Building Teams: Enable a Quality “Candidate Experience” When Recruiting

If you want to attract great people over years in the sales or SaaS community then you have to offer and enable a quality and very professional “Candidate Experience” that puts your brand image in a positive light.  It’s a “small world” out there and people talk about companies and their experiences interviewing with companies – you want the kind of a brand that attracts good candidates to interviews.


But what exactly is a “Candidate Experience” – here is how Namely defines it:

  • “In it’s most simple definition, it is how job seekers perceive your brand throughout the hiring process. From job description through final offer, the candidate experience influences how prospective employees feel about you as an employer. Is the process easy and comfortable? Or is it difficult and frustrating? Their experience will not only inform whether or not they take the job, but also how they portray the company to their network of other prospective talent.


There are too many companies whose Candidate Experience ranks very low.  Here are the typical issues which are pervasive but are so simple to fix, very low hanging fruits to differentiate your company from others when recruiting Talent:

  • Ambiguity and lack of any information upfront about the interview process or timing or whom the candidate will be meeting
  • When candidate sends a “Thank You” email (and this alone says a lot about the candidate with good professional etiquette since so many, in my experience, don’t even send you an appreciation for meeting them) then they don’t get any response from the interviewer. That’s a bad etiquette on the company’s interviewer and doesn’t look good on the company.
  • No answer after the interview at all, not even from HR, or the company takes several weeks to respond without at least setting any expectation about the timeline. This is just really bad – it takes 5 minutes to write a candidate “Thank you for coming and we will get back to you within 2 weeks”. The person made time to come and see you in person, the least you can do is be courteous and respectful of them if you want candidates out there to respect your company and rate it well on Glassdoor. The word does get around.
  • There are many other issues like, when the candidate comes in, nobody offers them water/coffee or doesn’t treat them with a warm welcome.  Why then invest so much time and so many resources in recruiting if simple courteous etiquette can’t be offered.
  • And there are bigger picture ones that when you are going through a recruiter and especially when you are interviewing a senior executive then you need to align with the recruiter that you will be the one directly responding with feedback to the executive.  It makes you look amateur if you give feedback through the recruiter. Senior executives are accomplished people and this is a small world – you don’t want to come off to them like you can’t handle giving direct feedback to them especially if you decide not to go forward.  As busy as you are, you must keep in mind that the candidate (whether senior or not) also made the time to come meet with you – it’s bad etiquette to treat their time as less valuable than yours.  When I interview people, I always make it a point to treat them with the utmost courtesy and respect their time – I communicate with them directly (although I will CC recruiters on feedback, etc.) and make myself available for a followup if necessary. This has actually been a boon and a very high ROI as I’ve maintained good relationships with many such candidates and hired some at a later time when the fit was right. Just very recently (one such candidate whom I didn’t hire a few years ago) reached out on LinkedIn and said he still wants to find a way to work together – and we only met each other when I interviewed him.  I know I will eventually recruit this person when the relevant role will open up at some future point.

The bottom line is that you can fix this and the good word about your company will get around.  But a bad Candidate Experience harms your company’s brand and today the word really does get around (to recruiters who will pass it around to other people, on LinkedIn, among friends in the industry, etc.)

What else?  What are some other thoughts on creating a good Candidate Experience?