The “candidate experience” begins at the point where a person first becomes aware of a job opening with a company – the advertisement, the application process, the initial point of contact.  From that point on it is the job of the recruiter to build on that and make it consistently positive for all candidates.  Whether or not the candidate receives an offer, the perception of the company throughout the recruiting process can have a tremendous impact on future applicants and, inevitably, hires.  We need to remember that just because someone is not a fit for a particular position at the moment, doesn’t mean that down the road we may not need to revisit them.  In addition, candidates can, and hopefully will, connect us to others that may just be the right fit.  It is important for all candidates to walk away from the process with a good feeling about a company, regardless of the end result.

So, how do we make this happen?

Communication is definitely most important.  The process may take longer than planned, many times due to unforeseen circumstances.  It is important to keep the candidates updated as often as possible.  Even if there is no update, a quick note letting them know this (and also letting them know that they haven’t been forgotten) goes a long way.  In addition to the experience, keeping the candidates “warm” will help prevent them from looking elsewhere.

Those that aren’t going to be moved forward should be told as soon as possible.  There’s no need to string them along by giving them false hope. Providing specific feedback whenever possible is always helpful and appreciated, but providing them with closure is essential. Again, these candidates may be viable for positions later on.

It is important to remember “the Golden Rule” when thinking about the candidate experience.  “How would I want to be treated if I was looking for a job?” Word of mouth is one way of sharing feelings and experiences, but now with social media, it goes way beyond one’s own “inner circle”.  Social media can be very helpful when the feedback is positive, however it can also do some serious damage when feedback is negative.  Damage control can be a lengthy and expensive process, and can be avoided by following the above steps.

Next time you receive a new opening and/or fill a position, put yourself in the candidate’s shoes and rate yourself.

“How would you rate your candidate experience?”

By Laurie Mullins-Darcy | People Science Sr Talent Advisor