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Guest blog... The candidate experience

A top priority for business owners in 2022 is attracting and retaining top talent which is why I am so excited for my first guest blog!

I am delighted to have the opportunity to interview Sarah Fitton from Coach Me To Success to understand more about the candidate experience and the importance for business owners to get it right. Sarah will share some expert insights on how business owners can enhance the hiring process for the candidate from her fascinating career and experience. Sarah is a highly recommended career coach and lecturer specialising in CV optimising, interviewing success and career guidance.


1. What do we mean by the 'Candidate Experience?'

The candidate experience essentially relates to the process and the various interactions that a candidate goes through as part of hiring and recruitment and how they feel about that experience from how easy it is to apply, then the selection process through to negotiating the offer and being onboarded into their new role.


2. What experience are candidates expecting when they apply for a job in 2022?

Sadly, I think candidates’ expectations have sunk to new lows because their experiences are typically pretty poor, but the most frequent things that I hear asked for are:

  • Being able to receive timely updates on their application

  • An idea of salary range upfront to allow them to check that the role is financially viable for them and that it is being paid fairly and competitively within the market

  • Closure! If their application isn’t suitable or a decision is made not to hire after interview, then candidates would just like to know. So many candidates are being ghosted and it is extremely frustrating and demoralising

  • Feedback. Adding to that last point, knowing what might be useful to improve for next time can be absolutely invaluable, however many candidates are left in the dark as to why they haven’t been selected


3. Why is it so important for candidates to have a good experience?

You know what they say about never having another chance to make that first impression! And we need to recognise that this goes both ways. Lengthy, drawn-out selection processes, lack of transparency over pay, poor communications, even interviewers turning up late (or failing to show up at all!), none of these provide a positive impression. Companies should remember that candidates are trying to decide if this is an organisation they want to work for and they will happily vote with their feet if they see what they feel are red flags during the hiring process. And whilst they might not be your ideal candidate, they may well be in a position to influence those who are, by sharing their experiences within their network or highlighting it via Glassdoor!


4. How can small business owners, often with a limited budget, improve their candidate experience?

I don’t think that a great experience needs to be expensive. Simply considering your process from the candidate perspective and asking yourself if it is one that you would want to be put through yourself can be a real eye-opener! Be open and transparent about the role, salary and culture. Communicate at each stage. And move fast – in a competitive recruitment market, lengthy drawn-out selection processes mean an increased risk of losing great candidates to your competitors.


5. What are your top 3 tips for getting the candidate experience right?

You will see that this is rather a theme throughout this conversation but I would have to say communication, communication, communication!

  • Create a compelling advert which provides clear insight into the role – and remember to set those salary expectations!

  • Keep in touch throughout the process providing realistic expectations as to when you will have updates and either follow through with them or set updated expectations in the case of any delays.

Provide constructive feedback. Avoid the tired old stock phrases such as “the other candidate just had a slight edge over you” or “sorry to say you have been unsuccessful but due to high volumes of applications, we are unable to provide any feedback”. Instead look to give candidates three tips on how to improve for the future.


If you are a business owner looking for support to navigate and improve how you attract, select, and recruit your next superstar get in touch today for a chat. I can help you create a recruitment strategy that will drive success for your business.


If you are looking for support with your next career move, Sarah is your lady! Drop her an email today to learn more about her approach and how she has helped others succeed.

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