Creating a positive candidate experience

It’s a candidate driven market out there, and so the pressure is on for employers to up their game when it comes to attracting potential new recruits. How people perceive your organisation is crucial to make sure that you are the employer of choice and in pole position to convert qualified candidates.

At Robertson Sumner we oversee an average of 50 first stage interviews per week and the candidate experience varies enormously in each case. Here we explore some of the steps you can take to ensure your recruitment / interview process doesn’t put people off joining your team and creates a positive experience for all involved.

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The best way to reach candidates is to meet them where they are, online. “I encourage all hiring managers and candidates to connect online via the various social media channels including WhatsApp. To ensure communication is both fast and effective. By connecting in this way, it can ensure that the candidate feels engaged with the company from day one” says Chris Marlow, Head of Talent EMEA at Rubrik. “It also ensures that they can ask questions and gain insight throughout the process too, so it means that the interviews are more meaningful. All in all, try to make the selection process as quick and painless as possible for the candidate.” continued Chris.




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At Rubrik, Chris was conscience that the market conditions meant that Rubrik’s interview processes needed to be refined to be competitive. “We have consolidated the number of stages in our interview process, I would question whether it is really conducive of a positive candidate experience to have a 10-stage recruitment process”

Security vendor Zscaler have refined their interview process to ensure that it is as meaningful as possible for both hiring managers and candidates. “The importance of hiring at Zscaler has come right from the top of the organisation and this commitment means that we take the candidate experience extremely seriously” Commented Taran Randhawa; EMEA Recruitment Lead, Commercial Sales.

“There is a huge emphasis on making sure that candidates learn a lot about the role, organisation and culture during the recruitment process. All of our talent team and hiring managers are encouraged to share as much information about the business to ensure the candidate has all of the information from which to make an informed choice.” Continued Taran.  Candidates who are in the interview process at Zscaler are also encouraged to reach out to people working in similar roles, to ask as many questions as possible before meeting a hiring manager, “it helps them get a good handle on our culture and what it is like to work here, and also we get to suss out how inquisitive they are at the same time” added Taran.

No alt text provided for this imageFAST AND MEANINGFUL FEEDBACK

A key part of the interview process that often gets overlooked is the way feedback is collected and given back to the candidate. All too often candidates are waiting days for their feedback or have to continually chase to get any news. 60% of candidates we have spoken to told us that this would put them off for reapplying to the same organisation in the future.

There has been a big uplift in the use of online surveys and websites such as Glassdoor and has been a key driver in the desire to drive up standards. “Every candidate who is going through an interview process is emailed a survey after their first interview to ask about their experience of the process. The results of which are then used to review how we work and how we can improve” added Taran.

At Rubrik candidates who are going through the recruitment process are encouraged to leave a Glassdoor review and a survey is used to provide a net promoter score. “It demonstrates how serious we are as a business about hiring and that we listen to candidates at every stage. Even if a candidate is unsuccessful with a job application, we want them to enjoy the experience and potential re-apply again in the future.” Say Chris.


  1. Use all available means to connect to candidates in the process. Social media / WhatsApp are your friends here, in the current market an email can be too slow.
  2. Candidates are in high demand and don’t have the time or inclination to endure a long-winded interview process.
  3. Despite the pressure to hire be aware that you still need to give candidates enough time between interviews to be able to prepare sufficiently.
  4. Consider keeping the interview stages to a minimum. Where you traditionally had multiple stakeholders interviewing separately – have you considered consolidating these stages or running back-to-back interviews?
  5. In the current market you simply cannot drop the ball with any candidates. Feedback ought to be given with 24 hours of any interview, it simply isn’t good enough to leave people waiting to hear back.

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