strategy to get the right people in front of the hiring manager.

Social Recruiting geek turned trainer @ Lightness, networking enthusiast & blogger. Love travel, sci-fi & all things employer branding! I travel between London and Poland a lot and so some of my social posts will be in Polish :)

4 thoughts on “Thoughts on Candidate Experience”

  1. - April 23, 2014 12:17 pm

    Thanks for the post Kasia,

    I agree with you on all of your points. I must admit the key thing I try to do when attracting talent is to create a open, friendly and trustful demeanor when talking to candidates. After all, we called them, they don’t have to talk to us.

    With regards to the candidate experience, there are so many different versions of what this is. I guess the best practice is to treat your candidates the way you would like to be treated.

    It just seems like a good way to work.


  2. Kasia Borowicz - April 23, 2014 12:42 pm

    Thank you for the comment Ralph :)

    I guess it’s all very basic stuff and there is a lot of similar posts out there. At the same time there are still recruiters out there who really don’t care for the candidate experience, it’s as if they don’t understand what recruitment is all about.

    I have once been approached by a recruitment manager and asked in that very approach call why it was I wanted to join their company. I didn’t. As simple as that – and more often than not it’s the company that misses out on a great opportunity, not the candidate.

  3. Martin Freeman - July 29, 2014 12:11 pm

    The cost of giving a candidate a bad experience to B2C organisation like ours can have a massive impact to the companies bottom line. They are unlikely to join us in the first place, but next unlikely to purchase from us in the future and worse still will tell all theirs friends and family. If you think about how many people we are in contact with on a monthly/yearly basis, the potential loss of revenue could be mind boggling. Gives food for thought to a HM.

    1. Kasia Borowicz - July 29, 2014 2:41 pm

      Hi Martin, couldn’t agree more. And yet we keep repeating this and so little changes. When I first started sourcing 2 years ago the main topics of debate among recruiters included social media, candidate experience and going mobile – that hasn’t really changed and most recruiters still do what they used to. I wonder how much time it will take to stop just talking about it and really do something?


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