mastering the candidate experience


By Chris Andrews – Managing Director

Don’t equate a good experience with an easy one

In a candidate short market, it is tempting to make the applicant process as easy as possible, and lower the bars to entry into your company. We feel this is a mistake, as it can undermine and dilute the value of your culture and purpose. so how do you attract and engage top talent in a comptoitive market, while simultaneously making the interview process at times difficult challenging.

Firstly, what do we mean by ‘the candidate experience’?

The candidate experience is an all encompassing term which simply means ‘how is your employer brand expressed throughout the talent acquisition funnel’. It should evolve at each stage of the talent funnel, but there comes a point where applicants should feel tested and have to put the work in to move through the process. So how do you challenge and test applicants in a candidate short market, without losing them? Here we look at some approaches to help with this tricky stage in the funnel.

Step one – Engage early with a clear Employee Value Proposition

The earlier and more consistently you present your EVP to potential applicants through Employer Branding; your candidates will be more motivated the more they understand your offering. So, the first step is to identify your target cohorts early and let them know why you are the best place to work LONG before you are actively hiring.

Step two – Get the Basics Right

Once applicants are in an active hiring process, every single contact point is an opportunity for you to shine and confirm that reputation. It can also be the opposite! Doing the simple stuff well cannot be underestimated and shouldn’t need to be said, but it is incredible how often we see unforced errors in the process. Applicants should feel ‘red carpeted’ in the simple things such as general communication, meetings, and interviews -all the low hanging fruit of the interview process.

Step three – Reinforce vision & purpose in your interviews

If your Employer Brand is properly aligned with your strategic goals, it follows that you are attracting appropriately motivated applicants. The interviews should be an extension of this vision – so hiring managers need to make sure they sell the company story, the long-term benefits of joining the team and impart a sense of purpose from being part of the journey.

Step four – Now you can test skill and commitment

At this stage, you hopefully have offered a clear employer brand, conducted a  faultless process to date, and engaged hiring managers who have clearly articulated the benefits of joining. Applicants should have a clear idea of what is on offer and why this is the place for them! At this stage you can start testing applicants – because now they see the value of working to get into the organisation, and why they need to work hard for it. If anything, the testing and challenging candidates can reinforce the value of joining.  So don’t fear putting people off – if they feel they are being thoroughly tested and screened for something they believe in, they will commit.

The candidate experience shouldn’t always be easy, but it shouldn’t be so full of hurdles that it feels like you’re banging your head against the wall. Candidates want to feel like they have ‘earned’ the job and that they know their purpose in the business.

We build, operate and improve talent acquisition funnels for growing companies. Contact us today to chat through our services.