In a world where it’s harder than ever to recruit qualified talent, every interaction matters. From the research phase to the first phone call and every subsequent touchpoint, the candidate is interviewing you as much as you’re interviewing them.
83% of talent say a negative interview experience can change their mind about a role or company they once liked, while 87% of talent say a positive interview experience can change their mind about a role or company they once doubted.
With so much riding on this, we wanted to start a conversation around how those involved in the hiring process can partner together to build stronger, more impactful candidate experiences.
To learn more, we interviewed four recruiters on our team who speak to candidates every day about their experiences. Here’s what they said…
A good recruiting firm is a positive extension of your brand. They will be the first point of contact for your companies potential future employees. This is incredibly important as it sets the tone for the entire interview process. A good recruiting partner will be focused on making sure your company values and expectations are upheld through the process.
There are many things an agency can do to make the candidate’s interview process better like providing prep information before interviews, clear expectations for the interview process, taking detailed feedback post interviews, and being a negotiator for the candidate. All these things provide the candidate with a positive experience from the first interaction to their start date and beyond.
In all aspects of our lives, whether it’s choosing a specific product or brand, we evaluate the positives and negatives of our choice before making a decision. This should be the same with how companies and agencies choose to partner and we should be an extension of our partners. From initial outreach to onboarding, the candidate’s experience should come before all, making long-lasting relationships that extend far beyond the hiring process. We should strive to be a consultant to the candidate, helping them navigate their way through the, sometimes tedious, processes of their job search.
First impressions matter. We have just as much (if not more) say in how candidates FEEL about a company. The experience we create with the candidate can make or break what candidates think about an organization FOREVER. If a company is not selective / if a recruiter trashes the company, their reputation suffers forever.
We are tasked with taking a consultative approach to processes for both our candidates and clients. No matter who we are talking to, we must understand there is a direct impact on the process if we don’t go above and beyond. Whether it’s educating a company on improving processes to retaining better talent or preparing a candidate for an interview so they put their best selves forward – it’s on us to offer support on both ends.
We’ve all had poor experiences interviewing with companies. I try to think of ways to prevent candidates from leaving with a bad taste in their mouth as I have in the past. Sometimes it’s little things like making sure a candidate isn’t waiting alone in an interview room too long or it can be much larger like making sure the candidate has detailed information on how to enter the building, who to ask for, and who they will be interviewing with.
Timely feedback, following up during the discussed timeline, a consistent and laid out interview process are all things that aid greatly when looking to provide a great candidate experience. Day-to-day we can focus on making sure we are responsive to candidates and are keeping them as up-to-date with where they are in an interview process as possible.
I don’t think there’s a cookie cutter answer here. You could ask 100 engineers and get very different answers. My goal is to adapt to each individuals’ needs/wants and tailor my approach to set everyone up for success. “Ghosting” is a common word these days and I too often hear horror stories of recruiters disappearing on candidates. Communication is THE most important aspect of my day-to-day, making sure my candidates know I have their back.
I think it’s really about looking for FIT. Not trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. Honesty, being upfront, actually giving a shit about what they want and helping facilitate that, and/or acting as a consultant to help them see how they can get where they want to be. Often times that means telling people if they’re not qualified or it’s not a fit, at least not yet. We can’t always find everyone their dream job…but we can always remain honest and helpful.
As a recruiter, our job goes beyond identifying talent. I believe it’s my responsibility to have the candidate interview process streamlined so all they have to worry about is picking up a phone, showing up to an interview and signing an offer sheet. Whether it’s offering resume recommendations or game planning an outfit for an onsite, I want my candidates to feel like they have a partner on their side.
Be upfront. Give feedback and give feedback that’s as detailed as possible. Walk candidates through the interview process early. Provide detailed prep information and as much info on a company as possible. If there are delays, follow up. Ask them their preferred mode of communication. Essentially, treat them the way you would like to be treated in your job search.
Set expectations. I respect you and your time and need the same in return. Be straightforward and honest throughout. This is much more important than domain knowledge.
Put more time and effort into developing a connected experience. And, treat the candidate as if they were a friend or family member. Ask yourself, if this candidate was a close friend, how would I approach it?
Excel at following up. Make sure you don’t ghost and follow-up with past folks you’ve chatted with. Really make an effort in every way to transition from a transactional process to a long-term relationship.