Improving candidate treatment

Many recruiters and employers are going to extraordinary lengths to seduce candidates from a wider pool and attract job applications from high-performers, but they do little to woo them through the interview process.

There are horror stories of people being put in the dilemma of having to fork out for travel expenses and overnight stays or forgo the interview. Ironically, then, you might have lost your best candidate simply by being inflexible and making unreasonable requests.

With this in mind, we’ve winkled out a few examples of best practice during the interview process…


Candidates love to be wanted

Those employers who acknowledge communication from a jobseeker immediately are showing candidates that their application is being taken seriously. The more pro-active a recruiter is, the better. For instance, if a candidate requests an application pack, it is not enough to just send it and hope they make an application. You’ll find that your cannier competitors are making a note of the closing date and contacting anyone who hasn’t returned their forms. This simple memory jolt will also impress ambitious jobseekers and help them to see that you take a professional approach to recruitment and your workforce.


Top employers don’t lay traps for their candidates

Management consultant McKinsey and Company is one of the many companies that offer a webpage devoted to helping candidates through the interview process, giving them information on what to expect and how to make the best impression. They offer advice such as: “Perhaps another way to approach the interview is to think of it as a chance to get to know a McKinsey consultant – a potential colleague – and have an interesting discussion with him or her about a particular business problem.”

At Microsoft, some candidates are initially met by a HR manager, who will “coach” them on how to approach the interview.

A more alternative approach is taken by pub company Geronimo Inns, which has just launched a series of humorous videos on how not to approach an interview at


The extra mile

Those companies going the extra mile will also provide regular feedback about their application status either via email or telephone. More importantly, they will inform you as quickly as possible if your interview has been unsuccessful and give constructive reasons why they came to their decision.

For instance, McKinsey and Company promises: “Regardless of whether you are invited for the next round of interviews or not, we want to give you the opportunity to grow and improve. Thus, we will contact you shortly after the interview in order to give you feedback on your strengths and weaknesses exhibited during the interview.”

Some companies will throw in a buffet lunch if they are doing group interviews, for more senior roles there might be a cosy lunch in the boardroom. The experience of many candidates, however, is that they are lucky if they are offered a coffee, though water is usually available. However, drinks company Innocent – which is among those offering soothing advice about how to make the most of the interview process on their website – gives its interviewees free smoothies.

Many employers will reimburse travel expenses if the jobseeker asks; others will offer limited funds as a matter of course. Others, sadly, will offer a 9am interview in some far-flung office and expect the candidate to foot the bill for hotel and travel.

Consulting and financial services multinational Deloitte has a particularly generous reimbursement scheme for graduates attending interviews, of up to £100 a time. The company is flexible about interview times, too, so if a candidates’ travel cost is more than £100 they are given plenty of notice so they can rearrange the interview for when it’s a more convenient or cheaper time to travel.

1 Comment

  1. Adam April 19, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    “Many employers will reimburse travel expenses if the jobseeker asks”

    Really? I remember asking for expenses early in my career and in some instances the employer was so disgusted I had the audacity to ask that the interview process was terminated on the spot.

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