How To Prevent Candidates From Hating Your Guts


In today’s competitive environment, recruiters need to find a way to stand out and make a lasting impression. A great candidate experience will land you top talent and is an important part of building a positive and effective work environment.

Good recruiters plan with the end in sight. You know what you’re seeking - but it’s important to remember that you are being evaluated too.

Even if you choose to pass on a candidate, having a great experience still has measurable benefits to your company. A report from the Candidate Experience awards shows that of candidates polled about one fifth of respondents were likely to reapply, 96.9% of would refer someone else, and 23% would change their customer status positively (meaning, if applicable, they may become yours!).

Yesterday, we collaborated with Entelo for the “Setting Your Candidates Up For Success” webinar which covered best practices and tips to create a positive candidate experience. Both Greenhouse and Entelo are solutions that enable a positive candidate experience, but all recruiters must implement the below best practices to ensure candidates are set up for success.

1. Know the Right Time and Place

Entelo makes it easy to filter and search for the right candidates for your position by aggregating social media profiles and activity. We were shown the example of candidate Max, a product designer and engineer, whose various social media profiles surfaced with a quick search.

While Max does have a LinkedIn profile, it’s a likely assumption that his inbox is already cluttered with recruiter inmails. Reaching out on a different social media platform will improve your chances of gaining a candidate’s attention. However, recruiters need to use judgment to determine which platform is most appropriate. It does not make sense to reach Max on a platform on which he’s inactive (like Google Plus). Keep searching until you find where your candidate is “hanging out.” In Max’s case, his Stack Exchange profile shows that he’s not only active, but an influencer. This is a great opportunity to reach out with a strong likelihood that he will respond.

2. Make It Personal

Reaching out on the right social media platform is just one piece of personalizing your outreach. Doing so shows the candidate that you are reaching out based on his specific interests and activity. However, your message must convey the same! Make sure your message references something specific that you noticed on his profile, provides information that is relevant to him, and injects some of your company’s personality.

This may seem obvious, but most recruiters don’t do it, despite its effectiveness. A Hired blog post reveals that 87.3% of emails evaluated were impersonal, and under 1% were highly personal. The kicker is that truly personal messages had a 73% introduction rate on the platform.

Here’s an example of a personal sourcing email below:



You’ll notice that this email establishes rapport, flatters him professionally, sparks action, and has a clear call-to-action.

What’s more, the email has a compelling subject line. Even if you have constructed the most incredible, personal message body, the email will not get opened unless the subject resonates with the candidate or sparks his or her interest.

3. Stay Focused

When the candidate accepts your offer to chat, he or she moves into the interview stage. It’s important for all interviewers to play a role in providing a great candidate experience. Ensure that nobody asks irrelevant questions by mapping out and communicating exactly what skills and characteristics you are seeking long in advance (before you begin sourcing).

Similarly, a common mistake interviewers make is repeating questions. A lack of focus can make the company seem disorganized or disinterested. To avoid this error, create individualized scorecards for each role. For each interview taking place, the scorecard should explicitly demonstrate what the interviewer should be focused on. That way, you get all the information you need and avoid looking sloppy.

4. Stick With The Plan

Your interview process should be just that -- a process. To ensure a positive candidate experience, don’t play it by ear. Your interviewers should know exactly what to expect and interview with ease. It also allows you to anticipate and focus on what’s next.

A process also ensures that all candidates are evaluated objectively, and that feedback is easily accessible for your teammates.

5. Don’t Leave Them Hanging

Be sure that your hiring team and your candidates know what’s ahead. The worst type of candidate experience is one that leaves them hanging. Greenhouse allows interviewers to make notes on the candidate and communicate them to the appropriate people internally. It also allows you to set reminders to make sure you follow up on important tasks or events.

Additionally, having a well-informed team and a sound interviewing process allows you to communicate with the candidate -- letting them know where the are in the process, and when they can expect to hear from you.

To learn more recruiting best practices, download the 5 recruiting metrics e-book. 

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