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  • Irene Iliopoulos

How to succeed at Candidate Experience – Recruiter and Hiring Manager

Updated: Jun 1, 2018


I recently read a post on LinkedIn, based on the things that candidates do that cause them to fail their job interviews. As someone with a differing perspective on what the recruitment process should look like, that particular post prompted an idea for my next one.


It’s time turn the table on recruiters, time to change perspectives, and time to stop insinuating that we’re in a place of power over the candidate.

Job-seekers are bombarded with how-tos for interviewing, but I think it’s about time we change our standards. At the end of the day, our recruitment practices are also being evaluated and scrutinized, and the negative or positive impression we leave on a candidate has an effect on how they view our company in its entirety, and/or the clients we represent.


What we tell candidates vs. what we should be doing as recruiters (and hiring managers!)


1- We tell the candidate that the first Impression is everything, when as recruiters we should realize that the FIRST IMPRESSION ISN’T THE SOLE DETERMINING FACTOR

It’s safe to assume that at one point or another the bulk of us have all left a less than perfect first impression. I’ve unfortunately kept a couple of candidates waiting for their scheduled interview, I’ve had to cancel or postpone meetings at the last minute a few times, and I’ve also let some candidate follow-ups fall through the cracks. Mistakes happen! Our first impressions are uneducated, and only look at a fraction of the picture. For this reason, we need to stop putting so much emphasis on them.

How I do this – Logic, second chances, and the benefit of the doubt. The example: The candidate calls in to advise that he/she may be a few minutes late for their interview.

The problem: If you ask most hiring managers and recruiters, they’ll pretty much tell you right there that this isn’t someone they would want to hire. I mean, if someone can’t be on time for an interview, how do we know they’ll be on time for work? The logic: Most jobs now offer flex time – No punch card, and no one is watching your office or cubicle counting to the second when you walk in. Keeping rationality as a priority, why is this even a factor in anyone’s hiring decision? The second chance: Setting aside the fact that your day may now be mildly inconvenienced, why do we penalize a person for forwardly apologizing for a slight delay?

The benefit of the doubt: We need to assume that most people are decent and respectful human beings. The job seeker who got stuck in the middle of a 6 car pile-up never intended on wasting anyone’s time, and is likely stressed already, why make them feel even worse? What benefit is there to X-ing them from the start? The solution: Take your first impression (negative and positive alike), and throw it out the window. Teach yourself to only allow the job related facts to sway your decision.


2- We tell the job seeker to know the job they’re interviewing for, when as recruiters we should KNOW THE ROLE WE’RE HIRING FOR.

Far too often people are solicited for a job they are either not in any world qualified for (awkwardly thinking back to that one time a recruiter emailed me about an opportunity as a senior financial analyst), or one which would be  a step back to their career. In either of these cases, the recruiter is making a huge error in not understanding their client’s or employer’s needs. Recruiters, before we start disqualifying candidates (or sourcing them, for that matter), we need to speak to our hiring managers, ask the right questions, and do our research!


3- We tell the job seeker not to seem too desperate, and not to over message/call recruiters and hiring managers, when as recruiters we should refrain from SPAM MESSAGING EVERYONE WITH A KEYWORD IN THEIR PROFILE The mundane and impersonal template message that we often times send to 50 candidates per minute is unimpressive, to say the least. It’s obvious when a candidate is blindly contacted, without having looked over their profile, and it’s insulting to a candidate to be spam messaged. Our focus should be on reading their profile, looking into the companies they have worked for, and figuring out if the opportunity we’re hiring for can actually be a fit for both parties, prior to sending a message. And when sending that lovely inmail, don’t copy/paste from the last! Let’s give the potential candidate a reason to want to respond!

4- We tell the job seeker to study the company they’re interviewing with when as recruiters should KNOW THE CANDIDATE WE’RE INTERVIEWING It’s not a one-way street! Google their professional profiles, read their resume prior to, do some research on where they’ve been working in the past. The interviews will be much smoother, more informative, and so much more interesting!

I believe that we should be helping people seeking employment find employment, and not disqualifying anyone as unemployable. As recruiters it’s our responsibility to be making educated assessments, instead of passing bias judgments!