Supercharge Your Candidate Experience with Tips from Squarespace, DigitalOcean, & Namely

Ever feel like you’re caught in a game of tug-of-war? On the one side, you want to create a candidate experience that’s personalized and professional. And on the other, you’re navigating rapid growth, taking on an increasing number of reqs and responsibilities. How can you continue to offer an outstanding candidate experience even as your company scales? This was the question we posed to our panelists in the recent webinar, Driving a Positive Candidate Experience with Scale at the Wheel.

Kenyon Cory, Recruiting Team Lead at Squarespace, moderated a fireside chat with Olivia Melman, Manager, Recruiting Operations at DigitalOcean and Maia Takarabe, Recruiting Operations Associate at Namely. In this discussion, they considered the tools, technologies, and processes that allow them to create a top-notch, personalized candidate experience as their companies continue to grow and their teams’ responsibilities expand. We’ll share a few highlights from the conversation below. Want to hear the discussion for yourself? You can watch the full version of the on-demand webinar here.

Who are your key stakeholders when ensuring a positive candidate experience? How do you get their buy-in?

Olivia kicked off the conversation by explaining that she considers her key stakeholders to be coordinators, recruiters, hiring managers, and interviewers.

"Every employee that a candidate encounters has an opportunity to influence the candidate experience, and it’s important that everyone realizes the impact that their interactions can have on a candidate and their perceptions of our company.” – Olivia Melman, Manager, Recruiting Operations at DigitalOcean

The Recruiting team at DigitalOcean thinks of recruiting as a continuous cycle—candidates who’ve had a positive experience join the company and then have the opportunity to pay it forward when they interview potential candidates. The DigitalOcean Recruiting team makes sure to emphasize this fact during interviewer training. By tapping into those recent happy memories, they ensure that creating a consistently positive candidate experience is top of mind for the entire hiring team.

At Namely, company leadership recognizes that hiring is a major company objective and makes sure to champion recruiting efforts and candidate experience when setting Objectives, Key Performance Indicators, and Results (OKRs).

Focus on candidate experience may come from Recruiting team initiatives, company objectives, or hiring manager guidance, but ultimately, Kenyon summarized that “Candidate experience is everyone’s responsibility.”

How do you suggest hiring managers align with recruiters on candidate experience?

All panelists agreed that hiring manager/recruiter alignment is essential to ensuring a stellar candidate experience. Olivia recommended creating a consistent process like the one at DigitalOcean. Hiring managers and recruiters hold kick-off meetings for every req that’s opened, plus a pre-brief meeting before every onsite interview. This helps ensure everyone’s on the same page and gives the recruiters the opportunity to remind everyone on the hiring team that candidate experience is a priority. Recruiters and hiring managers also use these meetings to confirm their process expectations, covering everything from expected time in each stage to service level agreements (SLAs) for scheduling and scoring.

Maia also shared one tactic that she finds especially effective: She likes to remind hiring managers of the negative impact a bad candidate experience can have. She’s always collecting feedback from candidate surveys and Glassdoor reviews so she can give specific examples of what hasn’t landed well with candidates in the past. But she also believes it’s important to share success stories so hiring managers know which actions and behaviors to encourage.

How do you measure the success of your candidate experience initiatives?

If you’re going to be investing time and resources into candidate experience, it’s important to think about how you’ll measure the success of your initiatives. Maia likes to collect anecdotal feedback, but she also recommends conducting candidate surveys (like the one that’s available in Greenhouse), especially if you’re hoping to share results with executives. She explains, “Execs like raw data.”

Look for creative ways to enhance the candidate experience—you might be pleasantly surprised by the results. The team at Namely recently started offering a swag bag to candidates who come in for onsites and have seen an uptick in candidate survey participation and positive sentiments from candidates.

Kenyon explained that the goal at Squarespace is always to create such a positive candidate experience that even those who don’t get offers are open to recommending the company to others. She also notes that it’s a best practice to leave things on a positive note with all candidates. The candidate who’s not right for your company today might be just what the team needs tomorrow.

“It all comes down to candidates having a positive impression of your company and the experience.” – Kenyon Cory, Recruiting Team Lead, Squarespace

Get even more insights from Olivia, Maia, and Kenyon about creating a scalable candidate experience by watching the full webinar. You can access the on-demand recording here.

Melissa Suzuno

Melissa Suzuno is a freelance writer and former Content Marketing Manager at Greenhouse. Melissa previously built out the content marketing programs at Parklet (an onboarding and employee experience solution) and AfterCollege (a job search resource for recent grads), so she's made it a bit of a habit to help people get excited about and invested in their work. Find Melissa on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Candidate Experience