Hire The Right Way: Create A Positive Candidate Experience #thecandidate

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Creating A Positive Candidate Experience

We spend so much time focusing on finding the right candidate for the position that we fail to consider the candidate experience during the hiring process.  As a recruiter or hiring manager, have you been on the other side of the table lately?  This past summer, I decided to find out in six weeks what the current hiring practices were within various organizations.  The experience included the good, the bad, and the ugly.  What I titled The Sherlock Holmes project was an incredible way to find out how effective competitors, along with other industries, are treating their prospective candidates.  The following are 3 common practices I found in highly effective hiring teams and why every company should implement them into the companies recruitment process.

Perfect Communication Skills

One of the most effective ways to increase the likelihood of a positive candidate experience  is for the interviewer to have strong verbal and nonverbal skills.  Especially, the ability to say without words to the candidate, we are interested in what you have to say today in this interview.  The interviewee is receiving 65% feedback from the interviewer through body signs.  The best way to increase the skills of your recruiting and hiring managers is to have each one video themselves in order to study their own body signs.  This will allow them the opportunity to see if they are holding eye contact too long (aggressive), crossing arms or tapping pencil on table (bored, disinterested), turned away from interviewee (disrespect), or frowning (prejudice).  These are considered intentional and unintentional body signs.  If your team can perfect these skills, they will be able to build a strong team and send very positive messages to each candidate.

Respect The Candidate

Any form of aggressive conversation produces a very negative image of the interviewer and the company.  Do you know how effective your recruiters and hiring managers are with creating a positive experience for the candidate during the interviewing process?  How are the candidates responding to each one?  Are they leaving the experience with an overall satisfied view of your company?  If an individual exits an interview with a bad taste in their mouth from one of your employees, the branding of your company will be significantly diluted.  We live in a well-connected society with access to thousands, even millions, of potential employees and customers at our fingertips.  All it takes is for a couple individuals to say, “That company has some really unkind individuals working for them.  I really would not recommend taking a job there!”  The old saying, “treat others the way you wish to be treated”, should be a characteristic requirement within recruiting and hiring teams.

Say My Name!

The best way to ensure a good candidate experience is to make certain to say the candidates name throughout the interviewing process.  This will make the candidate feel considered and welcomed, it will ensure that the interviewer is providing 100% focus during the interview, and it will relax the atmosphere for a more collaborative interviewing experience.  Saying a person’s name during the interview encourages listening, generates a sense of value added response, and validates the candidates existence rather than being considered a number .  The most effective hiring teams understand the psychology behind speaking names.  They are winning the candidates faith and loyalty, along with strategically generating a positive brand in their company name in the process.

My experience with the candidate experience

One experience I would like to share with you occurred with a company that interviews thousands of candidates each year.  After this experience, I quickly made the above 3 practices a top priority with implementing in current recruitment practices.  And, the experience left me feeling extremely grateful for the people I work with on a daily basis.  I call this interviewing practice Lord of the Stinks.  If you wish to keep a strong company brand, don’t try this practice at work.

Lord of the Stinks experience:  Upon entering the board room, the discussions began and within minutes, I witnessed a recruiter frown and verbally snap at me for asking a question she thought had already been answered.  Then, I was sent to the second floor alone to meet with the hiring managers.  Once again, the receptionist frowned as if she was being bothered and asked that I take a seat.  One of the hiring managers was very professional, but the other, discussed personal information in a very condescending manner.  Finally, I met with the panel interviewers with one frowning the entire time, another interrupting my answers, and another checking her watch every few seconds.  The overall experience made me realize how company interviews should be conducted only by a highly effective recruiting team of professionals.

In thinking about your hiring process, I would like to leave you with these final thoughts; a potential candidate will spend less than 30 seconds determining whether to apply to your company.  The decision is based on how well your company has branded itself over the years.  The potential candidate should be thought of as the ‘keeper of the flashlight’.  Who will shine the light on your company?  I place my bet on the candidate that experiences fluid communication skills, receives respect, and leaves with a smile on their face because someone took the time to say their name.

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Monica Miller

Monica Miller, CIR-PRC has worked in the healthcare industry for 12 years and transitioned from a C-Suite Executive Assistant into a Corporate Recruiter after completing a psychology degree. Her recruiting experience includes working with small and large businesses focused on behavioral and performance based interviewing. In her spare time, she offers pro bono career advice/resume writing to job seekers, connecting candidates with hiring managers via social media. Connect with Monica.

Reader Interactions


  1. Samara Parker says

    Great article Monica. I think interviewers often forget how much body language can either put a candidate at ease, or make them run for the hills!

    Do you have any thoughts on cultivating this kind of positive experience when communicating via social media?

  2. Monica says

    Thank you, Samara!
    It does remind me of a conversation I had years ago with one of the executives at an entertainment company. He was sitting in the receptionist area looking into the board room (his team was meeting). I walked by and noticed him watching the team and asked him, “Roger, what are you doing?” He said, “I am studying my team.” I said, “How are you studying them from out here?” He said, “I need to use my eyes and not my ears in order to see their effectiveness better.” We tend to spend most of our time focused on the way a message is received via sound. maybe we simply need to step back and view things through a different mechanism. alternatively, muted. That way, maybe one will be able to see the companies culture and become inspired for building “a positive experience” for their social media platforms. And, a positive experience will transpire.

  3. Lisa - Good.Co says

    I agree, but respect for the candidate needs to reach beyond the interview. If an applicant has become a candidate – someone qualified enough to be a serious contender for a position – and that candidate has been brought in for an interview, it is only common courtesy to let them know the results of that interview, whether they get the position or not. I cannot count the times I have been left hanging when I felt confident of my chances, or when I had been told specifically that I would be informed either way. As someone who has been on both sides of the table, I know how tricky it can be to keep that promise. Even a form email would have served the purpose better than an unkept promise.
    Thanks for the interesting post!

  4. Monica says

    That is so true, Lisa. We need to always remember what it felt like to be on the other side of the table, as it is a constant reminder to treat the candidates respectfully during the hiring process. you’re welcome. Glad to post.


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