Candidate Experiences – Part Two

Job Interview Cartoon

The first part of this article discussed getting into the right frame of mind: deciding to develop your candidate experience, and seeing it as more than just an interview process. It also looked at working with recruitment agencies to learn about the current state of your candidate experience. Here are some more tips on how to build an even stronger experience for the candidates who come into contact with your company.

Occupy candidates. If a candidate arrives early to an interview, or you are running behind schedule, have some literature or a tablet available. Always have your company website as the homepage, but don’t insist that the candidate preps up – let them browse the web or play a game. One thing to avoid is making candidates sit there uncomfortably with nothing to do.

Avoid repetition. With a good candidate experience comes a good interview strategy. If candidates go through more than one interview, be organised enough to not repeat anything. That means not covering the same topics more than once – it’s not only a waste of time, but annoying for the candidate too. Break interviews down into different sections with questions that are open-ended; poorly structured interviews are easy to spot and will leave you looking unprofessional.

Learn from candidates. Invest as much as possible during an interview. Just because the power balance is with the employer doesn’t mean you can’t learn from candidates. Try to extract something from each interviewee, whether that’s a passion, an idea, a career highlight. Perhaps the candidate is brimming with ideas that haven’t been put into practice yet. Maybe they’re proud of a recent piece of work. Whatever tact you take, find out what makes them feel proud and passionate, and learn about it. At worst, they won’t be passionate about anything – which probably reveals all you need to know. Be sure to confer thoroughly with your recruitment agency to discover as much as you can about your potential employees.

Teach candidates something too! Regardless if a candidate receives a job offer or not, be sure to leave them with a little piece of the company. By making a candidate more clued up than when they walked in, you create a memorable experience – which in turn creates invaluable PR.

Don’t be standoffish. Instead, be warm and transparent. Keep the conversation open and inviting. Encourage the candidate to ask questions – especially those which may concern them: team dynamics, dress code, social events, company growth and prospects. Just remain honest – if you can’t be honest about something, don’t pretend otherwise. Perhaps find someone who can answer their questions.

No undue influence. If candidates go through more than one interview, you need to ensure that the previous interviewer(s) don’t unjustly influence the later ones. But why is this so important? Well, for a few reasons. Firstly, going in with preconceptions isn’t productive; chances are, you will be looking for specific negative points. Secondly, it is better to have multiple points of view, not the same point of view multiple times. Finally, candidates can be nervous on their first interviews. Perhaps they didn’t manage to give it their best, or didn’t click with the first interviewer. Subsequent interviews are a chance for the candidate to put things right.