Blog – Focus on candidate experience

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Blog – Focus on candidate experience

Now that the labor market is becoming tight again, companies are paying more and more attention during their recruitment and selection process to the so-called candidate experience: the experience that potential employees have with your company when they apply for a job, so that – even if they drop out – they still become ambassadors for your company. However, there is a much more important reason to focus on the candidate experience: it increases the chance that the candidate found is a top candidate.

Anyone who googles candidate experience will come across dozens of articles on this subject in the Netherlands alone, often in the form of step-by-step plans or candidate journey maps. This makes it seem as if completing the candidate experience depends on completing the steps correctly. Nothing is less true. A well-organized recruitment process is obviously important, but at the same time it is only a hygiene factor.It goes without saying that you must immediately send applicants a confirmation explaining what the procedure looks like and when they can expect a response. It is then only polite to provide a personal response to the candidates you immediately reject motivation instead of a short, standard rejection email. And it is very rude to leave applicant questions unanswered. In our view, this is part of normal human behavior. And although some companies still make mistakes in this regard, fortunately most employers who take recruitment seriously have now sorted this out.

Another thing that stands out is that the most frequently cited reason for paying attention to the candidate experience is: turn applicants into ambassadors. And yes, this we wholeheartedly endorse. But at the same time we see an even more important reason: who takes the candidate journey seriously and delves into the reasons, motivations and personality of the candidate, significantly increases the chance that the right person ends up in the right place. It is not without reason that we compare the candidate journey with the customer journey: after all, you want to win the candidate for the company. But at the same time, you want to select the right candidate thanks to your candidate journey, the candidate who best suits the position and who will help your company move forward the most. So there is every reason to get started on this subject. Based on the candidate journey, we describe the areas where many organizations can still make gains in their recruitment and selection process.

Appearance to potential employees

Just as the customer journey starts before a consumer has a concrete need, the candidate journey also starts before someone consciously looks for another job. This is often preceded by a period of latent searching. Subconsciously, that person already pays more attention to the image of other companies than if he is still completely happy in his work and has sufficient opportunities for growth.Some companies have a positive image of themselves. That helps them on the labor market. Let employees blog about their work on social media and on your company’s website. Give an insight into what their work entails. And have those stories written by our own employees. Be specifica bout who you are looking forWhen a vacancy arises, it is important to know: what kind of employee profile do I need to implement the strategy? The profile obviously relates to the substantive side of the position, but it is also important that the new employee fits into the team. That he (or she) is given the space to really contribute his qualities. This aspect is often forgotten. The more you think in advance about what someone needs to be able to do to be successful in that position, the more specific you can make the vacancy text. Have the text written by the HR department in collaboration with the department head and possibly some colleagues.

Be open to A-typical candidates

With many responses to a vacancy, there is a tendency to first screen only the CVs in outline. Someone who does not meet a strict requirement on paper will immediately be dropped. Also be open to candidates who, at first glance, do not quite fit the image you had in mind, but your gut feeling tells you that this person could be just fine. This candidate is responding for a reason. He (or she) probably realizes that he is the odd one out, but apparently he is confident that he can handle the position. Moreover, make sure that there are extremes among the candidates you invite. The more diverse the group, the more difficult the choice is, but at the same time the greater the chance of success.


Companies that hire an external recruiter have the preselection done by this agency. At Qhuba we pay attention to two things during preselection: is the candidate substantively suitable for the position? And do we expect that there is also a connection with the company on a personal level? We not only select the right candidate for the company, but also the right company for the candidate.

Be open and curious in first interview

A common mistake is to immediately lead candidates into an office during the first interview and quickly fire questions at him or her. This adds to the uncomfortable feeling that a candidate probably already has.It is much better to first take a tour of the company, especially if it is not a standard office environment but an organization where you can also see many of the processes on the work floor, such as a production or distribution company or a healthcare organization. This way, someone gets a much better impression of the organization. He can experience the atmosphere and at the same time acclimatize and relax his nerves. An initial interview is intended to get to know the candidate as well as possible. This works much better if the candidate is at ease. Therefore, estimate how someone is feeling and adjust the conversation style accordingly.

Second conversation with team at external location

Candidates who pass the first round of interviews will be invited for a second interview. It is very common for someone from the team to be present. All too often that conversation becomes a kind of repetition, while the actual trick is to choose the person from the two or three candidates who best suits the organization and the team. A good idea is to invite someone for a cup of coffee in a nice place nearby, with the whole team present. Do not prepare any questions, but let the candidate talk to everyone in a casual atmosphere. Because at this stage you can be sure that the selected candidates are all suitable for the position. Now it’s really just about personal fit.

Do not forget the reference check!

Strangely enough, there are still many companies that do not do a reference check. Such a conversation does not go beyond the obligatory: ‘I have always enjoyed working with him. He knows his stuff and keeps agreements.’ It is much better to ask the candidate for a number of examples of situations during the first interview and then also present these situations to the referent. Everyone has their own perception of events, so there is a good chance that both people experienced the same situation differently. Ask questions about this, because this provides insight into how the referent worked with the candidate. Always present the reactions of referees to the candidates, even to those who are dropping out. This transparency is appreciated and in our view it is only normal to be open about it. Moreover, this often leads to interesting conversations that sometimes change your mind.

Also call the candidates who have been dropped

We still see it happen: companies that inform candidates in writing after a second interview that they have been dropped. This does not do justice at all to the energy that the candidate has put into the entire process. Call all candidates that have been interviewed. Don’t just tell them why they are or are not through, but also ask them about their experiences. This feedback can be included in subsequent procedures.

Employment conditions discussion as the first step of the probation period

If you go through these steps correctly, you will no longer be disappointed during the employment conditions interview. If this disappointment does arise, then something went seriously wrong earlier in the process. Investigate this thoroughly and ensure that the mistake is not made a second time. Use the employment conditions discussion to make the new employee even more enthusiastic about the position and the company. For example, prepare the champagne to give someone a warm welcome. Think of it as the first step of the probationary period, where you must be aware that the probationary period applies to both: the company and the candidate. Especially in this tense labor market, you will not be the first to see a new employee leave within a month because expectations were not met.fulfilled.

The first weeks and months

The candidate experience does not end with the signature on the employment contract, but also continues during the first period that a candidate is working. Offers the newemployee guidance in getting to know the company, the procedures and thestaff.Make sure that the new employee can regularly discuss matters with a confidential counselor. That could be the recruiter, who – if all goes well – knows the company well and knows how things are going. But it can also be an experienced colleague who assists the new employee.

Questions or need help with your candidate experience? Contact us!

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