How to hire AMAZING people: Giving a great candidate experience

Remember, Amazing starts with you!


Helen has been working in the recruitment team at Camelot for nearly 4 years. She is really passionate about supporting our hiring managers to help in recruiting the right people. Recently Helen has been focussing on developing a set of training materials to empower our hiring community with the right knowledge to hire amazing people. This includes a series of blog posts, videos and podcasts.

We believe that the candidate experience is one of the most important things when it comes to recruiting so we wanted to share some of Helen’s thoughts on how to give a great experience...

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How to give a great candidate experience.

Can you think back to a time you had a really amazing interview experience? Where you felt inspired and excited about the opportunity and it made you really, really want the job?  A candidate experience can make or break an offer, future applications and even company sales. In our case lottery tickets!

Bad experiences can put people off our products, so it is vital to get it right.

Think about the most important thing in the world to you - your child, dog, parent, grandparent. When you are looking for someone to take care of them, it is one of the most important choices you could ever make:

  • Will this person keep them safe?

  • Be trustworthy?

  • Help with their development?

  • Enhance their existence?

Helen CamelotTalk

The interview.

Interviewing for a job is exactly the same. Candidates will be interviewing you and their surroundings as much as you interviewing them. Treat candidates how you would want to be treated.  Ensure that you don’t only plan the steps you need to take to get the right person, look at it from their perspective.

Is the process easy and inviting?  What will each stage look like to them? How do we want to make them feel? How many stages will there be? Who will they meet at each stage and what will we assess? Get the right people involved and think about who is inspiring and who best represents Camelot.

It is often the case that candidates suspect the process to be 2 stages. If it is going to be 3 or 4 then make sure they know up front, as often candidates get disengaged and start to ‘suspect’ we are having doubts which is why we keep asking them back.

I still remember the first person who ever interviewed me, and the second and the third. I remember the good the bad and the unbelievable. 55% of candidates who have had a good experience will leave an interview and talk about the meeting and you the interviewer.  Closer to 80% will talk if they’ve had a bad experience. If you're lucky, they will only tell their friends. If you're not, they'll tell the whole world through Glassdoor or Indeed. Bad news travels fast, a few messy steps here and there can make your company and you look disorganised.

The candidate experience can start before they even make an application.

Another thing that’s really important to remember is that candidate experience starts way before the interview. Candidates do their homework. They will look in to the company values and content on your careers page, but they won't just stop there.  They will look at YOU on LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram. What does your personal social media profile say about you? Always think about what others who don’t know you can see and the impact and impression it could give them.

Before the interview stage, give yourself time to familiarise yourself with the CV, the candidates name, the scorecard, the questions you are going to ask. Think about how you can surprise and delight the candidate. Take them for a tour, treat them to a coffee and cake, arrange a cab as they leave.

Small things can go a long way.

Welcoming people to your company should be like welcoming people to your home. When the doorbell rings you answer it. You wouldn’t leave them outside waiting for 20 minutes would you? Still so many candidates are left waiting in reception because business as usual gets in the way.  When you welcome people into your home what is the first thing you ask? Can I get you a drink? Candidates can travel in from some distance sometimes and nerves can get the better of them. Get them a drink. Ask them how their journey was. Make small talk. Hold strong eye contact and be responsive in not only your words but your body language too. Make them comfortable. This will help you get the best out of them.

We want to find great talent and we want to ask the questions that will uncover who is right. Often interviewers fall into the trap of tricking candidates or making them feel uncomfortable to catch them out. This can be detrimental on the experience so be kind but clever in your questions. don’t try to trip them up. By treating others in the way in which we would want to be treated will bring in more talent and make the likelihood of converting the right talent to a new hire.

Try really hard to surprise and delight. Remember candidates have choice, we want them to want us.

Stand out from the crowd!

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 - Helen: Recruitment Business Partner

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