Implementing a Stellar Candidate Experience

Recruiting top talent is hard, especially in highly competitive markets such as Cyber Security, Cloud and RPA. We succeed in helping employers attract talent by focusing on the candidate experience from start to finish.

While there is a lot of content addressing candidate experience, most of it is centered around the importance of structuring a hiring process – which is critical – and a subject I’ve covered here. In this post, I’ll focus on additional nuances that impact the successful hiring.

Nuances Impacting the Candidate Experience

  • Appointing a candidate liaison.
  • Implementing a candid and direct approach.
  • Incorporating a consistent feedback loop.
  • Elevating the importance of the interview process.
  • Qualifying the match early and often.

Your Liaison is Key to a Successful Hiring Campaign

This isn’t number one by accident. I believe appointing a liaison translates to a successful candidate experience. Today, as is outlined in my post “Applying Buying Habits to Your Recruitment Strategy”, buyers of all kinds, including candidates, are clamoring for personalization and a focus on the post-sale (the interview process). The rapid embrace of automation tools for recruitment purposes literally contradicts the buyer’s (candidate’s) demand for personalized guidance.

In today’s market, companies are rushing to implement technology that will automate the candidate flow, which is fine, but as far as I know, there are no automated systems that replicate human empathy. Good recruiters aren’t only good because they can attract a candidate. Successful headhunters build trust and manage relationships with human beings as they make emotional, and sometimes, life altering decisions.

Enter the liaison. This person can be an HR representative, internal recruiter or 3rd party recruitment agency and would be responsible for guiding hiring companies and candidates through the full life cycle of the interview process.

  • Qualifying the match
  • Coordinating interviews
  • Communicating feedback between the hiring company and candidates
  • Participating in offer negotiations
  • Assisting with initial on-boarding efforts

Focus on Candor and Transparency

When recruiting, the goal is not to get as many bodies in the door as possible. The objective is to identify a match based on the needs of the hiring company and the career goals of target candidates. If a candidate’s qualifications meet the job requirements, it doesn’t automatically mean there is a match. Having a candid conversation around influencing factors, up front, is important.

  • Career Goals: A candidate’s current role may align with the position a hiring company needs to fill, but it needs to be determined that this is the path the candidate would like to continue on.
  • Life Style Preferences: Is the candidate willing to travel or report into an office v. working remote?
  • Timing: Are the conditions ripe for a candidate to leave their current company in a relatively short period of time?
  • Compensation: Does the candidate’s expectations line up with the hiring company’s budget?

These are a few examples of influencing factors that should be explored when initially determining a fit. Once the factors have been discussed, it’s important that there is a transparent discussion around these topics. And don’t be scared to call out discrepancies; it’s better to set expectations early and potentially lose the candidate than to have both parties invest time and realize it’s not a fit after going through the interview process. 

Implementing the Feedback Loop

Utilizing your liaison to communicate feedback between parties – hiring company and candidates – is uncompromisingly critical.

  • The liaison’s ability to obtain and share detailed feedback with candidates adds to their credibility and fosters an environment of trust. 
  • Once the liaison has gained the candidate’s trust by adding value to the hiring process, candidates are typically willing to be transparent about their thoughts. This allows for a free flow of candid communication.

The result of this free-flowing feedback loop is that expectations can be level set consistently throughout the interview process. Questions and concerns of both parties can be identified and addressed in real time as opposed to surprises coming up at the offer stage.

Elevate the Status of the Hiring Process

Too often the hiring process is an afterthought which leads to inefficiencies. This topic is covered extensively in my blog, “Is Your Hiring Process Properly Mapped Out?”. To improve the candidate experience, the hiring process for each open headcount should be mapped before commencing the search.

  • The perception that an interview process is dragging out can contribute to the loss of interest by a candidate.
  • Allowing your liaison to communicate the process early on provides candidates with a light at the end of the tunnel. 
  • It serves to ensure all members of the interview team are aligned on candidate qualifications and messaging. When candidates hear conflicting information from different interviewers, red flags are raised.

Don’t Stop Qualifying

Every conversation provides candidates with more color. It is critical your liaison communicates with candidates after every interview to ensure initial expectations align with their perception of the opportunity following the most recent discussion.

  • Based on the last conversation, do you feel this opportunity aligns with your career goals?
  • Is the travel/commute the interviewer outlined compatible with your lifestyle preferences?
  • Has anything changed that would impact your ability to resign from your current company in a relatively short period of time?

Because your liaison has built trust by providing candidates with feedback from the hiring company, they will be able to complete the feedback loop and ensure the expectations are being continuously level-set.

A Call to Action

While every candidate and each hiring scenario is unique, committing to delivering a stellar candidate experience could be the difference between a top performer joining your company or the competition. Contact us for more insight into how Pinpoint Search Group can help your firm attract and land tier-one talent.

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