The New Generation of Candidates: Why and How to Ensure a Good Candidate Interview Experience

We often talk about interviews and how the candidate can make the best of such opportunities. Candidates are repeatedly told to make a good impression in front of the companies but what about the reverse? Companies also need to ensure they have a good ‘brand’ and that candidates are willing to apply.

‘Employer brand’ is one of the buzzwords being used right now. But essentially, a good experience for the candidate itself is a stepping- stone towards creating a good employer brand. Jargon aside, let us take a look at a few pointers about the why’s and how’s of a good candidate experience.

Why should companies worry about the candidate experience?

It all starts with hiring:

As has been hinted, a good experience for the candidate with the company means brownie points for the employer brand. With the ongoing talent crunch, the effects of Great Resignation, and changing needs as per the new generations of workforce, companies are in a rush to attract talent. As author and LinkedIn change-maker Andrew MacAskill puts it, the candidate experience starts with the hiring process and hiring process is the opportunity to sell your company.

Whether a candidate has been hired or not, being treated well and respectfully by the company will create a positive word of mouth. Contrast the negative publicity a company might get when candidates have been treated disrespectfully.

In our earlier article about ‘silver medal candidates’, we mentioned how reaching out to candidates who were on the ‘second place’ would create a similar positive word of mouth because it shows that the company remembers them and did fulfil the promise of these words: ‘We will get in touch with you if an opportunity arises.’

Thus, the hiring process: right from the job posting, the correspondence, the interview process and the post-interview formalities needs to be done right to ensure the company attracts and keeps attracting good candidates

The new generation of candidates:

Movies between the time period of 70s and 90s show a common imagery- a huge line of candidates sitting outside the interviewer’s/boss’s cabin waiting for their turn, nervously, hoping that they would get the job. The present imagery, or rather set of imageries, is somewhat like this:

  • A candidate applies for jobs at multiple places that they find interesting
  • A candidate applies for a job and comes to the interview just to get the ‘experience’ of the interview to understand the contemporary trends
  • A candidate has plan Bs and plan Cs in place, and is going to make a decision based on which company gives them a better ‘vibe’.

Almost recklessly applying for jobs, and even more recklessly jumping through jobs and the problems within some of the newfound habits of the new generations is a topic for another day. But nevertheless, the point is that many candidates now are aware about their needs. They are aware about the competition within the job market. They are clear about what they want, and what they do not want.

And they are not afraid to take risks. They are not afraid to leave a job they do not like, and not afraid to walk out on an offer they do not find attractive.

Hence, it becomes necessary that companies ensure a good candidate experience. It is not so because companies need to shrink in the face of the ‘demands’ of the candidates. It is so because companies need to ensure they find talent that stays.

And talent stays when their experience has been up to the standard which they hold valuable.

How should companies ensure these standards are met?

Or in other words, how do the companies ensure that they are offering a good candidate experience?

The answer is simple. Andrew MacAskill tells how the candidates mostly want transparency, clear assessment, pace and authenticity from the company. Again, it is all about the process that respects the candidate and their time and efforts. Respectful treatment of the candidates naturally leads to a respectful reputation of the company- it is really that simple.