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  • Piret Saag

Give a Poor Experience and Lose the Candidates Before They Even Apply

When did you last put yourself in your candidate's shoes? Do you ever discuss with your team about the way the candidate experience affects your talent pool and the company image? Word of mouth is powerful and if you care about not losing the candidates before they even apply, you don’t want to stumble here.



What’s right in front of you in a time of need is what you will definitely remember


All the people who have applied to you, who you interview once or take even several steps further in your hiring process will never forget about several things.

  • They will never forget the e-mail or call they got from you to invite you to the interview (or not ever hearing back from you).

  • They will never forget the weather on that day they stepped into your office.

  • They will never forget the smell at the lobby and who came to greet them first.

  • They will never forget how it felt chatting there with you.

  • They will never forget how nervous they were and what they should have and could have said instead of x, y, z.

  • They will never forget how you sent them off and if they ever heard back from you at all.



So do you know what kind of candidate experience you're offering right now?


Do you think you know or you actually have data to back it up? I know Fortumo does and has a regular practice in place to collect and learn from that data both from rejected candidates and newly hired team members. Out of the companies in Estonian tech scene I pinged, couple of others also make sure they get this kind of feedback. Several ask just from their newbies. And it seems for the majority the way their candidates get treated during the hiring process and actually collecting data about it is still an untouched field.



But how to get that data?


Well, just ask the candidates you’ve turned down via a simple survey.

Couple of questions is all you need here to measure the experience and get hold of problems you’d want to remove. Keep it very short and to the point to ensure people actually bother to take the minute or two to share their thoughts.

  • Net Promote Score-type of an assessment question on a 4-point scale is a good one to start with:

Would you refer others to apply to work for this company?

1 = “I would go out of my way to discourage others from applying to this company.”

4 = “I would go out of my way to encourage others to apply to this company.”

You’d be interested in the percentage of 1s (the negatives) and 4s (the positives) here, 2-3 won’t get counted. By subtracting the percentage of 1s from the percentage of 4s you get the score.

  • But what is of more practical use - always elicit open comments.

Ask about whether any part of their experience with your hiring process stood out to them as particularly positive?

As well as whether any part of their experience was negative and what would they recommend improving.



When reviewing the results


  • Seek out what are you doing well. What do candidates bring out here as positives and things you want to keep? Too often we forget to celebrate what’s great :)

  • What negative aspects were mentioned more than once and you notice a pattern? Is your hiring flow way too long and it takes ages to hear back from your recruiter? Did certain interviewers come off as unprepared? Now identify the changes you should make and just go for it!


Remember, everything but weather conditions during the day your candidate stepped in is in your own hands. And all people involved in hiring are your ambassadors. Rejected candidate may become someone you want to hire in the future. Or they have talented friends who they can recommend to you. With the simple act of asking for feedback you’re much closer to being sure you’re offering the candidate the experience you’re absolutely proud of and can win over the talent you want.


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