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  • Date posted:27/01/2022
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By Thomas Dove

What is candidate experience?

Candidate experience is the interaction between employer and candidate; it’s how you make them feel, how you communicate, how you engage, and how you present yourself and your company to potential employees.

For me, candidate experience is the single most crucial part of talent acquisition.

It’s the opportunity for you to stand out as an employer.

It’s the opportunity for the candidates to shout from the rooftops how amazing you are.

It’s the opportunity for you to change what people think about your business.

It’s the opportunity for you to ensure your deepest values are on show.

It’s the opportunity for you to be empathetic.

It’s the opportunity for you to be human.

It’s the opportunity to stop doing things how they’ve always been done.

It’s the opportunity to hire the right people.

It’s the opportunity to hire the right people every time.

For many of the customers, we’ve worked with throughout the years, “candidate experience” is often the most overlooked part of a process, which is just crazy.

The focus too often is… speed to hire… or cost reduction… or process control (and lack of it)… or communication (again and lack of it)… – sometimes it’s all of these – which majorly impacts the candidate experience.

Suppose you are hiring a senior talent that is joining to fundamentally change your business, galvanise a team, develop a new market or lead a new digital transformation. Why wouldn’t you pull out all the stops to impress them and show these people what you, your peers and your company are all about?

Unless you know your business is actually terrible, and your candidate experience is just a snapshot view of this.

So how do you fix it? What do you need to do in order to improve your candidate experience?

Over the next few weeks, I will share a few areas that might help, starting with:


In this bustling talent market that we find ourselves in, standing out is clearly a defining factor – not only for talent attraction – but also candidate experience.

Content for candidates is a game-changer.

Those companies that spend the time curating their best, most honest version of themselves are winning.

Talent isn’t knocking on your door begging to join in most cases, but creating the right story and putting your people front and centre of what you are all about will bring potential candidates closer to you without you even knowing it.

We’ve all been candidates in a process where we actually don’t know much about the company we are about to interview for. You do your research, or you speak to your executive search consultant/internal recruiter, and this is where your candidate experience begins.

At this point, a potential candidate should be able to find a series of video’s, articles, podcasts that effectively start their “buying journey” as to whether you are the company for them. The best content is a mix of “general” one size fits all and very tailored, specific content designed to showcase specific functional areas, regions, locations and/or sites.

Obviously, with life sciences, the purpose and mission of the industry and its companies that create amazing science that positively impacts or saves lives is impressive. But….. It’s your people that genuinely make you stand out.

The more corporate, the less buy-in.

Getting your c-suite on video is an excellent start to building trust. It also shows the value they see in it.

But the real buy-in comes from your potential talent seeing people like them on camera, hearing their stories – be real, share stories, be human, be you, be brave – this takes courage. Still, it makes you stand out and makes you memorable; vanilla and bland are not inspiring anyone.

Think like a candidate – who do I want to see, who do I want to hear from? Get real insight from people “like me”. Be that features from the staff at multiple levels, differing functions, locations, diversity, experiences etc.

So. The candidates are now consuming such great content; they’ve had fantastic communication with either the executive search consultant, HR or TA (or all of them) and they feel compelled to engage in a recruiting process.

Let me ask you a question. How cohesive do you think your company’s story is during an interview process?

  • Does everyone in your business talk about the company in the same way?
  • Does everyone in your business represent the company in the same way during interviews and candidate engagement?
  • Do you all know what is unique and special about the company you work for?
  • How do you articulate this?
  • When do you “sell” the company to a potential candidate?
  • How consistent is the story from one interviewer to the next? From one location to the next? From one business unit to the next?
  • Do you have your best storytellers talking to the candidates at the right time during the process?

Do you even think about the above?

Or are you more focused on why a candidate should want to work for you? (this, by the way, is the single worst way of thinking in the entirety of candidate experience).

If each candidate in life sciences currently has 3 or 4 options to join a new company at any one time, the story that you tell could be the defining factor in your outstanding candidate experience.

Even if the candidate is not interested in making a move right now – 9 times out of 10 the story, if told correctly, will continue to resonate with that person who will either come back into a process or will recommend people in their network to your business.


  • Create the story, continuously improve, refine and integrate this story into the fabric of the business.
  • Be consistent.
  • Ensure you are effectively selling your business in all early communication for senior hires. Be that the 1st call with HR/TA and also the 1st interview stage.
  • Get your people on video, create podcasts be authentic.
  • Corporate content drives less engagement.