Reminders of good HR practice: candidate experience

Anthony Haynes

Anthony Haynes writes: Today we begin a new, monthly series, of posts dealing with key issues in talent acquisition.

The series is inspired by the well-known quotation from Dr Johnson, that we “more frequently require to be reminded than informed“. Rather than showcase novel ideas, our aim here is to be provide accessible reminders of what works.

Our first topic is candidate experience. We choose this because so often one hears of candidates having poor experiences — something that usually is readily avoidable.

Why poor experiences arise

The causes of poor candidate experience are not difficult to pinpoint. Nobody takes responsibility. There’s a lack of attention to detail. There’s a lack of empathy: nobody on the employer’s side considers how the experience will look when seen through candidates’ eyes.

And there may even be arrogance: ‘We’re not responsible for candidates and they should be grateful to be offered an opportunity [to be interviewed, for example]!’

Why this matters

Poor candidate experience matters for two reasons. First, ethics: candidates are human beings. Nothing about their decision to apply for a job should require them to be subjected to inconsiderate treatment. They have a right to expect respect and courtesy.

Second, employment branding. Candidates who have a poor experience are unlikely to apply again to the same employer. And they are likely to draw inferences: if that’s how they treat candidates, I hate to think how they treat their employees!

And they’re likely to tell other people.

Good practice

Here are three resources highlighting good practice.

First, our case study concerning the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE). This covers a great test case — how to ensure that even an unsuccessful candidate comes away with a sense of positivity.

The case study is here.

Second, a concise case from another talent company, namely People Mentality. The case is here.

And third our how-to guide, which is Part III of our ‘Key stages in talent acquisition‘ guide, available here.


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