5 Ways to Win the Candidate Experience

Steve Lowisz
The experience you create for a candidate is extremely important. Creating a positive experience is how you will bring them to the finish line, be considered for their future career moves, and to gain other candidate referrals. Who knows, a candidate that gets hired may even develop into a future client if you leave the right lasting impression!

So, how can you win the candidate experience?

1.   Pay Attention to the Details

Extra attention to detail goes a long way. For example, one of our recruiters had a candidate traveling out of state for an interview with a client. Once the candidates’ plane landed at 10:30pm, the recruiter made sure to touch base. All the recruiter sent was a simple text reiterating the hotel confirmation, car rental information, and to reach out to their cell phone should they need anything.

Although the candidate already had this information somewhere in an email before traveling, they voiced how impressed they were that the recruiter went the extra mile to make sure they were all set.

Your job is to make candidates feel supported throughout the recruitment process. Communication shouldn’t slow down once the candidate is on their way to an interview. It’s comforting to know that their recruiter is with them every step of the way. Look out for those moments where you can provide extra support.

2.   Put Yourself in the Candidate's Shoes

By putting yourself in their shoes, you can change the relationship dynamic for the better.

For instance, when you cold call a candidate for the first time, they are bound to be wary talking to a stranger. Think about it from their perspective and level with them by being transparent and real. Perhaps you can begin your call with “Hey, I understand you already have a job. My name is ___, I’m a recruiter and I saw some of your background information on your LinkedIn. I’m not asking for you to jump ship, I’m just asking for a brief conversation with you.” This honesty is likely to help bring their walls down as you are immediately demonstrating empathy for their situation.

Keep their perspective in mind throughout the rest of the process as well. This way, they won’t be struggling in any scenario they might be faced with. Like dealing with counteroffers from their current employer when they attempt to put their 2-weeks in. You want them to be knowledgeable and comfortable by preparing them for any situation they might not know how to handle.

3.   Meet with Every Candidate

When someone is a stranger, they are easy to ignore, dismiss, or forget. Successful recruiters build memorable connections with their candidates. Therefore, it can be beneficial to meet with your candidates via video chat or in person.

Getting to know someone and building trust becomes a lot easier when you can see their face. Your candidates will have the opportunity to connect with you as a real person rather than just an anonymous voice on the other end of the line.

As a bonus, you’ll likely gain a better understanding of the candidate as an individual yourself!

4.   Work Closely with Clients and Hiring Managers

If your clients and hiring managers offer you to sit in on their interviews, take that opportunity!

The more familiar you are with clients and hiring managers, the better you can prepare your candidates on what to expect when they meet them. Take notes on their interview style. Some managers are very laid back and conversational in their interviews. Others are very direct and formal.

Interviews are often a nerve-racking experience for people. Outlining what to expect will allow your candidate to get in the right headspace before their interview and put their best foot forward. They’ll be able to form strong questions and talking points beforehand that aligns with the interviewer’s style.

Even if you aren’t sitting in on interviews, work closely to observe their interactions with others and gain a sense of how they operate.

5.   Keep in Touch 

Just because a candidate isn’t interested or it’s (seemingly) not the right time, doesn’t mean you should go silent.

For example, one of our recruiters had found a stellar candidate that turned out to be on maternity leave. Rather than seeing this as a deterrent, the recruiter saw an opportunity. They thought, “I have got to talk to her because this is a prime time… she’s not tied up with other work, she’s at home.” After connecting and messaging through LinkedIn, the conversation went really well – so well that the recruiter and the client kept in touch with the candidate the entire time she was on maternity leave, waited until she was off, and hired her.

You should also prioritize long-term relationships with candidates. Stay in touch even after they’ve landed the job, you never know what career moves they will make in the future. Or even if they weren’t the right fit for whatever position you had at the time, they may be perfect for another role on a different project. It’s not their responsibility to check in with you, it’s your responsibility to check in with them.

The Result...

By using these five tips, you will build a network of candidates who trust and respect your judgement. Projects will become easier when you already have an awesome pool of people you can call upon for consideration or referrals. You will solidify your reputation as an expert recruiter. Set yourself up for success and win the candidate experience!