The Candidate Experience You Can’t Control….



My theory on candidate experience is: No matter if successful or not, all candidates should go away with a positive experience with your business. Just remember, all candidates could potentially be a customer either now or in the future for your business.

In my previous role I was an agency recruiter. I had control over how my client’s brands were represented and I did my utmost to make them appear professional. I certainly made sure any candidate I spoke to where an employer name was mentioned had an amazing experience (whether my client was giving that or not!) and feedback and contact was exceptional. However, with my move into internal recruitment I can’t always control all candidate experiences with our business. I would call us almost at a “start up” phase. We need things done well, and done quickly. Currently a lot of our senior roles (including mine) report directly to Australia. Recently I have had to recruit for two positions where the manager was not based in NZ and the experience those candidates received has been completely different.

The first manager is timely, responsive and has given particularly good feedback. They are always on time with phone interviews and VC meetings and they turn things around very quickly. Currently they are in a position where they have two exceptional candidates who are committed to joining our business and they need to make a choice between the two! Even those who have been unsuccessful have thanked me for mine and the Managers time saying they enjoyed the process. The second manager is slow to respond, leaves candidates waiting and hardly keeps to pre-arranged phone interview and VC times. The candidate experience for one in particular was quite negative when they had re-arranged their day to take a call that never came. Those who are unsuccessful or are not progressed tend to come away negative and even slightly down.

While I have buy in from both managers and both roles are critical to our ongoing success, the interactions I have had with the two different groups of candidates has been startling. As a new employee you want to feel valued, you want to feel like you belong – not that the process was so dragged out that we felt like we had to hire you. And as an unsuccessful candidate you still want to have positive interactions with an employer.


I once remember reading a study based on customer experience – for a bad experience with a company a person will tell 27 people. For a good experience they will only tell 5. That’s a lot of good experiences you need to make happen to counter act a bad one. My suggestion? Don’t have bad ones.

I would love to know your thoughts on how you manage this in your internal or external recruitment roles! Comments welcomed.