Basics, Not Bells, Create Great Candidate Experiences

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Dec 21, 2020

Having been a recruiter for more than a decade, one may expect that I have mastered the role. Yet I keep learning. Since the nature of the work involves people, and the fact that people are unpredictable, years of experience don’t necessarily mean a flawless execution of the recruiting process all the time. I’ve learned that to achieve a good candidate experience, I must adhere to some tried and true basic recruitment practices.

There’s nothing revolutionary about the practices that I’m about to cite. And that’s the point. So often in our field, we hear consultants, vendors, and any number of experts preach about new and supposedly innovative ways of doing our work. The continual noise of bells and whistles can easily drown out what matters most in our profession when it comes to a great candidate experience.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with trying to elevate our profession — so long as we remember what the foundation of it when interacting with candidates. Unfortunately, some people forget. So here’s a reminder.

Prepare for Interviews for More Than Five Seconds

Especially when carrying a heavy requisition load, it’s easy to neglect the sacred recruiting principle that you should prepare for an interview. Never underestimate preparation time before an interview with a candidate. Learn not only about their skills and qualifications but something else that is spelled out in their resume that could be a nice ice-breaker. (And don’t forget to review their LinkedIn!) After all, candidates (the good ones, anyway) have taken time to learn and research your company and even possibly spy on you on social media. It is a sure guarantee to make the candidate feel special that you took the time to really get to know their background. It also helps to remember to “smile while you dial,” which goes a long way toward positively influencing your tone and posture during your conversation.

Make It a Conversation, Not an Interrogation

Create connections through conversations. Ask probing questions to further dig into people’s qualifications, interests, and motivations to have a more fluid interview. A conversational style often reveals much more about candidates and their fit outside of what is written on their resumes. Moreover, candidates will feel more at ease and less intimidated about the process.

Get Back to Candidates, Like You Promised

More often than not, a question or two about the role will come up during the interview to which you as a recruiter will not have an answer. Always get back to the candidate once you have the answer. You might even pick up the phone to do this! Because even in today’s digital age, candidates appreciate the personalization of a phone call.

Communicate All the Details

Before beginning the interview, provide candidates as much detail of the recruitment process as possible, such as next steps, interview format, interviewer’s job title, salary range (if applicable), decision timeline, and method of communication. There is no such thing as over-communicating. Candidates always appreciate knowing where they stand in the process.  

I’m passionate about recruiting. I enjoy the challenges each requisition presents and the opportunity to continually learn about people, industry, roles, etc. Practicing some of the basic principles helps ensure an overall positive experience for the candidates. Sure, hiring new talent can try your patience and can be demanding, but it is always gratifying knowing you’ve given a candidate a positive experience — regardless of whether they land the job. 

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