Interviews: the Clincher of Candidate Experience

If you’re recruiting in today’s candidate-driven job market, your employer branding can make all the difference in attracting the right calibre and ultimately securing your chosen candidate.

Although the candidate experience is one of the most effective ways of positioning yourself as a top-choice employer it remains one of the most neglected areas of recruitment.

Interviews can be a particularly delicate stage of a candidate’s journey with you. For them, it’s often their first real impression of your organisation, which in the end will have an influence over their decision at offer stage.

As an employer, how can you provide the best interview experience? As recruitment specialists, we can help you ensure you bring out the best in you and your candidates.

The do’s and don’ts of interviewing

Beyond assessing experience and skill fit, a good interview should also allow you – and them – to get a sense of more intangible aspects of employment including company culture fit.

Your interview process should keep the candidate experience at its heart. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Set the right tone from the start.

We can’t emphasis it enough: maintaining clear and open communication from the very first phone call through to the last interview round is primordial. Besides time and date, it could be a good idea to share:

  • How many interviewers will be there, and who they are. Avoid crowded panels as they can make your interview feel like an interrogation and it is more likely for the conversation to derail: so, make sure you are all on the same page!
  • Where will the interview take place? If it’s virtual, what platform will you be using? Make sure to send the link ahead of time and if possible, let them pick their preferred method – do they prefer online or face to face? As we transition to a post-covid world, people will be adjusting at different paces so it’s important to respect everyone’s preferences.
  • Be clear about workplace etiquette. For instance, your office dress code or company’s policy about handshakes.
  • The duration and format of the interview. Should they prepare a presentation? Are there specific questioning styles you will be using? If you can, share resources that will help them to perform well.
  • Other details like how to enter the office building as a visitor, documents they must bring, parking and public transport routes are always appreciated.
  • Last but not least, your reachable hours and preferred method of contact.

Keep it natural

If you’re meeting in person, give some thought to the setting of the waiting and interview areas. A comfortable chair, access to Wi-Fi and refreshments are easy ways to make people feel welcome and help them visualise themselves working there. Let them know where the bathroom is so they don’t have to ask. It’s quite often the small things that can make a big difference.

If you’re meeting virtually, log on five minutes early to ensure sound, image and the internet are working. As tempting as they are, we don’t recommend virtual backgrounds as they often feel unnatural and artificial. If you’d rather use them, make sure to use them effectively.

Finally, remember to keep the conversation natural. While you’ll need prepared questions to determine candidate fit, it’s important to make them feel at ease and remain open to questions in the end.

Feedback is key

Post-interview communication is a great way of highlighting how much you care for your candidates (and by extension your employees). Remain reachable and open to more questions and provide a clear timeline on what they can expect next.

Providing constructive criticism and feedback will be invaluable for candidates regardless to the outcome of the interview. Our rule of thumb? Make sure it’s:

  • Kind
  • Helpful
  • Specific

Should they receive an offer, this will make them more inclined to accept it. And should they be rejected; this will help prevent burnt bridges and encourage positive word of mouth and reviews for you. Remember: fixing a damaged reputation is much more difficult than providing a positive experience.

At Sitka, our 40 years of combined experience in recruitment has made us true specialists at ensuring an outstanding hiring process for both employers and candidates. If you’d like to have a chat about your recruitment needs, you can always contact us at or call us on 029 2048 4520.

To find out how we can work with you, please drop us a line