Hays UK blog


Three steps to a winning candidate experience

By Matthew Dickason, Global Managing Director Talent Solutions

As I speak to business leaders and hiring managers about the competitiveness of the current talent stream, I often find that in a lot of instances, people feel powerless against the flow, that their challenge to find the right talent is a matter of chance.

Not so. There’s a lot you can do to use the competitiveness of the market to your favour, by ensuring that the experience an applicant has with your organisation is as smooth, accessible and as personal as it can be. Here are three aspects of your candidate’s journey you can improve to make sure you always have access to an excited and engaged supply of applicants.

1. Offer the right information

There will always be a number of roles that your ideal candidate would have come across during their search. So make sure your opportunity stands out from the crowd.

Firstly, we need to understand the candidate’s needs; what do they want from their next role? Is yours a culture they want to work for? Do you meet their expectations for salary and benefits? Based on their needs and wants, you should provide them with in-depth information of what you can offer and how open you are to negotiation. This will help them to make an informed decision.

Secondly, in a tech-savvy generation, there are multiple mediums a candidate can use to communicate; traditional email and phone, forums, career sites, social media and many more. Diversify your communications to spur an open discussion and improve their perception of you.

2. Support your candidate throughout the process

The full end-to-end application cycle is an opportunity for the candidate to gain insights into your company culture and their new role. If you are promoting benefits such training and development, it is important to ensure these match the candidate’s expectations through communication and interaction throughout the application process. This support starts when posting clear instructions on the careers site, and continues through things like interview briefing packs and ongoing personal support over phone or email. The candidate will get a sense of what it would be like to work for you and an idea of the dedication and support they’ll receive during their employment.

3. Make the interview a positive experience for all

The interview stage is a nerve racking experience for anyone. To help put your candidate at ease and get the most out of them, both the hiring manager and candidate should be briefed fully from both points of view, so there are no surprises on the day. The hiring manager should be aware of any questions the candidate is likely to have, whilst the candidate should be provided with the necessary tools and information which allows them to perform to the best of their ability.

Additionally, the hiring manager’s feedback should be shared with the candidate promptly, keeping them engaged with the organisation and front of mind. It is important that negative feedback is positioned in a constructive manner, contributing towards providing a winning candidate experience. This level of engagement will empower the applicant to assess whether the role is right for them – and will help to keep unsuccessful candidates on your side and open to future roles.

By implementing these 3 simple steps, your organisation can achieve a winning candidate experience and attract the best staff.

To take your candidate experience to the next level, complete the Candidate Journey Diagnostic for your personalised report. This assessment tool allows you to benchmark your current candidate experience against best practice, from how you attract candidates through to making an offer. 

About this author

Matthew joined Hays in the UK in 2002, initially working as a Consultant in Hays Taxation in London before moving to Hays Talent Solutions where he was responsible for designing, presenting and negotiating RPO and managed service solutions. Having structured solutions across multiple industry sectors with both onsite and offsite models, Matthew relocated to Australia in 2009 where he was responsible for Hays managed service business across APAC. Matthew subsequently moved back to London to take on the role of Global Managing Director for Talent Solutions.


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