Six Critical Approaches to a Good Candidate Experience

Being a recruiter, I sometimes think we lose sight of what it is like to be on the other side of the recruitment desk. We sometimes forget what it is like being a candidate. Personally, I think one of the key components of being a great recruiter is being empathetic. I try to put myself in the candidate shoes: Imagine the stress someone may be under to find a job and quickly! The wonder of why no one is calling about a job, whether you passed an assessment? Will you get an interview? That being said, I try to operate my daily life as a recruiter as if I were the candidate. Here are a few simple ways that I personally try to positively impact the experience of my candidates:

I review incoming applications daily. I know you’re thinking: “what does this have to do with the candidate experience?” Well first, there is a lot of stigma around “online applications” if you read around LinkedIn, Glassdoor, etc. you will find many a candidates who feel that applying online, their application is “lost in a black hole somewhere”. By reviewing my applicants in a timely matter, I am able to give them an answer, or at least an idea of next steps. If I am interested, then I will reach out to them for next steps. If not, then they will get the regret email, which is of course not pleasant but at least advising on their status. Lastly, I get a lot of positive feedback from my candidates about how quickly I reach out to them. They are impressed that I have taken the time to read their credentials and reach out to them quickly.

If there is an online assessment that is a part of your process; don’t just send the assessment. I personally feel that it is so impersonal to just send a candidate an assessment with no initial outreach what so ever. I completely understand that when you have a full work bench it can be very hard to pick up the phone and call every candidate. That being said, if you’re not able to reach out to them phone, at the very least send them a personalized email about the assessment.  This way, you can identify why you’re sending it, tips, etc. This will at least make them feel that there is a human connection.

Give your candidates options!  Most of our candidates are working and can’t always answer a phone call or email. We find that they are answering after hours and then there more missed calls and back and forth with emailing trying to schedule a time to speak. It can be very time consuming for both parties. I personally like to call my candidates. If I do not reach them by phone I will leave a voicemail and let them know I am following up via email with a scheduling link where they can conveniently schedule a time to speak with me. From there, I send my follow up email that has all of my contact information, a nice introduction, as well as a link to my scheduling site that will allow them to schedule a time that is convenient for them. I also give them the option of reaching out to me if they are not able to find a time that suits their schedule or if my schedule is booked (I will find a slot for them)

Make the interview comfortable! It is stressing enough to go into an interview, but in my opinion, it is even more nerve-wracking to talk to someone on the phone. It is like talking to the Wizard of Oz behind the screen. You can’t gauge their interest or reaction to your answers, etc. I do my very best to put my candidates at ease by being friendly and warm. I also start the interview off by giving them a step by step understanding of how the process is going to work. From there I will go into the specifics of the job, take interest in their experience and gently go ahead with the behavioral part of the process.

Don’t hang up the phone until you know they are comfortable and prepared. Once you’ve completed your phone interview save time for the candidate to ask questions. Direct them to the best places to go to further prepare for the interview. Encourage them to “do their homework”. Also, do not be shy about giving them advice on how they can better themselves for the next interview. If they struggled with answering the behavioral questions, provide them with feedback on how to be better prepared. Did they give to long of an answer? To short? Etc.

Communicate, communicate, and communicate!  I cannot say this enough. The most important job of the recruiter is to communicate. From all stages of the process, be open and frequent with your communication. If you do not feel they are a fit or if they are not within compensation range, speak to them about it. Let them know where they are in the process and what to expect next. If there is a lull in the process, reach out to them often so that they don’t feel forgotten. Provide the candidate feedback on how they can further improve their interviewing style, resume, etc. Communicate with them on all levels so they feel involved, engaged, prepared and heard.

If your interviewed candidate is not getting the job, please pick up the phone and call them. Getting the news is hard enough but getting it via a standardized email is going to tarnish their outlook not only on you the recruiter but the company you’re representing. I know that it is not an easy conversation to have, but trust me, most candidates are grateful you cared enough to pick up the phone and call them personally.

I feel like I am only scratching the surface on this topic! There are so many ways to further ensure that you’re providing a positive impact on the candidate’s experience. If I could recommend only one thing it would be communication from the time an application is put in until that candidate is hired. Communicate with them, let them know the steps and most importantly let them know you’re there. After all, you are a career concierge and you are here to give candidates an outstanding experience.



By |2018-08-24T13:05:37+00:00March 20th, 2017|Categories: Opinion|1 Comment

About the Author:

Angel Ortiz is based out of Lutz, Florida and has been with the PeopleScout organization as a recruiter since March of 2016. Angel has been in the recruiting industry for 17 years and has gained invaluable experience working in the RPO industry supporting many types of clients and organizations.

One Comment

  1. Bradley Baker March 21, 2017 at 10:25 pm - Reply

    Good article Angel. All points are on target. Thanks for sharing.

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