7 Tips For A Signature Candidate Experience!


Last week, I went to meet a close friend of mine, who came to Bangalore for a work related travel. To save time, I went up to her office and waited for her to wrap up the meeting before we head out. She, being a charmer, ensured I am taken care of. As I was sipping the hot beverage, I observed a smartly attired professional approaching the lounge area and practically yelling, “Excuse me! Would you all please mind filling up this form?” For a moment I was befuddled, however I recouped and quipped, “Good Evening to you too! Do you mind explaining the context?” She enquired, “You’re here for an interview, right?”  With a smile on my face I nodded, and she walked away without saying anything at all.

My first thought – not really a place I would like to ever get interviewed at or would be inclined to work! But then, I was jumping the gun as I was not a real candidate. Candidates are desperate for jobs – aren’t they? If you agree, stop reading this as I may be wasting your time.

Your candidates are not desperate. They are looking for the right fit to work, in the same way employers are and they deserve to be treated with respect. I was not even a candidate but after the negative experience I would not recommend that anyone work there either. The awkwardness, lack of warmth, uninterested approach accentuates the recruiter’s lack of sensitivity towards the candidates and the inability of the TA Leader to uphold the brand’s integrity. Yes, I am holding the TA Leader responsible.

But why does it matter? According to Talent Board Data – 41% of applicants who have terrible candidate experiences (rating them one out of five stars) say they’ll take their loyalty and money elsewhere. But for candidates with five-star experiences, 64% say they would like to maintain their relationship with the employer—even if they didn’t end up getting the job. We need to understand, it’s a candidate driven market out there – “You don’t pick the talent anymore. Talent picks You!”

Candidate experience is the level of respect and quality interaction you provide with every single communication, to every hire, every single day.

The candidates today have more power during a job search. The smarter organizations now understand the paradigm shift and are investing in systems that enable instant, real-time updates and access to information about their job applications on apps rather than relying on practices that are slow, obsolete and unfavorable to candidates. Candidate experience is a critical factor in the battle for top talent. There has to be good reason for a candidate to pick you – to pick the experience”, to pick being valued and above all – to pick where they would like to work. When was the last time you dined at a restaurant where you felt unwelcome?

Ensuring signature candidate experience is a difficult process as it is an outcome of one or many interactions. The key is to empower your recruiters, enable your managers and create a culture which is relentlessly obsessed with it. I am sharing few tips here to help you start thinking in that direction:


Build a relationship:

It is imperative to do a deep dive into the concept and build a relationship, first with the person, then the profile and then link the two. This will help you see them as unique entities and not just another applicant in your queue. You have to learn to listen. This would be the most imperative step in any aspect of communication. Treat each candidate as your first – treat them like your guests!

Be approachable:

Make it a conversation, a dialogue, not just a question and answer session. It helps the candidates reveal more about themselves, both in terms of aptitude and attitude and will help you understand the candidate better. Here’s a tip – How do talk to your friends? Just do the same here.

Consistent communication:

This is a critical factor in the battle for top talent. You need to act as top talent to attract likewise.  94% recruiters agree that they are better able to bring high potential people on board and hit their hiring goals when they prioritize their candidate experience by keeping candidates informed at all stages. When you’re scheduling an interview, go the extra mile and append an agenda/itinerary of what the day is going to look like, give out a little more information about who the candidate will be meeting with and what role do they play in the organization. Call the prospect as soon as you’re able to send out the offer letter. If the process is taking longer than you’d like (hey, it happens all the time) keep people in the loop on what’s going on and why there is a holdup. It takes small things like these to change the candidate experience for the better.

Respect the candidate’s time:  

This is really important! With the way technology has progressed, we would certainly choose a good food delivery app over another if it gives out insight into how many steps are left before the order is placed, if it reflects where exactly is your food in the cooking and delivery process and exactly in how much time should you expect it to be at your doorstep! Candidates want that too. We all want that, don’t we?

Less is (not always) more:

This doesn’t really apply in this situation. You have to think and go beyond just the careers website and the run-of-the-mill interviewing application process. Think about all of the other ways people might hear about you as an employer – like the social platforms, the reviews on Glassdoor and word of mouth (from their friends and contacts) et al. Ensure that you are investing time, effort and money to make the impact happen.

Closure is appreciated:

Specifically for candidates, you’re rejecting, let them know that you won’t be moving their candidature forward. According to the Talent Board, only 20% of candidates receive an email notifying them they are not being considered.  Increase your chances of standing out in the crowd.  It’s the candidates who don’t make it through that are bound to recommend/speak of your brand more than the ones who actually do.

Moment that matters:

Examine and observe the layers of the candidate lifecycle and filter the ones in which they really look to seek information/inspiration/why they should work for your organization. The moment where you add value, is the moment you win!  Keep refining and relooking at the process to understand what is really needed.

At the end of the day, we need to be convinced that nothing we do is more important than hiring the right person and the experience we provide while we do so. The bet is and will always be on the right people – nothing more, nothing less! I had a great time with my friend but that organization lost me as a candidate. At least for now!

“Everyone you interview is going to talk about you – a great candidate experience should be your top priority.”


Our Guest Blogger:

Mr Khalid Raza -Director Talent, Altisource

Ms Shalina Khemlani, Manager HR, Altisource

Edited by: Vanitha Poojary, Digital Strategist, Netiapps


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