Delivering a Positive Recruitment Experience

It's that time of year, with the run up to Christmas and end of the financial year when the recruitment market tends to slow down. Coupled with the fact that many organisations are currently waiting to see what the economy does before they make recruitment plans and it means many of Forward Role's internal HR and Recruitment partners have got a bit more time to focus on the more strategic elements of their role.

As a result, we've had two major clients this week approach Forward Role to ask us for some advice on how they are perceived in the Market by candidates and what they can do to improve their recruitment processes.

Our response to them, based on candidate feedback, has been simple; treat prospective employees like you'd treat prospective customers. That means putting together a process with a quick turnaround and positive, reasoned response at every stage – regardless of the candidate's suitability (or lack of) for the position.

Failure to do so puts the reputation of your brand at stake amongst a key section of opinion leaders in your market, and in a similar way to when customers receive a bad user experience, candidates too will share their negative perceptions of an organisation with their colleagues.

This means taking weeks to respond to CVs, no feedback on why applications have been unsuccessful and inflexible interview processes that drag on for weeks before an offer is made can have a damaging effect on your chances of recruiting the best quality staff in the market.

Recruitment of key staff is often a complicated and difficult thing to get right, but by establishing robust practices and minimum standards within your processes, it's possible to give candidates a more positive experience, even if they are unsuccessful. Here are a few tips how:

  • Communicate a clear job specification, package breakdown, CV deadline and Interview Process and timescales right from the word go so that candidates know exactly what they are applying for, when they will get feedback and can plan their diary for potential interviews.
  • Try to provide some sort of feedback for unsuccessful applicants at CV stage, even if it's just a note to thank them for their application or to let them know that you will keep their CV on file for future opportunities.
  • Give candidates plenty of notice for interviews. Early morning and late evening slots make more sense as these may allow a candidate to manipulate their diary so they don't have to use up valuable annual leave.
  • Provide detailed feedback for candidates at interview stage. "We didn't think they were right for us" is not good enough for someone who has taken time to come and meet with you. Try to give objective reasons why they weren't suitable and offer areas of advice for improvement.
  • For candidates you'd like to make an offer to, try to provide a rationale for what you're offering them, especially if it's less than what they've asked for. Remember that candidates tend to expect around a 10% increase in salary when they move jobs and that psychologically offering someone what they have asked for (or more if you feel they are worth it) will be a tremendous motivator to new members of staff and make them more loyal to you in the long term.

These measures may seem simple and straight forward to achieve, but there are very few recruitment teams doing all these elements of the recruitment process well. Those that do put themselves in the best position to recruit the finest staff the market has to offer. Those that don't risk losing out on candidates and damaging their company's brand and reputation!

If you'd like to comment on this article or need any advice regarding any of the points it raises, then please e-mail