The Four Step Strategy to Creating a Great Executive Candidate Experience

The Four Step Strategy to Creating a Great Executive Candidate ExperienceWhat is the candidate experience and why does it matter?

The candidate experience is best described as the combination of feelings, impressions and perceptions that the candidate assimilates during the recruitment process.

It is a given that to retain the best talent, the workplace experience must be compelling; but to attract that talent, the hiring process has to be just as compelling.  Further, employers who are located in areas where there is a high demand for specific talent, but with low unemployment rates need to remember that high caliber candidates have options.

Today’s highly valued executives are seeking not only the best position, but also a company that will appreciate them and their future contributions. While compensation, benefits and relocation assistance are important parts of the candidate’s decision process, today’s candidates are looking for a lot more when it comes to where they decide to land.

The candidate experience can play a valuable role in setting the stage in recruiting the best talent. The four steps to creating an interview process that fosters a great candidate experience include:

Initial Discussion:

  • Provide a media kit about the company, the location (if they are considering relocating), and bios on the key members of the leadership team.
  • Include the company’s mission, vision and value statements.
  • Share a customized, current job description that emphasizes the duties and responsibilities, the core traits of success, and qualifications, not just the standard HR job description. It should also include reporting relationships both above and below.


  • Confirm that travel arrangements have been made and communicated well in advance.
  • Ensure transportation is provided to and from lodging, interview location, and airport, etc.
  • Arrange for a small company gift to be in their hotel room upon check-in.
  • Designate an internal host that is responsible for ensuring that meals are planned and attended by appropriate company representatives, interviews are scheduled and confirmed, and agenda is prepared and distributed to all company participants.

The Interview:

  • Arrange for the internal host/representative to meet the candidate upon arrival, discuss and answer questions about the agenda, and provide escort to the interviews.
  • Provide a debriefing which includes: reviewing next steps in the interview process, the time-table. If possible, allow the candidate time to provide feedback on the interview process.
  • Provide information about the company’s benefits.
  • If time permits and the position requires relocation, have a knowledgeable representative available to lead a local area tour (i.e. schools, shopping, and attractions).


  • Send a letter thanking the candidate for his or her time and interest, and any forms requiring completion (travel expense reimbursement, initial hiring documents, etc.).
  • A time frame in which the candidate can expect to hear back from you; include a company contact whom the candidate can call with questions.

While there are many factors contributing to why a candidate accepts a position or not, one thing is true: if the interviewing experience is a poor one, the chances that a company will attract the highly-prized individual will decrease significantly.