executive recruitment

Caring for candidates is good for business

Is yours a great company to work for? Are you demonstrating that through your recruiting process? It’s easy to forget that you’re actually recruiting people – individuals with values, emotions, voices, and choices to make. How you treat those people can affect your recruiting results and your reputation as an organization.

The candidates are evaluating you, even as you evaluate them. They are potential employees who could also be your customers (or potential customers), acquaintances, or people of influence in your community. If they have a bad experience with your company, it’s very easy for them to voice their displeasure by word of mouth or on social media – which can tarnish your company’s reputation, erode goodwill, and potentially lead to lost clients and revenue.

Providing a positive recruiting experience for all candidates, whether or not they get the job, reflects on who you are as a company and demonstrates your values. It can not only make the individual you hire feel welcomed. The candidates you don’t hire will also walk away feeling respected. As a result, they’ll be more likely to tell their family and friends about the positive experience they had with you. Who knows, they may even refer other candidates who are a great fit for your organization.

If you want to build relationships with top applicants, you need to provide a positive candidate experience. Here are a few strategies to help you do that.

Write a clear job description

A job posting is often a potential applicant’s first experience with your organization. It’s your opportunity to set the tone for your future relationship with those applicants.

Starting with a clear job description ensures candidates understand exactly what will be expected of them if they get the job. List the most important information first and be clear about what is a “need to have” and what would be “nice to have.”

Be honest and transparent

Have a clear plan of action and share that with applicants. Acknowledge each application and let candidates know when they can expect to hear from you and what the next steps will look like.

Confirm salary expectations right from the start. You can save detailed discussions and salary negotiations until you’re prepared to make an offer, but you don’t want to waste your time or the candidate’s – make sure you’re both in the same ballpark.

You should also have a respectful process for rejecting job applicants. Even if they didn’t make it to the interview stage, each applicant has taken the time and made an effort to apply. The least you can do is send an email as soon as they have been eliminated from the running. If a candidate was interviewed, a phone call would be even more respectful.

Following up promptly demonstrates that you value a candidate’s time. Sending a respectful rejection message is better than giving candidates the silent treatment.

Prioritize communication at every stage

There is a certain level of anxiety that comes with every job application. You can ease some of that by providing clear, honest, and consistent communication. When you communicate with candidates throughout your recruiting process, they’ll have a considerably more positive experience with your organization.

Share expectations about how and when you will communicate, what your recruiting process looks like, and how long it will take. Then be sure to follow through, be on time for calls or meetings, and be transparent about a candidate’s status. 

As the employer, you set the tone – it should be one of mutual respect.


These suggestions may seem like common sense, but I’ve seen too many unfortunate consequences when candidates have been treated poorly. We make it our mission to ensure candidates feel valued and respected throughout the recruitment process, which enhances your organization’s reputation.

Published: March 30, 2021
Updated: April 30, 2022